Are we ever through Menopause?

NU-U LAB founder Ruth Dewar and acclaimed menopause coach Emma Quittenton discuss whether women are ever through Menopause.

Menopause: a word that evokes a variety of emotions and experiences for women worldwide. For some, it’s a welcome relief from monthly cycles and PMS woes. For others, it’s a turbulent journey marked by hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. But amidst the ups and downs of Menopause, one question we often ask is, are we ever really through it?

Traditionally, Menopause has been viewed as a finite event, marking the end of reproductive years and the onset of a new phase of life. However, emerging research and anecdotal evidence suggest that Menopause may be more of a journey than a destination, with lingering symptoms and hormonal fluctuations that can persist for years, or even decades, beyond the official “change of life.”

One of the primary reasons behind this prolonged menopausal experience is the concept of “perimenopause.” Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading up to Menopause, characterised by fluctuating hormone levels and irregular menstrual cycles. Symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings can begin during perimenopause and continue well into postmenopause.

Menopause coach Emma Quittenton says, “The list of symptoms is extensive. There are now about 70 symptoms linked to the decline of oestrogen. This is hardly surprising when you learn oestrogen is involved in much more than just the reproductive system.

“Every cell in our bodies has an oestrogen receptor, which is also essential in helping regulate the cardiovascular, skeletal, endocrine, nervous and immune systems. It also contributes to symptoms such as night sweats, anger, brain fog, vaginal dryness, insomnia, tinnitus, ulcers … the list goes on.

“Furthermore, the decline in oestrogen levels that accompanies Menopause can have long-lasting effects on various aspects of women’s health. Oestrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density, cardiovascular health, and vaginal elasticity. Therefore, the decline in oestrogen levels post Menopause can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and vaginal dryness or discomfort.”

To look at the whole picture around Menopause – we need to start at the beginning.

During puberty, the pituitary gland awakens, stimulating the development of the ovaries, which begins the release of sex hormones into the body. When women hit perimenopause, oestrogen and progesterone levels start to decline. There is also a switch in the oestrogen, as E2 Estradiol becomes E1 Estrone. Estradiol is five times more potent than Estrone. 

Unknown to many women – Menopause is just one day – the day when a woman has not had a period for 365 days. Post Menopause – The Second Spring in Japan is life without oestrogen and progesterone.

What is often thought to be menopausal symptoms happens during the perimenopause period, as the oestrogen and progesterone slowly leave our bodies.

Emma continues, “Our hormones don’t just gently fall away. Oh no, they nosedive off a cliff, then climb back up, then jump halfway off the cliff, then crawl a small way back up, and repeat. Even though they rise, they never get quite as high as before. This phase may continue for ten years, bringing about many and varied symptoms for different amounts of time.

“Eventually, the hormones are depleted (E2), and our bodies settle into learning how to function without them.”

So, yes, the fluctuating cycle has ended, but no, you’re not through Menopause as you no longer have these hormones in your body. Luckily, our bodies are amazing and learn to cope.

Emma further commented, “I believe we deserve better than just to cope”.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. While Menopause may bring challenges, it also presents an opportunity for women to embrace a new chapter of life with wisdom, resilience, and self-care. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management techniques, women can mitigate the symptoms of Menopause and promote overall well-being.

Ruth Dewar, from NU-U LAB, believes advancements in healthcare and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) offer additional options for managing menopausal symptoms and supporting women’s health throughout the menopausal transition.

“HRT, in particular, can help alleviate hot flashes, improve sleep quality, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. There is a lot of mismanaged information about HRT, and for some women, it can take several attempts with their GP to get the right HRT at the right dose. Many women experience side effects when starting HRT, and it can take a few weeks to subside. Having an experienced menopause coach, like Emma, on the side can make this so much easier to navigate.”

So, are we ever really through Menopause? The answer may vary from woman to woman. Some may find that their menopausal symptoms dissipate over time, while others may continue to experience hormonal fluctuations and health concerns well into postmenopause with severe conditions such as vaginal dryness and cracking, uterine prolapse, and as previously mentioned, osteoporosis.

“What is also unavoidable is the signs of ageing”, says Ruth. “This again impacts on how we feel. Oestrogen loss dramatically affects our skin, especially during Menopause. Skin loses volume and elasticity, becoming more prone to dryness and sensitivity.”

“Skincare is our biggest investment. Adopting a religious skincare regimen will save you pounds in the long run, and remember, you get what you pay for. Medic-led skincare, which is backed by science, is always a winner. Looking after your skin dramatically reduces the need for aesthetics.”

Learning to embrace our “new selves” is paramount. Loving the skin you’re in will make the journey so much more enjoyable.

“Weight gain and skin issues are the two biggest problems that I deal with at NU-U LAB,” says Ruth. Coaching my clients through this time is so important, and it starts with building self-worth and working on self-love. There is no shame in wanting to look and feel your best, whatever age you are. Aesthetics treatments, when done correctly, can dramatically increase a person’s self-worth and confidence, which in turn leads to a better mood and state of mind about oneself.

However, by acknowledging the ongoing nature of Menopause and adopting proactive strategies for managing its effects, women can navigate this phase of life with grace and resilience.

Menopause is a singular event and a transformative journey that unfolds over time. While the physical and emotional changes it brings may persist long after Menopause itself, women have the power to embrace this journey with strength, wisdom, and self-care.

Let’s redefine Menopause not as an endpoint but as a new beginning—an opportunity to embrace life’s changes and thrive in the coming years. Let’s continue to advocate for one another and provide the much-needed support.

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4262 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.