In part 1 of this two-part article, Lisa Westlake explains the emotional and physical impact menopause may have.       


Technically, menopause means the end of menstruation and reproduction, and it is said to have occurred 12 months after a woman’s last period.

 

Menopaouse typically occurs between the ages of 40 and 58 years, with the median age being 51.4 years. The main symptoms, however, are usually experienced prior to this time, during a stage known as ‘peri-menopause’ when the endocrinological and clinical processes take place. The mean age of onset for peri-menopause is 47.5 years old, and the process lasts approximately four years.

 

For menopausal women, the symptoms and emotions that go hand-in-hand with this hormonal cyclone, can have a variety of emotional and physical implications on day-to-day life; and the response to menopause varies greatly between individuals. Some women feel totally overwhelmed by the physical symptoms and altered moods, while others have minimal complications and feel quite liberated.

 

The main symptoms of menopause are related to decreased oestrogen levels, which can result in many implications such as changes in skin, body shape, facial hair, and increased predisposition to various conditions.

 

Regular exercise can greatly assist a woman during menopause, by maintaining fitness, assisting weight management, boosting morale and mood, and decreasing musculoskeletal complications and the risk of associated medical conditions.

 

While each woman’s experience is unique, the changes associated with oestrogen deficiency often generate common symptoms. These may include: