top of page

What is Menopause?

Menopause is defined as having no menstrual cycle for one full year. When you go a full 12 months with no period, you’re officially in menopause.

Biologically what happens in menopause is that there is major decline and imbalance of the hormone, estrogen, which is produced by the ovaries. When this happens you no longer ovulate (release an egg each month).

When estrogen output declines below a certain threshold, it causes an insufficient uterine lining and thus you do not menstruate. This is the end of fertility and childbearing years.

On average, women in the United States reach menopause at the age of 51. Some women will go through menopause in their forties and some may experience menopause in their thirties, though not very common.

Every day, an average of 6,000 women, in the US, will go through menopause.

Where do we start?

When I was in fifth grade our moms were called into school and we watched a movie in our science class about menstruating. My world was turned upside down. I was horrified to learn that blood would leak out of my body (no one called it a vagina) every month. Needless to say, we learned about getting our period. We discussed it, learned what to expect, had our pads, tampons, and Motrin ready as needed.

Your hormones peak in your late teens and early twenties, and gradually decline from that point on. As women enter into their forties, and perimenopause, it can feel like the bottom has just dropped out. One thing is for sure, by then your ovarian hormones are very low. These hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. One day you're feeling great and the next you don't recognize yourself in the mirror.

What is perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the time when the hormones in your ovaries start to decline. This can begin as early as your 30s and 40s when your period becomes irregular and unpredictable in your monthly cycles. Some women suffer from multiple symptoms while others breeze through. This can last anywhere from two to ten years. You might start to feel like everything is out of sorts, but rest assured this is the gradual onset of menopause. You're not losing your mind. There are many symptoms you may experience. These can include:

  • Hot flashes - Up to 75% of women have hot flashes. Triggers include caffeine,

  • Irregular menstrual cycles or cycles cease entirely

  • An overall thinning of the hair on the head and body

  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse

  • Reduced sex drive

  • Weight gain, often in the abdominal area, without changes to exercise and diet

  • Muscle aches and weakness without explanation

  • Chronic fatigue or a noticeable decline in energy levels

  • Night sweats begin, or hot flashes become regular

  • Memory loss and a lack of concentration become severe enough to cause frustration

  • Anxiety and depression may begin or worsen in those with existing conditions

  • Mood changes become more unpredictable. Anxiety attacks and depression can occur.

  • Skin becomes dry regardless of skin care regimens, and acne develops on the face and body

  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances become a chronic concern

  • Urinary incontinence due to lower levels of estrogen that thin the lining of the urethra.

Every woman is different

When it comes to menopause, every woman has her own story and experience. While some women will have no symptoms, others will experience severe symptoms. When will perimenopause symptoms begin and when will you go through menopause? The experts agree that this depends mostly on the following factors:

  • Many women follow in their mother’s footsteps, reaching menopause around the same age as their mom.

  • Smokers may start menopause up to two years earlier than non-smokers.

  • Having more than one pregnancy and also breastfeeding may delay menopause by a few years.

  • Certain health conditions, chemotherapy, radiation to the pelvic area, or surgery like a hysterectomy can cause early or premature menopause.

What happens after a year without a period? Welcome to post menopause!

On average, women will spend about 1/3 to 1/2 of their life in post menopause. With menopause comes a deep decline in ovarian hormones. While your periods have ended, and some symptoms of menopause might go away, like hot flashes, and night sweats, some symptoms can get worse because of a decline of estrogen and progesterone (hair loss and vaginal dryness). Post menopause, women are vulnerable to risks of heart disease, alzheimers, osteoporosis, and cancer.

The tides are turning and the conversation about women's health after menopause is alive and well.

Every woman has her own journey. Treatment for hormonal health is not a "one size fits all" approach. Excellent treatment programs begin with an individualized assessment, treatment, and monitoring protocol for each individual woman. Experts agree that for the vast majority of healthy women, supplementing the body's natural hormones is the safest and most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms and risk factors. Book a call with us to talk about options for you.




Follaine Health (Gaelic for Wellness) was born out of a desire to help real women with real health issues. 


7-Day Reset Course

bottom of page