Help For Understanding Menopause: Definitions And Explanations
By Danny Hammond

The 3 Stages of The Menopause

Menopause is a unique and personal process that will affect in some way every woman who progresses towards the end of her child bearing years. The word Menopause comes from the Greek word "meno", which means month or menses. The cyclical nature of the term is descriptive of the menstrual cycle.

Stage 1 - Pre-Menopause

There are basically three phases of the menopause process. They are not distinct and separate, but generally kind of merge from one to another. The first stage is really more of a pre-stage and in fact is often called Pre-Menopause. This is the time just before you begin traditional symptoms such as hot flashes, moodiness, or vaginal dryness. Women may begin having irregular periods at this juncture. Although this is generally described as beginning in your early forties, it can start much earlier or later. Each individual may have a different experience.

Stage 2 - The Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the next stage. It is often described as the period of 5 to 8 years before Menopause. Perimenopause may begin with erratic periods that last longer, shorter, or sometimes disappear completely. Periods may be heavier or lighter and may be accompanied by more painful cramps than earlier in life. Mood swings may begin to occur as your estrogen level begins random fluctuations causing wild gyrations in hormonal balance. The results may include hot flashes, difficult sleeping patterns, and emotional changes. During Perimenopause there are functional eggs still present in the ovaries and you can undergo ovulation. This stage typically takes place around the ages of 40 to 50, but as in Pre-Menopause this is just typical. Perimenopause can start much earlier or later.

Stage 3 - The Menopause

The beginning of Menopause is really estimated backward. It is generally considered that a woman reaches it one year after her last period. Menopause is the third stage of the adult woman during the "change of life". Your body still functions in most of the same ways, even producing hormones. The production amounts may be lower, since your body does not need the same volume to function as before. As these hormonal changes take place you will experience a complete lack of ovulation and you will have no more periods.

This whole natural process may take many years to complete. It will be important to remember that your body is ever changing and it will be easier to accommodate if you continue to acquire knowledge of the processes.

You will not avoid the Menopausal Process. But, there are many ways to minimize its effects. Look for books, forums and websites to get information about how others are treating symptoms.

Danny Hammond is an author, who writes articles dedicated to helping couples communicate, research and cope with the devastating effects that menopause symptoms can have on relationships. These include marriage, family, friends and co-workers. He is currently working with others on a website featuring these subjects. Please visit this website for advice on strategy on dealing with menopause.

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