It’s the elephant in the room, the part of life that may make you feel fraught with uncertainty — what will menopause be like for you? Is what you’ve heard of menopause really true?
It can be daunting to sift through all the menopause facts and myths and differentiate which symptoms are which.
Read along as we share the menopause myths that can be disregarded and how you can find relief from common symptoms.
Table of Contents
- 12 Menopause Myths – And Facts To Set the Record Straight
- Chiavaye: Helping To Improve the Lives of Women Dealing With Menopause
12 Menopause Myths – And Facts To Set the Record Straight
Fear of the unknown and how your body may react to “the change” may lead you to lean into the stories and menopause myths you’ve heard from family, friends, or others in your circle.
But it’s important to remember that no two transitions to menopause look the same. Read on to debunk 12 common myths and learn what signs and symptoms to be aware of and how to find relief from whichever ones you experience.
Myth #1: Menopause Begins When Your Periods End
The truth to this myth lies in the details — menopause technically begins once a woman has missed her period for 12 consecutive months. But miss a period for 11 months and 29 days, and you are, medically speaking, still experiencing perimenopause.
On average, menopause can begin for a woman anytime from ages 45-55 or older. After perimenopause (which lasts approximately four years), a woman enters postmenopause, which refers to the time after the last menstrual period.
Myth #2: The First Sign of Menopause Is Hot Flashes
Much like how the timing of menopause differs from woman to woman, so does the onset of symptoms.
In fact, many of the symptoms that are commonly associated with menopause actually occur during perimenopause. It’s important to know that any number or combination of these symptoms is considered normal, but if you have any questions or concerns, your primary care doctor should be able to help you address them.
There’s no telling how long a woman may experience perimenopausal symptoms before the last period, but the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone in these pre-menopausal years is very common for women in their 40s.
The first symptoms of menopause may be:
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- Low libido
- Hair loss
- Food cravings
- Fuzzy thinking/forgetfulness
- Irritability, mood swings, depression, and/or anxiety
- Irregular periods
- Adult acne
- Sleep difficulties
- Joint discomfort or stiffness
- Digestive discomfort
- Feeling overwhelmed
- PMS-like symptoms, including cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, or headaches
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Heavy sweating
- Having to pee often
- Changes in sexual desire
- Vaginal dryness
Dryness during perimenopause can also lead to itching and irritation.
While a wide array of personal moisturizers and lubricants are on the market, many of these contain ingredients that can worsen symptoms of perimenopause.
Luckily, you can overcome some of the vaginal changes that accompany menopause with the all-natural lubricant and personal moisturizer, Chiavaye.
Our non-toxic, non-GMO, hormone-free lubricant can be used as a personal moisturizer to help alleviate any itching and irritation.
Myth #3: Menopause Makes You Irritable
While the hormone changes women experience during menopause don’t directly cause mood swings, some of the other resulting symptoms might make you a bit more irritable during the day.
Loss of or poor quality of sleep can be caused by night sweats or hot flashes. This can leave you feeling irritable, anxious, or even depressed.
Hormone therapy or antidepressants may be a solution for some women, but if you’re looking for some changes you can do, try:
- Adding in a cardio workout to your routine.
- Avoiding warm rooms, hot drinks, hot foods, alcohol, and caffeine.
- Wearing multiple, light layers of clothing.
- Keeping a fan on your bedside table.
Myth #4: You’re More Likely To Be Depressed
Research shows that roughly one in five women will experience an episode of major depressive disorder at some point in their lifetime. For some, depression can present or worsen during periods of dynamic hormonal flux, including perimenopause.
However, menopause does not actually cause depression.
The same hormones that control your menstrual cycle also influence serotonin — the chemical in your brain responsible for your feelings of happiness. During perimenopause, these hormone levels drop, which can contribute to increased irritability, anxiety, and sadness.
Myth #5: Your Sex Life Is Over
Aside from vaginal pain, changes during perimenopause can also cause changes to your sexual function.
Some women report a higher sex drive during perimenopause, while others may experience:
- Lack of libido
- Difficulty reaching an orgasm; or
- Pain before, during, or after sex
These experiences may be due to the thinning of your vaginal lining and shifts in hormone levels.
Low libido during menopause may be a sign of hormone imbalance. Hormone therapy is a common treatment that can help aid in increasing your sex drive.
If sex has become something you dread, don’t even think about, or feels like a chore, don’t give up hope.
Just because your body is changing doesn't mean you shouldn’t enjoy pleasure.
Chiavaye is one of the best ways to manage changes in sexual function. Don’t let hormonal changes stop you from feeling your best.
Myth #6: You’ll Gain Weight
As with most menopause myths, the ever-whispered-about weight gain can be due to declining estrogen levels.
Also like most myths, this symptom isn’t true for everyone — nor should menopause be entirely to blame.
As you age, your metabolism slows, which can result in extra pounds and the need for new wardrobe items.
You can do absolutely nothing different, eat the same amount of the same foods, and maintain the same amount of exercise as you always have, but the weight gain may still come.
So, what’s the solution? It’s as simple as moving your body more and eating more of the right types of foods.
To try to stave off the unwanted weight, you might try:
- Strength training
- Outdoor walks; or
- Prioritizing protein in your diet.
Myth #7: Menopause Can’t Be Treated
While menopause itself is inevitable, you don’t need to settle for suffering through the symptoms of it.
Whether your symptoms are mild or moderate, knowledge is power. Your doctor may recommend a menopause practitioner or speak to you directly about how to treat some of your more bothersome symptoms.
In addition to medical treatment, you can implement holistic lifestyle changes, including:
- Adding in low-stress workouts like yoga or meditation to help reduce stress and aid in better quality sleep.
- Using hormone-free lubricants, like Chiavaye, to make vaginal dryness or painful sex bearable again.
- Getting acupuncture or taking herbal remedies to help reduce symptoms like hot flashes, headaches, or digestive discomfort.
Myth #8: You Need To Take Hormones
Common perimenopause and menopause symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Depression; or
These symptoms can be combated with tools like:
- Hormone replacement therapy
- A low-dose contraceptive; or
- Non-hormonal medications, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
It’s important to realize that whatever symptoms you’re experiencing, and however you feel comfortable finding relief, there are options — hormone therapy is just one of the many tools menopausal women can turn to to feel like themselves again.
Myth #9: Menopause Comes With No Benefits
With all the menopause myths floating around, it’s no wonder women feel like it’s something to be dreaded rather than celebrated.
If rough periods plagued your life thus far, menopause is a welcome relief. Many women find themselves less stressed about avoiding pregnancy and are in a phase of life with no kids in the house, embracing their rediscovered freedom.
Moreover, many women find that any premenstrual symptoms they experienced before, like bloating, migraine headaches, or premenstrual mood swings, significantly reduced once they reach postmenopause.
Myth #10: You Can’t Get Pregnant
Menopause is the permanent end of menstrual periods — and therefore, of fertility. However, women in perimenopause can still get pregnant.
Remember, in order to be considered “in menopause,” a woman must have missed her period for 12 consecutive months.
Because your fertility doesn’t necessarily go away when you first stop getting your period, it's still possible for some women to become pregnant (cue Father of the Bride 2).
If you love the empty nest life, it’s recommended that you continue to use a form of birth control until you've gone a full year with no period.
Myth #11: Menopause Makes You Forgetful
Much like symptoms of depression and anxiety, menopause in and of itself does not cause any memory loss.
However, brain fog is a common symptom during perimenopause.
Poor sleep quality and increased stress could interfere with concentration and memory, which may lead to forgetfulness.
If you find yourself forgetting what you were talking about in the middle of a sentence or what you were doing in the middle of a task, try:
- Slowing down. Recognize when you’re distracted and take a moment to breathe and refocus on the task at hand.
- Managing your stress. Meditation or other stress-reduction strategies can help you to relax, absorb new information, and help with recall.
- Getting regular exercise. Physical activity can act as a stress reliever on top of its benefits to your metabolism.
- Improving your sleep habits. Work on your sleep hygiene and establish a regular sleep schedule.
- Using memory tricks. Visual or verbal cues, or mnemonics and rhymes can help make daily tasks easier to remember.
Myth #12: Men Can Experience Menopause Too
It’s true that testosterone levels lower as men age, similar to estrogen levels in women — but not nearly as quickly.
The symptoms that men experience may be much more subtle, though, and therefore can’t be compared to menopause.
However, an unusually low level of testosterone could potentially point to andropause, or male menopause, which presents in symptoms like:
- Erectile dysfunction
- A decreased sex drive and infertility
- Depression, fatigue, insomnia
- Increased body fat, reduced muscle mass, or decreased bone density
It’s important to note that true andropause exists only in men who have lost testicular function or men with advanced prostate cancer subjected to surgical or medical castration.
Chiavaye: Helping To Improve the Lives of Women Dealing With Menopause
Whether you suspect you’re about to begin menopause, are dealing with perimenopause, or are postmenopausal, there are a number of ways you can deal with your symptoms.
Chiavaye is one of the best ways to manage vaginal changes and changes in sexual function.
Don’t let hormonal changes stop you from feeling your best. Reap the benefits of each of the six ingredients in Chiavaye during perimenopause, menopause, or post-menopause.
Remember, you can (and should) still enjoy pleasure during menopause.