Menopause - Everything You Need To Know and More

Medically reviewed by Mary Ahern MS, RDN, RYT February 26, 2024| Written by Godfrey M. Wesutsa

Menopause - Everything You Need To Know and More

Menopause is anatural and inevitable stage of life for all women. However, with the right information at your fingertips, you can have the confidence to transition to menopause with fewer fears and worries. After all, adequate knowledge will prepare you to deal with both physical and emotional changes that come with this stage.

In this article, you will learn about Menopause, what it entails, and what you need to do to reduce its effects. Also, this article is not only for women, as other genders can also learn and help share some tips with females in their lives. 

What is Menopause?

In medical terms, menopause can be explained as the end of the reproductive phase or menstrual cycle in a woman, since the menstrual cycle indicates a woman's fertility and ability to conceive. Menopause marks a natural process influenced by changes in the body's hormones. 

It usually occurs in women aged 40 years and above. However, some women may experience menopause in their early 40s while some may experience it well in their 50s. 

The Three Stages of Menopause

Stage 1: Perimenopause

Perimenopause isn’t technically menopause but it can be thought of as the “pre-menopause phase” and is atransitional phase. This marks a sharp decline in the production of reproductive hormones. You will likely experience mood changes and irregular menstrual cycles at this stage. 

The beginning of this stage varies among women as some can experience it earlier than others.

Perimenopause stage is characterized by low levels of estrogen production. The low amount of hormones leads to different menopause signs such asmood changes, hot flashes, and night sweats. These signs can be severe or minor, depending on the female’s body. 

Stage 2: Menopause

A woman is regarded to have reached the menopause phase when she has not experienced menstruation for 12 consecutive months. However, this may not be true for a woman experiencing a certain medical condition, such as chemotherapy. 

On average, most women reach menopause by the age of 51 years. Some of the symptoms exhibited by women in this stage include mood changes,hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. The new changes require constant monitoring to help you understand your body.

Stage 3: Postmenopause

This is the stage where a woman has not experienced a menstrual cycle for at least one year.. Postmenopause mostly happens among women of 51 years or above. 

It is important to understand that some women experience Postmenopausal bleeding.  This bleeding is likely caused by thinning of the vaginal walls and endometrial atrophy.

Postmenopause is characterized bysevere signs and symptoms that may require regular medication. For instance, some women have reported experiencing pain during sex for a lack of natural lubrication which is caused by hormonal dysregulation. 


Menopause is a natural process caused by the reduction in the production of reproductive hormones. There are two major reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone, which are used to regulate the menstrual cycle. 

Although Menopause is a natural process, it can be influenced by external factors such as lifestyle, especially the type of food products a woman embraces. 

1. Age

When approaching40s, women experience low production of estrogen and progesterone which are hormones released from your ovaries to regulate reproduction. And so, older women are more likely to enter the menopause phase compared to younger women. 

Though women experience menopause at different times in their lives; for most women it occurs at the age of 51. Still, some may experience it in the early 40s.

2. Oophorectomy 

Surgical procedures such as theremoval of ovaries can result in instant menopause because these affect the production of estrogen and progesterone hormones. However, surgery that involves the removal of the uterus does not lead to menopause because the hormones are still viable.

3. Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy

Chemotherapy can increase the risk of menopause. However, it may not necessarily cause permanent menopause, especially if the woman is below the age of 40. 

Similarly, radiation in the treatment of cancer can also lead to menopause - especially if the radiations are directed at the ovaries.

4. Premature Ovarian Insufficiency

Premature ovarian insufficiency orpremature Menopause occurs when the ovaries cannot release eggs. Research shows that about 1% of women experience early menopause before they get to 40 years.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of menopause vary among different women. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that appear in most women. These include hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and vaginal dryness. 

Hormonal fluctuations in the body may cause women to have a low libido. Meanwhile, some women may experiencevaginal pain during sexual intercourse because of the dryness in the vaginal walls. 

Also, some women experience anxiety, mood swings, and depression in the early stages of menopause. 

Another sign of the early stages of menopause is experiencing irregular menstruation. Additionally, some women tend to havedry, thin, and slack skin due to hormonal imbalances caused by the onset of menopause. 


The menopause stage lasts for 12 months which means one year is enough to tell whether a woman has entered her menopause age. 

Understand that menopause and postmenopause are permanent changes where women lose their ability to ovulate and reproduce. 


Menopause is a natural part of life where a woman stops experiencing menstruation because of hormonal changes. This means menopause is not an illness that requires any treatment. 

However, treatment is offered to women in their menopause stage to address some of the signs and symptoms that affect their daily life such as hot flashes and mood changes. 

1. Vaginal Dryness Remedies

Vaginal dryness happens in the postmenopausal phase and can cause discomfort to women duringsexual intercourse. However, physicians may prescribe lubricants to resolve this issue.

2. Hormone Therapy 

Hormonal therapy can be used to help women experiencing severe and painful symptoms including frequent hot flashes.  

3. Antidepressant

Antidepressants can help in stabilizing mood and helping women cope with mood swings. For instance, an antidepressant such asVenlafaxine is known to improve the depressive nature of the effect of menopause on psychological well-being. 

But you must seek a professional’s advice for the best-suited antidepressant medication for menopause mood swings. 

4. Psychotherapy

Although menopause is a natural process, some women may experience depression and anxiety, which may affect their daily lives. Such women should consider enrolling inpsychotherapy sessions to maintain their mental health.

It is important to note that most of the conditions associated with menopause disappear as a woman continues to age. When the conditions are severe, it is important to seek medical intervention from Healthcare practitioners.

Effects of a Plant-Based Diet on Menopause

Research shows that a plant-based diet effectively reduces different symptoms associated with menopause. Studies have shown thata vegan diet can reduce daytime hot flashes

Effect of Lifestyle Changes

Exercising is one of the best methods that can help alleviate symptoms associated withmenopause

Apart from exercise, a woman in menopause can also try meditation and yoga to relax her body. 

All these practices can help women overcome the stress and anxiety that are associated with the menopause stage.

According toresearch,  avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can help ease symptoms that are associated with menopause 

What to Consume

 Healthy dietary choices are one of the best methods to embrace and maintain a healthy lifestyle during menopause. Consuming the right type of nutrient-rich foods helps the body to remain more productive and overcomesymptoms associated with menopause.

a. Whole Grains

Whole grains arefiber-rich and so, these help with the digestive system. Whole grains also provide the right nutrients for the optimal functioning of vital organs including the heart and the liver.

b. Dairy Products

Dairy products such as yogurt and milk are rich incalcium - a mineral essential for bone strength and immunity. Therefore, dairy products are recommended for women of all ages as these help reduce bone problems.

What to Avoid in Menopause

Certainfood products can adversely affect menopausal symptoms. And so, you should limit these foods. These include:

a. Hot Beverages and Spicy Food 

Avoid hot beverages and spicy food since they are triggers ofhot flashes.

b. Alcohol 

Alcoholcomes with high levels of calories which can lead to an increase in body weight, affecting the functionality of the body's organs. Besides, alcohol is a trigger of hot flashes.

Supplements for Easing Menopause Effects

There are differentsupplements that you can use to ease the symptoms associated with menopause. Most supplements in the market comprise the right combination of vitamins and other nutrients the body requires to support its functioning.

Black Cohosh is one of the best supplements for menopausal changes. A study by theNational Center for Comprehensive and Integrative Health shows that Black Cohosh helped women deal with hot flashes, especially at night.

a. Flaxseed

Flaxseed oil is rich in lignans which helps women deal with mild menopausal symptoms. The oil can help deal with vasomotor symptoms, especially hot flashes during the night.

b. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for developing healthy bones. It also helps in regulating the growth of vaginal epithelial which is associated with vaginal track problems.

Social Support 

1. Partners' support

Extreme menopause symptoms can harm relationships.Communication is a great way to help women in the period of menopause feel loved. Stable relationships also help with mood swings. 

2. Support Networks

A strong support system is vital for creating room to embrace the situation. Apart from family, you can also join support groups online to share experiences on body changes.

3. Long-Term Healthcare Plan

Postmenopausal women should seek regular check-ups and screening to help detect any problems that may be in their early stages.

4. Continued Self-Care

You have to care for yourself enough toaddress emerging symptoms immediately. Proactive self-care is critical for upholding emotional stability and physical care.


Women should understand that menopause is unavoidable, but its signs and symptom effects can be reduced by what they do daily. Therefore, leading a healthy lifestyle that acknowledges what you eat or consume is among the strategies to help avoid the adverse effects of menopause. 

Similarly, routine exercise and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle are also key to ensuring reduced menopause effects. Your social network and spouse can also help you in handling your menopausal changes.