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Changes During a Woman's Menopause

By Dawn Olsen

As baby boomers move into midlife, a woman's menopause does not have quite the alarming effect that it did some years ago. However, it remains a time of change in her life, as the ovaries start shutting down causing hormones to fluctuate. When this occurs, her childbearing years come to an end. A woman's menopause is a perfectly normal process that occurs over several years, but the physical and emotional changes associated with this "change of life" will vary from woman to woman. Some women experience symptoms that include hot flashes, mood swings, memory difficulties, vaginal dryness, and insomnia, while other women experience no symptoms whatsoever.

Too often, women even confuse natural aging changes with menopause. The few symptoms actually associated with menopause can usually be handled with a few minor lifestyle changes. Contrary to what most women have heard about menopause, it can be an exciting and challenging time. All women should know that they will experience menopause at some point in their life, whether it be premature or natural menopause. So many times, it is easy to blame other factors on menopause but it should be understood that not all symptoms a woman experiences are necessarily related to menopause. For instance, a number of women will undergo a different stresses in midlife, causing moodiness and anxiety, but these factors do not mean that a woman's menopause causes depression.

There is a myth that most women will lose their desire for sex during the menopausal years when in fact, the midlife years can be a time of enhanced sexual desire because of the freedom from having to use birth control and concerns over possible pregnancy. If a woman experiences vaginal dryness or painful intercourse, lubricants or creams can be used. A woman's desire for sex usually has more to do with feelings for her partner than with her body's hormonal changes. Another factor that might be blamed on a woman's menopause is weight gain, but some women may actually lose weight. It is important to be wise, eating healthy food and exercising regularly to maintain optimal health.

A couple of important things for women to remember while going through this time in her life is that she should be open in her communication by sharing thoughts and concerns about the changes in her body and mind. Open communication helps bring couples closer instead of creating distance. Another consideration in helping a woman feel better about going through the change of life is to connect with female friends, reminiscing about the past and possible changes to be made in the future. Additionally, women going through menopause need proper sleep. If she has trouble going to sleep, she could try taking a hot shower before bedtime or drinking a glass of warm milk or a glass of wine (just one). Even an occasional sleeping pill is recommended if nothing else seems to work, but only when recommended by her doctor.

Maintaining optimal health by eating healthy and exercising regularly is important for anyone not just for a woman going through menopause. Some other suggested ideas include dressing in layers during the winter and cooler clothing during the summer for hot flashes. As mentioned earlier, not all women will have the same menopause process, so if a woman is experiencing symptoms that are uncomfortable or if she is just plain curious, she should consult her doctor. The doctor can perform a blood test for FSH levels to determine if a woman's menopause is nearing. Menopause is the doorway to a new life, closing one chapter in life and moving on.

About The Author
Dawn M. Olsen is an Advocate for Better Women's Health through Education, Recipe Developer, Soy Food Enthusiast and the Author of "Menopause A to Z - A Definitive Guide to Modern Menopause available online now at

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