Posted on: 5 March 2015Share
Most people understand that menopause causes some hormonal changes, hot flashes and other symptoms. Unfortunately, many people have also mistakenly come to believe some of the many myths that circulate about the process as well. Here's a look at four of the most common myths that circulate about menopause and the truth behind them.
Menopause Causes Weight Gain
Many people believe that the hormone changes that occur during menopause cause you to pack on the pounds around your midsection. There is no solid medical evidence that menopause actually causes you to gain weight, though. In fact, menopause happens at a time in your life when your metabolism may start slowing down a bit and you may be more likely to skip the cardio on the way out the door with a muffin in your hand.
If you make a conscious effort to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and stay as active as possible, you'll reduce the risk of weight gain as you age. Just remember that you have to be proactive about making healthy choices and exercising to help keep the natural weight gain from aging at bay.
Menopause Happens at 50
Somewhere along the way, women developed this mistaken impression that menopause would occur with the flip of a switch on their fiftieth birthday. The fact is, menopause can happen anywhere from the mid-thirties to as late as even the mid-to-late sixties.
And, the technical definition of menopause refers to the absence of menstruation for a full year. Until those twelve consecutive months have passed, the period of changes that occur is referred to as perimenopause.
Menopause is a Physical Condition
So much of the coverage of menopause focuses on the physical symptoms—including hot flashes, soreness and fatigue—that people forget that there is so much more to it than just the physical symptoms.
Many people experience depression, mood swings and other emotional disturbances during menopause. Menopause happens because of a reduction in the estrogen and progesterone production in your body. The reduction in estrogen can cause changes in your brain chemistry, which may lead to depression and some of those other emotional symptoms. Understanding that it can be as much psychological as it is physical is important, because it will help you cope with the changes.
Menopause Leads to Incontinence
Incontinence can be a common problem for women later in life, particularly because of pregnancy and childbirth as well as weight gain or bladder infections. Some doctors believe that there may be a connection between the change in estrogen production and the loss of some bladder control, but there is no solid evidence of this yet.
In either case, the best thing you can do is practice pelvic floor exercises and make sure that you are drinking plenty of water every day. Staying hydrated, active and attentive to toning your pelvic floor muscles will help you reduce your risk of incontinence as you approach menopausal age.
Menopause is a significant life stage, and one that most women will approach with some uncertainty. With the information here, you can at least approach it with some understanding of the truth behind these common myths so that you don't find yourself mistakenly believing something inaccurate. You can consult a menopausal management gynecologist to debunk other myths.