There are many myths about menopause that sometimes aggravate the fear and stress women feel as they approach this time in their lives. Let’s review the most common menopause myths and blast them with real facts.
Menopause always begins at 50 is a myth, the truth is that a woman can go through menopause as early as in her 30s or as late as in the 60s. Symptoms can occur many years prior to the cessation of periods so that things like fatigue, mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, night sweats and weight gain can happen while you are still having periods.
Weight gain always happens in menopause is another of the myths about menopause. The fact is that menopause related weight gain is complicated and while some women will gain weight around the waist, thighs, and hips, women who engage in regular exercise and follow a healthy diet may actually lose weight during this period of time.
Another myth is that surgical menopause and natural menopause are the same. The reality is that these are actually very different experiences. Women who have a total hysterectomy will have immediate and marked changes in their physical health. Hot flashes are more severe and happen soon after surgery. Conversely, natural menopause is a gradual phenomenon where symptoms come and go, and are much less severe.
The guarantee of a decrease in libido during menopause is a common myth, but the truth is that the lack of estrogen as well as the decrease in testosterone can affect a woman’s sex drive but this doesn’t happen in every situation. Some women will retain their sex drive and enjoy sex as much as ever.
The myth that the first symptom of menopause is hot flashes is simply untrue as all women differ and a variety of symptoms fall into play, including, fatigue, anxiety, depression, irregular periods, mood swings, and brain fog among others.
Another of the common myths about menopause is that women don’t produce any hormones after menopause. The truth is that even after menopause, the adrenal glands continue to produce half of the estrogen and progesterone. This is why some women experience no or very few symptoms after the perimenopausal years.
The myth that menopause only results in physical symptoms can cause distress in women who experience its unexpected mental and emotional effects, including, mood swings, depression, cognitive changes, and anxiety due to estrogen receptors in the brain that affect neurotransmitters.