• Dr. Jillian Smithers

Menopause Is A Day

You may have clicked on this article because the title just doesn't make sense - menopause is a day? What? Maybe you're thinking, 'but I've been going through menopause for "x" years, how can it be a day?'

Well, the answer is that the definition of menopause is 12 consecutive months without having a menstrual period, once that day is over, you're now post-menopausal. As women, we actually have three very distinct hormonal transitions in our lifetime:

- Premenopause: The time period from when a girl first gets her menstrual cycle through her fertile years, often into her 40s.

- Perimenopause: The time period when a woman's menstrual cycles that may have once occurred like clockwork are now erratic and often very different from what she's been used to. A lot of women explain that these symptoms seemed to start overnight and I'll hear things like 'after my 40th birthday it was like a switch was flipped and my hormones went crazy.' What's actually going on at this time is that our ovulation starts to become erratic - we may ovulate one month and then not again for 3 months and then back on for a couple months, etc. Every single month can be different from the one before and after it, just depending on whether we ovulated. This erratic pattern leads to highs and lows of estrogen and progesterone and can feel like a roller coaster.

- Postmenopause: After the 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle, then we are considered postmenopausal from that time onward.

As you can see, there's no timeframe of just 'menopause'. Each of these times in a woman's life require different support for balancing their hormones and for supporting their overall health.

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