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Top ten Myths of Menopause

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Menopause is inevitable. No woman on planet earth is invincible to entering this phase of her life. So instead of plotting an escape route past menopause, let’s dig into exactly what we are fearing. And trust me when I tell you, you are not alone in this change.

More than half of the world is trying to stay afloat in the same menopause boat as you. So before you go bonkers over what you think will happen, lets review a list of menopause myths that I am sure will ease the minds of many who are rapidly approaching this phase.

Myth #10: Mothers and Daughters and similar in more ways than one

Your family genes can be a good (or bad) sign of when you may start seeing signs of menopause. If your mother and grandmother didn’t start experiencing menopause till they were 60, well congratulations, because you will most likely follow suit. Also, the age you got your first period could be noteworthy. If you started young, you may not hit menopause till later, pending you don’t smoke. Which leads me to the next menopause myth.

Myth #9: Smokers beware

Your mother may not have hit menopause till she was 60, which is good for you, but if you smoke, you are digging yourself an early menopause grave. Unfortunately, smokers are more likely to start seeing signs of menopause earlier to some extent. If you are younger than middle age, you might want to consider dropping the habit. If not in fear of menopause, at least for your own health!

Myth #8 – Say goodbye to your sex life

False. Unless you are not interested in the idea of sex, this myth proves untrue. It is actually just the opposite for a lot of women. Although women go through a lot of hormonal changes that can sway there emotions, sex is more liberating than ever before because women no longer fear the possibility of pregnancy.

Myth #7 - “Menopause caused me to slip into depression”

Menopause doesn’t create depression, you do. The faster you come to terms with the idea of growing old, the better off you are. Some women experience “empty nest” syndrome. Some get frustrated with all the vitamins you have to start taking, and your metabolism hits an all time low. Keep a positive outlook; if you can’t beat’em, join ‘em. You’re not getting any younger, so hit the pavement for a long walk, eat healthy and embrace an empty chaos-free house. It will do your mind and body some good.

Myth #6: Women pack on the pounds during menopause

True, unfortunately. Although your metabolism is showing signs of aging, that doesn’t mean you have to as well. Keeping your diet in check and heart rate up during daily exercise can reduce your risk of gaining weight and all the complications that come with it. My personal suggestion: rescue a dog from a shelter if you have the time. They are already trained, so you just need to keep it active, which in turns keeps you active and healthy (and also makes for a good empty nest syndrome cure).

Myth #5: "Artificial" menopause due to surgery or chemotherapy cause elevated symptoms

If you are one of the millions of women who have battled cancer through chemotherapy or radiation, or have had other serious illness’s that have caused you to slip into menopause much earlier than your body would have naturally, then yes, you are more susceptible to elevated symptoms. Your body is experiencing more stress than the rest of us who go through menopause naturally. Hormone therapy may be your best option to keep your hormones in check, so keep an open mind to what the doctors think is the best method for you.

Myth #4: “I’m so old, my life is over”

NOT! Ladies, your life is just beginning. What a great time re-invent yourself. Yes, you are entering a new chapter in your life, but it is not even close to the last chapter. It’s the climax in an adventure novel. This is the chapter where you re-evaluate your life goals and establish new ones. Find what you enjoy, and do it.

Myth #3: Menopause symptoms begin at 50

Menopause doesn’t actually start until you have missed your period for a year, which in most cases begins around 40. This change from the pre-menopause stage , called perimenopause, can last anywhere from 2-8 years. The number 50 is not the bible, not even close for some. Every woman goes through this change at a different time. To gauge when you might start experiencing these signs keep your family history and daily habits in mind.

MYTH #2: All women get cranky during menopause

Mood swings are par for the course of menopause. There are so many hormonal changes occurring in your body, that your brain can trigger angry responses. But I promise, it will not last forever. Pair your anger with patience and maybe you – and your loved ones – will find a happy medium for the interim.

Myth #1: Menopause is a “natural” stage in a woman’s life with no dangerous penalty

True and false. What?

Natural, yes. We can’t stop it from happening. Women’s natural makeup includes menopause. Just like we can’t control the weather, we can’t control menopause. Sorry ladies. But with the nature of menopause actually comes danger. There are serious consequences of menopause that women need to be privy to. The loss of your estrogen levels increases your potential for life-threating illness’s, including diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and so much more. Most of these can be prevented, delayed or treated. Therefore it is so imperative to get ahead of the game and take care of your mind and body.

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I've got to take issue with your Myth #7 - “Menopause caused me to slip into depression.” You write as though depression is simply something that is caused by and can be prevented by will or emotion when, in fact, the shift in hormonal balance in perimenopause can cause a depression before a woman even knows she's IN perimenopause. Yes, embracing all stages of life is vital, but mental health is affected by chemical and hormonal imbalances that often need attention from medical health professionals. Therapy and/or medication can help immensely.

Here is the Cleveland Clinic's page on perimenopause, menopause and depression:


Here's an American Psychiatric Association article on how Perimenopausal Depression is often overlooked or undertreated:


A USA Today report on a 2004 landmark APA study of 591 women and how often they developed depression in perimenopause:


Women suffering from a depression would love to feel better. Depression isn't a choice, it's a condition with biological and chemical factors. You are right when you say that healthful eating, exercise and a chaos-free home can all help with a depression. But for many, even those activities are too much at first. And diminishing the very real causes of depression in your article won't help them take that first step.

September 15, 2009 - 8:56am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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