Top 5 Menopause Myths

Healthy Aging, Healthy Living
on August 19, 2011
Think Stock

The myths that arise around menopause run into the hundreds, and it can be difficult to separate myth from fact. These top five menopause myths are possibly the most persistent — and often number among a woman's biggest concerns as she approaches this next phase of life.

You’re going to gain weight during menopause. While most women in their 40s and 50s gain weight, studies show that there is most likely no link to menopause. As people get older, they are usually less active, and their metabolism may be slowing down. The type and quantity of food you eat will have to change in order to maintain a healthy weight — regardless of whether you’ve started menopause or not.

You can’t get pregnant once menopause symptoms start. Actually, you can. Most women experience menopause symptoms for several years before their period stops altogether. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states, “Once menopause is complete (called postmenopause) and you have not had a period for one year, you are no longer at risk of becoming pregnant.” However, by the time symptoms start, you may be at risk for complications associated with advanced maternal age, so don’t quit the birth control just yet.

You won’t want sex anymore. There are some changes that occur to sexual desire — and sometimes it’s an increase in that desire. Women in perimenopause may experience some vaginal changes such as dryness and loss of muscle tone, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want or be able to participate in sex anymore.

Menopause means you’re entering senior years. Two hundred years ago, if you made it to menopause, you were considered a very old woman. Today, the average female life span is almost 30 years past the average age for menopause, and many women live a lot longer than that and enjoy great health. You do the math.

Menopause is miserable. Yes, a number of unpleasant side effects commonly accompany with perimenopause. No, you won’t experience all of them, and it won’t be a non-stop plague all rolled up into a ball of hysteria that goes from depressed to broom-flying in 60 seconds. Some women do suffer from severe symptoms, and if this is the case, then you should consult your doctor about options for management. Perimenopause should not significantly interfere with your life, and if it does, then effective help is available.