Choppy Waters of Moods and Weight Gain Smooth with Aging

Menopause transition requires the most management with respect to symptoms. You age enough, some of the symptoms will smooth and not require medical intervention or evaluation.

In new information from the study of healthy aging from Melbourne, Australia women have the most symptoms of depression, the most depressed libido symptoms, and most negative mood right during the menopause transition.

Interestingly these negative effects of menopause on mood, libido, productivity resolve the older women get older. Likely it’s due to fewer hot flashes

The average age of menopause is 51.4 years old. The age of menopause has a genetic component and exact age women have a final menstrual period does run in families. However, the menopausal transition  is fairly reliably 45-55.

The age of menopause is remarkably consistent from culture to culture suggesting that it is not our diet that is responsible.  For most women the hot flashes are the early physical signs and moodiness is the first sign for others, for others it’s weight gain or vaginal dryness.

On average women gain 8-15 pounds in the first two years of menopause! As we get older, weight is actually lost, so there is some specific link between menopausal transition. To combat this perimenopausal gain nutritionists suggest keeping fat in your diet to less than 20%  during this time.

We lose 2-4% of bone in menopausal transition, but only 1-2% in older age. Women who have very late menopause tend to having higher density of bones, very slightly over women who had earlier menopause.

Specific diet shouldn’t affect age of menopause. Some data also links your age of menopause to whether you consume milk. Most researchers,however, consider this a ‘risk marker’ rather than the actual ‘risk factor,’ as to the age of menopause.

The amount of lifetime exposure to estrogen has many effects. There is an extra 2.8% increase in probability of developing breast cancer for each year menopause is is delayed. So age of menopause is actually an important health metric that should be discussed. For factors that might increase or decrease your personal age of menopause, consider aconsultation with your gyno!

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Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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