Menopause Transition

The Signs & Science of the Menopause Transition

By December 13, 2023 No Comments

A couple of days ago I shared the first email in a series about my bumpy road as I traverse through the menopause transition and how I’m on a mission to bring more awareness to this transition and provide strategies to help you.

In this email I’m pulling back the curtain on the signs and the science behind the perimenopause transition.

Read on if this pertains to you or someone you love…

First, the SCIENCE of Menopause:

This may surprise you…

MENOPAUSE is defined as just ONE moment in time: the moment when you’ve been period-free for a full year. 

But all the hormonal fluctuations that cause the symptoms we associate with menopause start years— sometimes many years— before that moment. 

51 or 52 is the national average age of menopause. 

PERIMENOPAUSE is the menopause transition during which you go from your regular cycle of 25 to 40 days, lasting three to seven days, to a very inconsistent cycle. 

You may miss periods or have heavy, prolonged periods that seem to go on forever. 😭

(This happens to your menstrual cycle because of the sex hormones that have orchestrated the rhythms of your cycle since you hit puberty are in flux. We’ll discuss hormones in a moment…)

Perimenopause can start as early as 36 but usually begins around age 45.

Hormonal fluctuations can last up to 10 years, but they’re generally felt most keenly during the four to five years BEFORE your periods stop for good. 

POSTMENOPAUSE includes everything AFTER the one specific point of time you’ve gone a full year without a period and until the end of life, but symptoms of the transition can linger for a decade or more into postmenopause for some women.

It’s also a unique experience. 

No two people will experience it the exact same way. And there isn’t a single magic solution for menopause symptoms that will work for everybody.

But that doesn’t mean it’s entirely out of your control. 

While menopause may never be perfect or easy…

various lifestyle factors can significantly influence the nature of the experience. 

(You’ll learn three simple strategies that you can implement immediately to contribute to a better perimenopause experience in the next email.)

The STRUGGLES of Menopause

Let’s talk about the perimenopause hormonal SOS. 

This is the time—during the perimenopause transition—when you notice that things aren’t as they used to be. 

Some of my clients have noted their eating and workout behaviors that worked just fine in the past no longer deliver the same results.  

Things we used to get away with (like a weekend of overeating may now leave us feeling crummy for days. “Tricks” we may have used to lose weight before (like detoxes or crash diets) no longer deliver. In fact, they may flat-out backfire. 

This is when you begin to feel those inherent changes that people talk about as “menopause”: you start having night sweats, put on belly fat, lose lean mass, and don’t feel as strong or capable as you used to. 

Why?…

HORMONES and Menopause

All of this is happening because your hormone ratios have changed and your body is responding to that change. 

Your hormones are messengers that tell your body what it needs to do to stay healthy and strong. They tell your muscles to grow and your bones to form, and they help control your temperature, appetite and fat storage.

As we enter our menopausal years, those hormones start going a little haywire. 

Some messengers go missing, while others hang around. Some work goes undone, while other functions receive only some of the messages they’ve come to really upon. 

The system is on the fritz, the result can be metabolic chaos.

The symptoms that make you feel like you’re turning into a furnace in the middle of the night, the MIA mojo, and the body composition shifts are really your hormones sending out a distress callan SOS signal for you to give them a hand because they simply can’t perform their functions the way they used to. 

The good news…

… you can respond to these signals by stepping in and taking action to mitigate the effects of hormonal fluctuations. 

Taking action during perimenopause can really have a profound effect! #gamechanger

Too many women write off what they’re experiencing as “just getting older”. 🙄

Some of the changes may be age related but a lot of them, like pronounced body composition shifts, poor insulin sensitivity, hot flashes, mood swings, disrupted sleep, and poor energy levels are hormonally driven and can be mitigated.

This is where lifestyle changes can help better your perimenopause transition (more on that to come in the next email).

So. Many. SYMPTOMS of Menopause.

You have hormone receptors on EVERY ORGAN in your body, so when your hormones start swinging and declining, every part of your body is affected. We hear alot about certain symptoms but there are MANY common symptoms associated with the menopause transition.

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of what you may experience during this time of life. We can’t make every symptom go away, but we can sure make it a whole lot better with lifestyle changes.

List of Menopause symptoms

I realize this is a lot of information to digest, some of this may be new to you (much of it was for me!). 

It just never dawned on me WHY I am feeling and experiencing a handful of these symptoms. I did chalk it up to being older. But as I start to unpack the science behind the “why”, it all makes sense. 

The good news, there are things you can proactively do to support your journey and lessen the severity of your symptoms, or get ahead of the curve and start implementing better healthy habits now. 

In the next blog post, you’ll learn three simple strategies on how to tackle body composition changes and how I can support your journey. 

For now, drop me an email (Cassandra@ActiveMomsClub.com) and tell me → what is your biggest concern or struggle as it relates to your menopause transition? 

Xoxo, Coach C~

P.S. If you are not in the menopause transition yet, and know someone who may be, share this blog post with her. We all need to be informed to be our own greatest champion.