de overgang, wat kan je verwachten?

The menopause, what can you expect?

You are full of life and then suddenly you get a short fuse, you get tired more quickly and it is sometimes difficult to manage everything the way you used to. There is a good chance that you have started menopause. I didn't realize that it can start around the age of 40, and for me the complaints actually only started in my late forties, so that was at least a stroke of luck. Fortunately, more and more attention is being paid to the menopause, but there is still a lot of ignorance about this subject. Because what is the transition?

We contacted Jojanneke Kant, a general practitioner who has started her own Insta page to inform as many girls and women (and also men) as possible about various topics. She wrote the blog below about the transition, and hopefully more collaborations will follow.

jojanneke asks the doctor

By: GP Jojanneke Kant. Insta: @devragendokter , photo: Dani van Oeffelen.


What is the menopause?

Menopause is the period in which you as a woman go from fertile to no longer fertile. The ovaries will produce less and less female hormone, estrogen, and will eventually stop doing so. The change in hormones changes a lot in a woman's body. As many as 25% of women experience complaints of this every day. An even larger proportion experience complaints several times a week. Menopause is officially over when you have not had a period for one year.


What is a normal age for menopause?

The transition can start from the age of 40. If this happens before the age of 40, this is referred to as an early menopause, and it is wise to discuss this with your GP. On average, women have their last menstrual period at the age of 51. This last menstrual period is called menopause. Do you still have regular periods at the age of 52? This is also normal, the age of menopause can vary between 40 and 60 years.


Symptoms that may indicate menopause

Because there are fewer eggs in the ovaries during menopause, both estrogen and progesterone levels will decrease. As a woman you may notice the following:


  • Changes in menstrual periods: these complaints can be diverse and can vary from a longer or shorter period between periods, interim bleeding to heavier periods with a lot of blood loss, clots and abdominal pain.
  • Vaginal complaints such as itching and dryness
  • Hot flashes: as many as 80% of women have these heat attacks, which are caused by a drop in estrogen levels. You may feel extremely hot for a few minutes, causing you to sweat, your heart to beat faster and your face to turn red. If you have hot flashes at night, this can lead to poor sleep, fatigue and sadness.


The duration of menopause is different for every woman. The symptoms of menopause usually start 5 years before menopause and continue for 2-3 years afterwards.


Can you test in your blood whether you are going through menopause?

Unfortunately, this cannot be measured reliably enough in the blood. This is because the hormones you can test can fluctuate greatly throughout the day. For example, the test may show that you are in menopause, while that is not the case. And vice versa.


Can I get pregnant if I am going through menopause?

Only when you have not had a period for one year, there is no longer any chance of pregnancy. During menopause there are often irregular periods, which means that an egg can still burst and you can still become pregnant. The advice is therefore to think carefully about contraception during menopause.


Is there a relationship between menopause and heart complaints?

The female hormone estrogen protects the inside of the blood vessels against damage caused by, for example, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. This is one of the reasons that women develop cardiovascular disease later than men. During menopause, the protective effect of estrogen disappears. This means that the risk of cardiovascular disease in women increases after menopause. Heart complaints in women are more difficult to recognize than in men.

Be alert for heart complaints in:

  • chestpain,
  • for pain in the jaw and/or shoulder(s),
  • or in case of pain high between the shoulder blades or the right arm.
  • It is also wise to contact your doctor if you experience palpitations or fainting.

There are a number of women who we advise to have their blood pressure and sugar levels measured periodically because they have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. These are women who had high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy, women with PCOS and women who entered menopause before the age of 40.


What can be done in case of menopause complaints?

the menopause, more fruit and vegetables

It seems obvious, but it has been proven that menopause complaints decrease when you take good care of yourself; eat healthy, exercise 30 minutes daily and sleep well.

Vitamins, herbs and vegetable estrogens do not reduce the symptoms associated with menopause.


Is hormone treatment recommended to reduce menopausal symptoms?

If the hot flashes are very intense during menopause, you can consider using hormones for a short period of time. This does not stop hot flashes completely, but it does reduce the numbers considerably and can improve the quality of life. It was initially thought that these hormones would increase the risk of breast cancer. This appears not to be the case with most forms of hormones when the hormones are used for less than 5 years. There is a slightly higher risk of thrombosis and having a stroke. If you have stopped taking hormones for two years, this risk is the same as before you took the hormones.

There are a number of reasons not to recommend these hormones. This is the case in women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer, in women who have previously had thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and women with cardiovascular disease. Even if you smoke, the use of hormones is not recommended. Always consult with your doctor whether you are eligible for these hormones and which hormones suit you best.


When should I contact my doctor if I think I am going through menopause?

Menopause is a natural process, and every woman will go through it. However, there are a number of reasons to contact your GP, namely:

  • If you are younger than 40 years old and suspect that you are going through menopause
  • In case of heavy vaginal bleeding. You must always be alert to anemia.
  • When the hot flashes or symptoms of menopause are so severe that they affect your daily functioning.
  • For complaints of pain during sex or other vaginal discomfort.
  • When you experience complaints of sadness, anxiety or depression.


A tip from moodies!

At moodies we are often asked what kind of pants would fit well on a woman who is going through menopause. This of course varies greatly per person, but we would like to share our favorites for menopause with you.

During menopause, your period can sometimes be quite heavy. In that case , boyshorts are the most comfortable pants. If it is very intense, we even recommend combining this with a cup or tampon.

For decreasing menstruation, light incontinence or discharge, the hipster lace , boyshort moderate-heavy or classic brief lace are real winners. Curious about the other models that are available? Be sure to take a look at our shop .

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