I managed to avoid thinking about menopause until the first hot flush hit.
Then I had to think about it. It’s pretty hard to ignore a hot flush. It’s like somebody has turned up your body temperature with a remote control you didn’t know existed.
But I wondered – was I really experiencing hot flushes, or were they too short to count? If they were hot flushes, how long was I going to keep getting them for? Weeks, months, years?
I realised I’d never talked to anyone about hot flushes, and barely said the word “menopause” out loud. Maybe because in my head I’m 19, even though I’m actually 51.
Apparently I’m pretty typical. Women's health and reproduction expert Natasha Andreadis says most women don’t want to talk about menopause.
“They don’t want to think about it because they equate it to ageing, and we’re so ageist in our society that we don’t want to know anything about it,” she tells Mamamia.
So here are 8 things that we really all should know about menopause.
1. Why menopause actually happens.
Menopause happens because your ovaries stop releasing eggs and your oestrogen levels drop. There’s a very specific time when it’s said to have occurred. “Menopause is, by definition, when a woman hasn’t had a period for one year,” Natasha explains.
2. The average age we go through menopause.
The average age Australian women go through menopause is 51 or 52. “But it can occur a lot earlier than that,” Natasha adds. When it happens before the age of 45 it’s called early menopause, while before the age of 40 it’s called premature ovarian insufficiency.