Understanding Menopause and Its Effects on Your Body

Menopause is the term used to refer to the time in a woman's life when menstruation stops.It's a very natural physical occurrence that marks the end of the female body's reproductive years as periods stop and the ovaries lose their reproductive functions. Changes in oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol levels influence menopause; these are the hormones collectively known as oestrogen.

The ability to ovulate is associated with the release of estrogen that the ovaries and adrenal glands produce in small amounts to control the reproductive cycle. Let's explore what menopause is together and how to deal with the effects it could have on our bodies when it hits!

When does menopause happen?

Women typically reach menopause from 45 to 55; if it occurs before the age of 40, it will be considered premature menopause. Also, in cases where women reach menopause before the age of 45, it will be referred to as early menopause. In some exceptional cases, women can go through menopause in their 30s or earlier, which is still considered premature menopause or often known as premature ovarian insufficiency.

You can consider yourself officially menopausal if you don't get your monthly periods for 12 consecutive months. The process itself can take time, with gradual changes taking place and symptoms appearing, which we will go through later on to help you deal with it.

What are the causes of Menopause?

Menopause happens as women get older and the amount of eggs produced by the ovary decreases, diminishing their chances and ability to conceive. The body starts behaving differently as oestrogen levels drop in the process, which can take years. This gradual change is known as premenopause.

Natural menopause is not caused by any medical conditions or surgery that causes menstruation to stop, like hormonal birth control or overactive thyroid artificially. As your body adapts to natural changes in its hormone levels and the menstrual cycle gradually stops, you will experience physical changes and symptoms to adjust to the different stages of menopause (perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause).

What are the symptoms of menopause?

As you start transitioning into menopause, you may experience some of these symptoms or all of them at some point. These are signs of increased fluctuation in hormone levels or decreased estrogen production.

  1. Hot flashes all over your body.
  2. Irregular periods or missed periods.
  3. Vaginal dryness causing discomfort during sex.
  4. Frequent urinary urges.
  5. Insomnia, difficulty sleeping and night sweats.
  6. Dry skin, mouth or eyes.
  7. Mood swings and emotional changes like irritability and depression.
  8. Heavier periods than usual or lighter periods.
  9. Breast tenderness.
  10. Worsening of PMS symptoms.
  11. Weight gain.
  12. Hair thinning
  13. Temporary memory problems
  14. Headaches
  15. Muscle aches or joint pain
  16. Changes in sex drive (libido)

Managing menopause symptoms

There are several lifestyle modifications and treatments like menopausal hormone therapy to combat the unpleasant symptoms of menopause. Here are some tips to help you deal with some of the perimenopause or menopause irritations:

Healthy diet for menopause

Maintaining good health becomes more and more essential as you approach menopause. Try to follow a healthy diet that consists of different food groups and includes protein, vegetables, whole grains and fish. It's also important to increase fluid intake and consume low-fat dairy products with high calcium.

Exercise and menopause

Regular exercise is significantly important to maintain heart health and improve overall health for menopausal women. Try to exercise at least 30 to 45 minutes 5 times a week to keep your bones healthy and improve your wellbeing. Make sure your workout includes strength-training activities and weight-bearing to maintain good balance and decrease injury risk. Aim at completing 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week.

Caffeine intake and smoking

Smoking may cause earlier transitioning into menopause and increase the risk of lung cancer, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis. Try to quit smoking and decrease caffeine intake as well to help sleep better at night. Drinking too many caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea or soda may worsen menopause symptoms for some women.

Mood changes and menopause

Some of the signs of menopause that are sometimes hard to deal with are mood changes and psychological struggles like anxiety, mild depression and irritability. There are common stressors at this stage of every woman's life that cause such frustrating feelings.

Mood changes can be related to changes in sex drive or physical appearance, having health issues or other social changes that usually happen in this phase of life, like children leaving home or career changes. Don't hesitate to see a psychologist if you experience significant psychological distress, mood swings or depression. Seeking support will help you recover faster!

Health checks recommended after menopause

When you reach menopause, make sure you get the recommended cervical screenings done every five years and a mammogram every two years by visiting your doctor or a women's health service centre.

Feminine hygiene and menopause

Practicing feminine hygiene remains an important part of any woman’s life after menopause. It is essential to take care of your feminine health and keep your intimate area clean by using feminine care products like intimate washes, panty liners and intimate wipes. Here are some quick tips on keeping your intimate area clean using Carefree feminine care products:

  1. Use panty liners daily to keep your intimate area clean and dry throughout the day.
  2. Wash the exterior area of your vagina using a daily vaginal wash especially designed for intimate care.
  3. Change your panty liner whenever you need during the day.
  4. Use intimate wipes on extra busy days or hot days to keep your intimate area clean on the go!


  1. https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/menopause/
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000894.htm
  3. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/menopause#what-is-menopause
  4. https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-and-your-health