Women who are in the mid-40s to 50s experience changes in their bodies caused by menopause. But what is menopause, and how can it affect a woman’s fertility?
Menopause is a natural biological process in women that indicates the end of menstrual cycles. Initially, a newborn female has 1 to 3 million eggs. But by the time she had her first menstruation, it decreases to 400,000. When she is in the menopausal stage, the number of eggs left is fewer than 10,000. Fertility starts to decline.
A hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is responsible for growing the eggs during the menstrual cycle. However, as the menopausal stage starts, the eggs become more resistant to FSH. At the same time, the ovaries reduce the production of estrogen- a hormone responsible for growing the endometrial lining and sustaining a pregnancy.
Stages of Menopause
Menopause, like menstrual cycle, has four stages.
Like the menstrual cycle, menopause also has four stages. These are premenopause, perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. There are signs and symptoms that you can observe in every process.
The first stage is premenopause. It starts when a woman hits puberty and ends when she approaches the perimenopausal stage. During this period, there is regular menstruation, and women can reproduce. Experiencing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms are very usual.
The perimenopausal stage starts 3 to 5 years before menopause. The estrogen begins to decline, which results in irregular menstruation. This stage typically occurs when a woman is in her late 40s. Some of the signs are hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, mood swings, thinning hair, and weight gain. There is still a chance to get pregnant.
If a woman did not have her period for 12 consecutive months, she is in a menopausal stage. According to Mayo Clinic, the typical age for menopause in the United States is 51. Menopause accompanies hot flashes, chronic sleep deprivation, fatigue, brain fog, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, depression, and weight gain.
After a woman is in menopause, she would experience the postmenopausal stage. The Cleveland Clinic stated that postmenopausal women have a high risk of osteoporosis and heart disease because of the decline in estrogen. Common symptoms are vaginal dryness or irritation and painful intercourse.
Natural Ways to Get Pregnant While in Perimenopause
Natural pregnancy is possible during the perimenopausal stage.
Natural pregnancy is possible during the perimenopausal stage since ovulation continues. Once you reach the menopause stage and are no longer ovulating, it is impossible to get pregnant naturally.
But there are some risks of pregnancy during perimenopause and menopause, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, placenta previa, placental abruption, stillbirth or miscarriage, premature or low birth weight, ectopic pregnancy, and increase chance of congenital disabilities.
The fertility diet improves conception because it balances the hormones, protects the DNA health of both sperm and eggs, decreases the chance of miscarriage, and increases vitality and energy. It includes high organic fruits and vegetables, raw dairy products, and high omega-3 fatty acids.
Aside from a nutritious diet, you can also attain hormonal balance by taking herbs and nutritional supplements. Black cohosh is a herbal plant found in North America. It does boost not only fertility but also heals uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis. Evening primrose oil soothes PMS symptoms and increases cervical mucus, alleviating the pain during intercourse.
One of the herbal supplements that can help conceive is Shatavari, a herbal plant in India that combats stress and regulates the menstrual cycle. Maca, an indigenous plant in Peru, supports hormonal imbalance and keeps thyroid health. Damiana, a shrub in America and Mexico, increases blood flow in reproductive organs.
Natural Ways to Alleviate the Symptoms of Menopause
Maintaining a healthy weight helps in alleviating the symptoms of menopause.
The symptoms incorporated with menopause can hinder some daily activities of women. But now, there are natural ways to alleviate these symptoms and live your everyday life without experiencing discomfort and difficulty. Here are some tips that can help you:
Dr. Yaron Seidman DAOM