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Perimenopause & Menopause facts and statistics; Reframing Aging

Updated: Feb 5

1. Age of Onset:

- Perimenopause typically begins in the late 30s or early 40s, with menopause occurring around the age of 51, on average.

2. Global Prevalence:

- Menopause is a universal experience for women, and the average age of menopause is similar across diverse populations.

3. Duration of Perimenopause:

- Perimenopause can last anywhere from a few months to several years before reaching menopause. The average duration is around four years. (4 months-10years).

4. Menopausal Symptoms:

- About 75-85% of women experience menopausal symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Just because you don't have symptoms, doesn't mean that your body is not gradually enduring and suffering the of lack of estrogen. Consider high cholesterol, does high cholesterol have symptoms?

No. Yet, it does it's nasty work in our liver and blood vessels and after many years, if not addressed, it may manifest as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, frontal-temporal dementia. So saying that "I sailed through menopause" or "I've been through menopause" is not accurate.

Menopause is a state of estrogen deficiency, progesterone deficiency and in some cases testosterone deficiency. How can we sail through that?

We simply adapt and accept our new state as aging and normalize the consequences of lack of these hormones. So having high blood pressure, poor sleep, aches and pains, brain fog, high cholesterol, no libido, dry vagina, frequency of urination, UTIs, anxiety, depression , belly fat, lack of energy, diminishing muscle strength, thinning hair, osteoarthritis etc become the norm. It doesn't have to be this way!

We can be at our best in our latter year! I like this woman, she's 70 something and "killing it!" I want to be just like her when I grow up! Pun intended (I am growing old daily) but, I don't have to bow down to age, and neither should you! Let's remain youthful! And keep the sass that makes women special! #menopauseSASS

5. Hot Flashes:

- Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms, affecting around 75% of women. They can last for several years, I see some women in their late 70s and 80s , still suffering with hot flushes.

6. Osteoporosis Risk:

Women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis after menopause. About 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures. If a woman experiences a hip fracture, 1/3 will be dead within a year and no matter how good their surgeon is, they don't return to their previous functional capacity. In addition, having the lengthy fracture surgery and the protracted recovery has been linked to an increased risk of onset of dementia.

7. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Usage:

The use of hormone replacement therapy declined after the Women's Health Initiative study.

However, the study proved to be deeply flawed in many ways. In fact, a revaluation of the study showed that women who've had a hysterectomy and had Estrogen only, have lower than average risk of breast cancer. Estrogen doesn't cause breast cancer. The synthetic progestin used in HRT confer a small risk of breast cancer, similar to drinking 2 units of alcohol a day. Now we know that body identical progesterone doesn't seem to have the same cancer risk.

In fact, for the first 5 years of using progesterone the risk is zero, if you use HRT for longer than that, the risk isn't much more. In fact, having a BMI >30, is by far the biggest risk of breast cancer.

Hormone imbalance contributes to belly fat, particularly fat around your organs (visceral fat). This fat is linked to cancers, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes, chronic tiredness, aches etc. in fact, type into your search engine (visceral fat, cancer and see what comes up).

Play with it further and you will be amazed, type visceral fat, migraines. Visceral fat, IBS. Visceral fat, psoriasis and on and on.

By the way, You never go through menopause, menopause is a state of Estrogen deficiency, you simply get used to the new normal without your hormones. In the hands of a doctor who is well versed with menopause care, it is never too late to start HRT. Almost every woman that I have seen and started HRT reports benefit.

As in all matters of life, it is your choice to have or not to have HRT. However, if you are getting symptoms (wether psychological or physical) and you are normalizing the symptoms and you are of perimenopausal, menopausal or post menopausal age, it is worth asking the questions, "Could it by my hormones"?

If you have symptoms, pursue the cause of the symptoms until you find a solution, be sure to speak to a medical professional that understands all the treatment options available for your symptoms and get the risk vs benefits of each. Then make up your mind.

Be sure to get your facts right too! Too many of us are getting our medical information from face book pages, google, friends or magazine pages. One of my favourites for sharing patients information on menopause is You can trust what you read on the balance website. So do yourselves a favour ladies, before you don your menopause martyr garb get up to date facts from the right source. It's your health, isn't it?

8. Cognitive Changes:

- Cognitive changes during menopause are reported by some women, but the prevalence varies. Memory concerns and difficulties concentrating are commonly mentioned.

9. Impact on Mental Health:

- While many women transition through menopause without significant mental health issues, some may experience mood swings, anxiety, or depression. The prevalence varies. However, 9/10 of women that I see, have some degree of mood symptoms, anxiety being the most common, mood swings, depression, fear, health anxiety, tearfulness, second guessing yourself, no enjoyment in life, even suicidal thoughts.

10. Workplace Impact:

- Menopausal symptoms can impact work productivity and well-being. I have met women that had to live their careers and either are in employed or settled for a less paying job. I have met several nurses who stopped nursing due to mental health challenges pos by menopause and others due to the menopause aches and stiffness and settled for simple casual jobs. The most common step down job seems to be cleaning or working online in some capacity, but with reduced hours. This means less income, likelihood of more adversity and relationship issues, lack of independence for these women and losing out on their financial contributions towards their retirement. However, discussions about menopause in the workplace are increasing. Menopause is the last taboo remaining. The best way to break a taboo is by talking about it. It stops being a taboo when we start having the difficult conversation.

So, let's keep talking! Dont you get embarrassed or shut down about menopause! Advocate for yourselves in the work places, get together as women, perhaps form menopause unions. Whatever you do, do something! Doing nothing is not an option!

Ok! Time to go get my morning run, some resistance exercises and a dose of fresh air! Are you getting your menopause reset?

By Dr Purity Carr

GP & Menopause Doctor, Harvey, WA

0481 224 333

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