Hot flashes. Mood swings. Weight gain. Low libido. Pain with sex. Are these among the first symptoms that come to mind when you think of menopause? Chances are good that the answer is yes.
Menopause is a physical change that your body endures at the end of your reproductive years. Once you enter menopause, you’re no longer able to get pregnant. Every woman experiences menopause differently, but it generally begins when she is in her 40s or 50s.
Many women think of menopause as something that happens when life is reaching its end. But the average life expectancy for a woman in the United States is about 79 years, so that means you still have about half your life ahead of you — maybe more.
It’s no secret that menopause can bring along a host of unpleasant symptoms. But this natural biological change isn’t all bad. Today, our team at OB/GYN Specialists is taking a look at some often overlooked benefits of menopause.
1. No more menstrual periods
Your menstrual period happens every month, from puberty to menopause. That’s an average of about 500 periods throughout your lifetime.
When you enter menopause, your ovaries stop releasing eggs. This stops your menstrual cycle and your monthly period. There’s no need to buy tampons or pads anymore, and there’s no longer a risk of bleeding or spotting unexpectedly.
Plus, you can’t get pregnant anymore. For many women, that means you can have more enjoyable sex without worrying about accidental pregnancy.
2. No more menstrual cycle side effects
Menstruation triggers hormonal changes in your body, causing a range of painful symptoms for many women. When your periods stop, so do the hormonal fluctuations. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) affects nearly 90% of women, and symptoms include bloating, moodiness, and headaches.
In fact, nearly 60% of women who experience chronic migraine headaches suffer menstrual migraines. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop before your menstrual period, causing throbbing head pain for many women. If you have suffered menstrual migraine headaches during your reproductive years, you might notice they stop after menopause because your hormone levels stop fluctuating for good.
3. Less pelvic pain
Pelvic pain is a common complaint for women in their childbearing years. Causes range from ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage to cysts, fibroids, and menstrual cramps. Pain associated with ovulation and heavy menstrual bleeding taper off when your periods stop.
Uterine fibroids are benign growths that often develop when estrogen levels are high, such as during pregnancy and perimenopause. Fibroids can cause spotting and abdominal pain, but they begin to shrink and symptoms subside when you enter menopause.
4. A fresh outlook on life
It’s not uncommon to experience a renewed vigor for life in your postmenopausal years. Margaret Mead, an anthropologist in the 1950s, referred to the phenomenon as postmenopausal zest.
Your monthly menstrual cycle is emotionally and physically taxing, whether or not you realize it at the time. Being free from the pressure that comes with reproductive years combined with coming out on the other side of menopause gives many women a newfound sense of empowerment and self-esteem.
Women have more energy to focus on themselves, taking the opportunity to inventory their lives, relationships, and goals for the future. In fact, one study shows that optimism rises once you reach your 50s.
Daniel McDonald, MD, Marc Wilson, MD, and our team at OB/GYN Specialists are here to help you navigate perimenopause, menopause, and the life beyond. To learn more about what to expect, call our office in Denton, Texas, at 940-202-0566, or send our team a message here on our website.