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7 Things You Didn't Know About Menopause

For some women, menopause seems like a nightmare with all the stereotypes about hot flashes, night sweats and an end to enjoying sex. It turns out that there’s a lot more to menopause than just an end to tampon purchases.

1. Menopause is defined as when a woman hasn’t had her period for a year. But before that, periods can just become really irregular with some women not having a period for several months in a row before menopause officially starts. You’re not out of the woods for needing birth control until your period has stopped for 12 consecutive months in a row.

2. Not all women experience night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings and the other commonly known symptoms of menopause. Studies have shown that women that are a healthy weight and physically active experience an easier transition than women that smoke, drink, are sedentary or in otherwise poor health.

3. Hormonal fluctuations are real and can cause everything from an irregular heartbeat to mood swings to trouble focusing or remembering.

4. Symptoms of menopause can start years before actual menopause and last for years longer.

5. Hot flashes last longer than just a quick flash. Experts recommend deep breathing, wearing loose cotton clothing and setting the thermostat lower to help offset the heat.

6. Changes in your hair, skin, and nails may occur. Hormonal changes may cause your hair to thin and/or become more brittle. Dry skin can also happen, so you may need a heavier moisturizer and to stay hydrated by drinking more water. Nails may also become more brittle and prone to breakage.

7. Your sex drive probably won’t diminish, but it may increase. Unfortunately, so can vaginal dryness, but a personal lubricant can solve that.

Exercise and diet choices have been found to be excellent tools for helping to alleviate menopause symptoms. So be sure to get moving and eat well.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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