No matter what point of your menopause journey you are at, there are always some questions in the back of your head that might seem too foolish to ask a medical professional. If you have a query, you should always seek legitimate advice from a Doctor; however, we’ve decided to bust five of the most common myths for you below!
You have to be over the age of 50 to go through the menopause
Although it is more common for women over the age of 50 to experience symptoms of the menopause, it is not unlikely for women around the age of 45 to feel the side effects too. Wendy Green author of ‘Menopause: A self-help guide to feeling better’ states that “most women go through the menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. However, in a minority of women, it can happen as early as the 30s or as late as 60.”
In fact, women can start to feel certain symptoms of the menopause up to ten years in advance, so although the average age for your periods to stop is 51, don’t be alarmed if you feel as though you are struggling with the menopause prematurely.
Every woman experiences hot flashes
Despite 97% of women who are currently battling with the menopause experience hot flashes at some point, there is a lucky 3% who will have no change in their body temperature! A team at UCLA has discovered that hot flashes might be a genetic factor. Although the study didn’t define the underlying cause, the study looked at the genes of 17,000 women to see if they could detect a pattern in their genetic makeup and found that a specific region of chromosome 4 did react to the hot flashes.
We have a range of menopause sprays that help combat any hot flashes that you might be experiencing through the menopause. So, if you’re in the 97% of women who unfortunately have to deal with this uncomfortable symptom, know that you’re not alone and can use alternative methods to help reduce the side effects.
Your period instantly stops
One of the most common misconceptions about the menopause is that one day you will wake up and never experience another menstrual cycle. However, this is incorrect. More likely than not, whilst your body is going through the changes that are due to the menopause it will take time for them to come into effect fully. This means that the slow decrease in estrogen will slow your periods down. You might experience irregular periods during this time but don’t worry – it’s all completely natural and part of your body stopping them altogether.
During this time, you may also find that your period gets heavier during the perimenopause. Dr Setchell, a GP at King Edward VII’s hospital and a member of the British Menopause Society says that: “often leading up to the menopause periods can get worse before they get better. People present with really heavy bleeding, clots, and some really struggle to cope.”
You’ll develop an overactive bladder
During perimenopause, the level of estrogen that your body creates is significantly lower than before and, unfortunately, one of the side effects of this is weaker bladder tissue. The lower levels of hormones also mean that the urethra will experience some changes too, due to the walls becoming thinner and dryer. In addition to this, the muscles in your pelvis can also start to weaken.
Although this may all sound overwhelming, slight incontinence is a normal part of menopause and most people will experience symptoms of it. Overactive bladder is divided into three categories depending on the severity of your urge to need to pee; urgency, frequency and urge incontinence.
Kegel exercises are amazing for strengthening weakened pelvic floor muscles, and a study from Turkey found that women who did just 10 sets of 10 Kegels a day for eight weeks had reduced symptoms! If you feel you need a little extra protection though, going to your local drug store can help you find an over-the-counter alternative.
You don’t need contraception
Although you need to be having regular periods to conceive, ditching the contraception immediately probably isn’t the greatest idea. Just in case, continue to use contraception as normal, especially when your period is irregular. If you are on a course of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), you’ll want to combine both medications as HRT will not cover you in the same way that contraception will. When you’ve been one year period free, however, you’re good to stop!
Do you think there are any myths that we’ve missed? If so, we would love to hear them, so reach out to us on our social channels and let us know!