Although every woman experiences the menopause, every woman will experience it differently. Because of this, there are many different perspectives about the menopause and its symptoms. Below, you’ll find six of the most common myths of menopause and the truth behind them.

1. The Symptoms are Purely Physical

While you’ll experience hot flushes, night sweats, and possible weight gain, as menopause is due to the gradual decrease of the hormone oestrogen, there are also psychological symptoms. These include low mood, reduced motivation, anxiety, feelings of low self-esteem, irritability, panic attacks, poor concentration, and low energy.

2. Sleep Problems Have Nothing to Do with Menopause

They do – from perimenopause to post-menopause, women report the most sleeping problems1. Often, these problems are the result of hot flushes, insomnia, and mood disorders. To improve the quality of your sleep, try working aerobic exercise into your week on a regular basis. Avoid caffeine, as it can take eight hours to leave your system, and keeping your bedroom cool and comfortable may hold hot flushes at bay. Find other tips to enjoy better sleeping here.

3. Night Sweats Are the Only Menopause-related Sleep Disorder

Although night sweats are one cause of sleeplessness during menopause, they are not the only reason for interrupted sleep. Menopause causes a drop in the hormone oestrogen, which helps us fall asleep, and promotes a better-quality sleep. So, when our oestrogen levels fall, so does our ability to get a good night’s sleep. As well as this, hot flushes can contribute to poor sleep.

4. If You Have Hot Flushes, You Will Get Night Sweats

This is not necessarily true, as all women experience menopausal symptoms differently. Some women will only have hot flushes, some will only have night sweats, and some will experience both. It’s important to remember that both hot flushes and night sweats will vary in severity from woman to woman. It’s possible to have mild night sweats that can be easily prevented with a regular bedtime and a cool bedroom temperature, but others may have night sweats so severe that they completely disrupt any chance of sleep – if this is the case, check in with your doctor.

5. Menopause Begins at The Age Of 50

While the average age of women experiencing the menopause is 51 in the UK, a woman can start to experience menopausal symptoms between the ages of 45-55. Plus, around one in a hundred women under the age of 40 in the UK experiences premature menopause.2

6. Depression Is Inevitable

While menopause can cause poor sleep quality, which leads to feeling irritable and moody, mood swings are not the same as clinical depression. If your mood swings extend into a lengthy period of lethargy, sadness, and a lack of interest in life, it’s possible that a clinical depression is setting in. If you find yourself feeling like this, consult your doctor.

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Footnotes

  1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/menopause-and-sleep
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/
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