Menopause Type 3: Early Menopause
October is Global Menopause Awareness Month! Considering how many women enter perimenopause without even knowing it, “awareness” seemed like a good idea to us at Gennev.
So this month, we’re helping women understand where they are in the menopause journey, so they can manage symptoms now and take measures to be healthier in the future.
What is Type 3?
This week, we’re focusing on Type 3, which is typically the first 7 – 10 years of menopause.
Once a woman has gone 12 full months without a period, she’s considered “menopausal.” While periods may be over, unfortunately, some uncomfortable menopause symptoms still remain.
Type 3s, here are your pain points
Congratulations on making it through Type 2! By now, your hormones are beginning to level out (low, but level), and your body has started adjusting to its new normal. Unfortunately, it’ll take some time before you’re fully adjusted, but many things should start to trend better.
Weight gain has probably slowed as you’re learning how to eat and exercise to fit your new body and metabolism. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, can spike in some women in perimenopause, but by name it should be coming back under control. Remember that a little extra fat can be protective, so don’t be in too big of a hurry to shed all the weight you may have gained.
Gennev’s solution: First, embrace your new, beautiful body. It may be softer and rounder, but that’s OK. You’ll want to keep weight under control to ease joint pain and watch belly fat to reduce risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and diabetes, but 30 minutes of exercise a day and a good diet with plenty of water will help. Talk with a Gennev Health Coach to start the fitness program that feels right and helps you get to your goals.
Hot flashes and night sweats
Gennev’s solution: If you’re able to take hormones, this is a great time to talk with a menopause-specialist physician about HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy. Studies are now showing that women who go on estrogen replacement early in menopause reap the most benefits and have the lowest associated risks. If hormones are off the table for you, black cohosh has worked for many women, and our coaches can help you identify lifestyle behaviors that may trigger hot flashes.
This is the point at which women may begin to experience vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse. As estrogen diminshes, the tissues of the vagina can become drier, thinner, more vulnerable to injury.
Gennev’s solution: Many women find all the relief they need with a good moisturizer or lubricant. Other possible solutions include Mona Lisa Touch treatments, vaginal estrogen, and HRT. Any medication or treatment should be prescribed by a menopause specialist physician to be sure you’re getting safe and consistent dosages of hormones and expert care.
A big factor in Type 3, brain fog and lack of concentration can really frighten women who don’t know it’s coming. Many women have turned down advancement, even quit jobs, or undergone significant tests, fearful they’re experiencing early onset dementia. But brain fog and memory interruptions aren’t unusual as your brain adapts to having less estrogen.
Gennev’s solution: Feed your brain! A Mediterranean diet with its good, lean proteins, leafy greens, healthy fats, and omega-3-rich fatty fishes is a great choice for brain health. Supplementing your diet and filling any gaps in your nutrition with Vitality can help you stay at the top of your game. Make sure you take them with plenty of natural, unadulterated water, which your brain also needs.
Skin and hair changes
As our bodies lose estrogen, we experience changes to hair and skin: both can become drier. Skin wrinkles and loses elasticity, hair grays and thins. Again, it’s good to remember that aging is a privilege denied to many, and our changing bodies reflect a life of experience and wisdom!
Gennev’s solution: While we’re celebrating aging like fine wine, we should also be drinking plenty of water and taking Gennev’s Vitality, which has nutrients that help with the havoc time wreaks on hair and skin.
Joint aches are very common—in fact, foot, knee, shoulder, and back pain are some of the most common concerns we hear from Type 3 women.
Gennev’s solution: Keep moving. It might sound strange, but “motion is lotion” as our Physical Therapy experts tell us. Continuing to move keeps joints lubricated, and it’s that lack of lubrication that causes them to ache in the first place. Also, an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce joint pain, as can magnesium glycinate.
If you’re dealing with mild leakage when you cough or laugh or lift something heavy, or if you find you’re sometimes rushing to make it to the bathroom on time, don’t wait. Incontinence tends to worsen with age, but if you catch it early, incontinence can be halted, even reversed, without surgery. Pelvic muscles, like our muscles generally, can weaken as we age, leading to incontinence and even organ prolapse, so it’s important to strengthen pelvic muscles correctly!
Gennev’s solution: The first best step to dealing with incontinence is to find a Physical Therapist who specializes in the pelvic region. Pelvic PTs can help determine the issue and give you exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles without overdoing it. (Bonus: h3er pelvic muscles = better orgasms.)
Mood swings, anxiety, and depression
In the “good news” category, mood issues tend to dissipate in Type 3 and beyond, so you may be feeling relief from the anxiety, depression, irritability, and rage that can come earlier in the transition.
Still plenty to deal with in Type 3, but as you move through this phase, things should start to improve, and you can focus on the joys of this second half of life. However, it’s time now to consider the long-term effects of estrogen loss, so talk with a menopause-specialist doctor about how best to protect your bones, brain, and heart.
Are you a Type 3, or maybe you have a special Type 3 woman in your life? Come join the conversation about All Things Menopause in our Community forums!
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