What really happens during menopause

Menopause isn't sudden -
Menopause doesn't happen suddenly for most women. It's a process, and not a distinct point in time.

When does it happen? -
The average age for the onset of menopause is 51. The majority of women stop having periods somewhere between the ages of 45 to 55.

Perimenopause can start in your thirties - It can last for four to eight years before you officially enter menopause.

Most women experience symptoms - Menopause isn't an illness, but the hormonal changes that occur can trigger symptoms.

The most common symptoms -  Some women may also experience muscle and joint pain, known as arthralgia, or mood swings.

How long does menopause last? - Symptoms of menopause usually continue for around four years after your last period.

When do you know you're having a hot flash? - During a hot flash, you'll likely feel your temperature rise in the top half of your body. Your skin may even turn red.

A few techniques may help reduce your hot flashes -  You can also use a fan in your home or work. Breathing exercises during a hot flash may help minimize it.

How does it affect your bone health? - The decline in estrogen production can affect the amount of calcium in your bones.

Is heart disease linked to menopause? - Heart conditions, like those that cause dizziness or cardiac palpitations, may arise during menopause.

Weight gain during menopause -
Changes in your hormone levels may cause you to gain weight. However, aging in general can contribute to weight gain.

A healthy lifestyle is key -
Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and practicing other healthy habits to help control your weight .

Are there nonhormonal options? -
Some medical conditions may prevent you from safely being able to use hormone therapy. 

Lifestyle changes can ease symptoms - The good news is that changes to your lifestyle may help you relieve many of your symptoms. 

Menopause and sex -
Some women fear that menopause means they'll be less attractive or unable to enjoy a sex life. 

Menopause and stress -
Many women say they have difficulty focusing and remembering things during menopause. It's sometimes called brain fog. Stress is a significant factor.

Does menopause affect your teeth or gums? - Your teeth and gums are susceptible to the hormonal changes that occur during menopause. 

Can menopause affect sleep? -
Some may experience trouble sleeping through the night and even insomnia during menopause. 

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