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    Women's Health
    1234 · 20 min read

    Top 10 Misconceptions About Menopause

    Top 10 Misconceptions About Menopause

    Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life, marking the end of her reproductive years. Yet, despite being a common experience for countless women in the UK and across the globe, many myths and misunderstandings persist. Our society often paints a negative picture of this transitional period, leading to misconceptions that can misinform and add unnecessary worry. In this article, we'll address and debunk the top 10 misconceptions surrounding menopause, providing clarity and insights that will hopefully offer comfort to many who navigate this stage of life.

    a block of letters that spell out the word "menopause"

    An Overview of Menopause Myths

    If you’re looking for a quick overview of common menopause myths, AXA Health has provided a useful video debunking some of the most common ones:

    Will menopause make you gain weight?

    One of the most common misconceptions about menopause is that it causes women to gain weight. The menopause marks a distinct change in how the female body works. Whilst some women may experience some weight gain due to the menopause, this is often modest. Instead, women may experience weight gain due to the makeup of the body changing due to menopause. Some women may experience weight gain as they change their diet and partake in less physical activity due to the symptoms of menopause (Fenton, 2021)

    To avoid this, gaining a better understanding of how to take care of your body during menopause is imperative to avoid excessive weight gain. Obesity in menopausal women is on the rise, and this can lead to health conditions such as some cancers and cardiovascular conditions (Kozakowski et al, 2017).

    Will menopause make you irritable?

    Menopause can indeed be associated with mood changes, including irritability. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during this transitional phase, specifically the decline in oestrogen, can affect neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood. Additionally, other symptoms of menopause, such as sleep disturbances, hot flushes, and night sweats, can contribute to feelings of irritability and moodiness.

    It's important to understand that not every woman will experience irritability or mood changes during menopause, and the intensity can vary widely among those who do. It's also worth noting that other factors, such as personal circumstances, stress, and other health conditions, can influence mood during this period (Bromberger et al, 2001).

    Do men experience menopause?

    Men do not experience menopause in the same way women do, as menopause specifically refers to the cessation of a woman's menstrual cycles and the end of her reproductive years. However, the term "andropause" or "male menopause" is sometimes used colloquially to describe age-related changes in male hormone levels, specifically testosterone.

    Perceptions of menopause, including those held by men, can vary significantly based on cultural, educational, familial, and personal factors. In general, men are aware of their partner's menopausal transition and may change their decisions relating to symptom management. When husbands understand how their partner is feeling during menopause, it can foster the development of better emotional support for their wives, which improves the quality of marital relations (Caçapava Rodolpho et al, 2016).

    Will you experience menopause at the same time as your mother did?

    There is some evidence to suggest that women will inherit the age at which they enter menopause from their mothers (van Asselt et al, 2004). It should be noted however that the age at which a woman begins menopause might be influenced by several factors, aside from genetics. Some factors that determine menopause onset include:

    • Smoking status: Smokers may experience menopause up to two years earlier than non-smokers.

    • Hysterectomy: Having a hysterectomy may cause immediate menopause.

    • Cancer treatments: Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can induce menopause.

    Some factors, including diet, can also change the age at which you begin menopause. According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, a diet high in legumes such as peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas can delay menopause by one-and-a-half years on average.

    Does menopause only occur after 40 years old?

    No, while most women experience menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age in the UK being around 51, it can occur earlier for some. Some women experience menopause in their 40s, which is termed 'early menopause'. It's natural, although it happens earlier than the average. 

    Menopause that occurs before the age of 40 is termed 'premature menopause' or 'premature ovarian insufficiency (POI)'. Premature menopause affects 1% of women under the age of 40 years (Okeke et al, 2013). POI means that the ovaries stop working properly. While the cause is often unknown, it can be linked to genetic factors, autoimmune conditions, or certain medical treatments.

    Is your sex life over after menopause?

    A common misconception about menopausal and postmenopausal women suggests that they are vulnerable to a deterioration in sexual interest and activity. Studies on sexual activity and interest among middle-aged women however fail to demonstrate a consistent and predictable decline but show rather wide variability (Youngs, 1990)

    Whilst hormonal changes may affect the libido of some menopausal women, others may not experience a change. Some physical changes can also change sexual activity levels. Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause, however, this is remedied by using lubricant. By no means is your sex life ‘over’ after the menopause. Postmenopausal women can still experience a healthy sex life as they did prior to menopause. 

    Will menopause start when your period stops?

    Menopause is defined as the point in time when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months (Gold, 2012). However, the process leading up to menopause, known as the "perimenopause", can begin several years before the final menstrual period. 

    The menopausal transition, or perimenopause, is associated with profound reproductive and hormonal changes (Santoro, 2016). It is the transitional phase leading up to menopause. During perimenopause, a woman might experience irregular menstrual cycles and other symptoms due to fluctuating hormone levels. These symptoms can include hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and mood changes. Perimenopause can last several years.

    Will menopause make you infertile?

    Yes, menopause will cause the majority of women to become infertile, meaning that they have reached the end of their reproductive years (Towner et al, 2016). Despite this, some women may experience pregnancy after they have experienced menopause. For example, a 54-year-old Iranian housewife who started menopause at age 47 became pregnant in 2018 and gave birth to a healthy newborn (Mirsafi et al, 2020)

    Several studies and research have been conducted to see whether the effects of menopause can be reversed to allow women to become pregnant. One treatment seems to restore periods and fertility in menopausal women. Around 30 women between the ages of 46 and 49, all of whom want to have children, were given this treatment. The research team behind the treatment were able to isolate and fertilise eggs from around two-thirds of these women (Hamzelou, 2016).

    It should be noted that there are currently no mainstream treatments available to reverse menopause, and that pregnancy that occurs during or postmenopause is incredibly rare.

    Will you become more forgetful after menopause?

    After menopause, some women do report cognitive changes, such as increased forgetfulness or "brain fog", during this time. Cognitive changes do not just occur during postmenopause. Perimenopause can have a subtle effect on cognitive function as well. During perimenopause, women are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, as opposed to memory loss (Greendale et al, 2011)

    Cognitive symptoms during and after menopause may not be directly caused by changes in hormone levels. It could also result from reductions in sleep quality, increased depression levels, and the onset of hot flashes (Sliwinski et al, 2014). All of these factors could contribute towards memory issues. 

    There is certainly a need for a better understanding of the physiology involved in cognitive impairment during menopause to develop preventive measures and improved treatment strategies (Conde et al, 2021).

    Do you need HRT to deal with menopause symptoms?

    Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one of the treatments available to help manage symptoms of menopause, but it's not the only option, and it's not necessary for every woman. Whether a woman should take HRT depends on the severity of her symptoms, her personal and family medical history, and her preferences.

    You should always speak to your doctor for professional advice on whether they require HRT/help with dealing with menopause symptoms. A comprehensive approach, considering both medical and non-medical strategies, is often the most effective way to navigate the menopausal transition.

    Do I need HRT quiz?

    If you are wondering whether or not you need HRT, why not take our “Do I Need HRT” quiz that could provide you with some of the answers you need? Depending on your result, you may wish to speak to a healthcare professional for further advice.

    Where can I buy hormone replacement therapy medication online?

    If you are looking to purchase hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medication online, look no further than UK Meds. The full list of HRT products you can get from UK Meds is as follows:

    Sources

    Related Products

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    From £43.99
    • Relieves symptoms of the menopause
    • Combined hormones
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    • Treatment for menopause
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    Related Products

    preview
    From £43.99
    • Relieves symptoms of the menopause
    • Combined hormones
    • Dial packet for ease-of-use
    preview
    From £49.99
    • Treatment for menopause
    • Helpfully marked tablet packets
    • Relieves symptoms
    preview
    From £13.99
    • Oestrogen-only HRT medication
    • Treats menopausal symptoms
    • Easy-to-use patches

    Blog author

    Scott Weaver

    Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.

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