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Your guide to menopause

guide to menopause
From Pre to Post and everything in between, learn it all here!


At KeyForHer, we want to debunk myths and give clear, trustworthy information that brings women together. Your guide to menopause aims at helping you understand everything you need to know regarding menopause.

Your Menopause Guide 

Here, we look at the four periods of hormonal changes during a woman’s life:

● premenopause

● perimenopause

● menopause

● postmenopause

1. Premenopause

Premenopause is the term for a woman’s reproductive life while fertile. It begins at puberty, starting with the first menstrual period and ending last.

This phase typically lasts for anything from 30-40 years.

2. Perimenopause

Perimenopause means “around menopause.” During this time, estrogen levels become erratic, and progesterone levels decline.

A woman may start perimenopause anytime between her mid-30s and early 50s, but this transition typically occurs in her 40s and lasts four to 11 years.

Symptoms of perimenopause can include:

  • Hot flashes, Night sweats and heat intolerance
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Menstrual cycle and period changes
  • Tingling extremities eg fingers or toes
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes, such as irritability
  • Depression or low mood
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain especially around the middle
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Hair thinning
  • More intense PMS than in previous years
  • Drier eyes/skin
  • Itchy skin/ears
  • Low libido
  • Sugar cravings
  • Vaginal dryness/itchiness
  • More prone to UTIs
  • Joint pain
  • Frozen shoulder

3. Menopause

Menopause officially occurs once a woman hasn’t had a menstrual period for 12 months. The average age of menopause is 51 years.

Up until then, she’s considered perimenopausal.

Many women experience their worst symptoms during perimenopause, but others find that their symptoms intensify in the first year or two after menopause.

4. Postmenopause

Postmenopause begins immediately after a woman has gone 12 months without a period. The terms menopause and postmenopause are often used interchangeably.

However, some hormonal and physical changes may continue to occur after menopause.

A woman goes through hormonal changes throughout her life that may produce symptoms, including changes in body weight. How changes in hormones affect metabolism:

During perimenopause, progesterone levels decline slowly and steadily, while estrogen levels fluctuate significantly from day to day and even within the same day.

In the early part of perimenopause, the ovaries often produce high amounts of estrogen due to impaired signals between the ovaries, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland.

Later in perimenopause, when menstrual cycles become more irregular, the ovaries produce very little estrogen. They produce even less during menopause.

Some studies suggest that high estrogen levels may promote fat gain. This is because high estrogen levels are associated with weight gain and higher body fat during the reproductive years.

From puberty until perimenopause, women store fat in their hips and thighs as subcutaneous fat. Although it can be hard to lose, this type of fat doesn’t increase your risk of certain diseases.

However, during menopause, low estrogen levels promote fat storage in the belly area as visceral fat, linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

Weight changes during perimenopause

It’s estimated that women gain about 1-2kgs during the perimenopausal transition; however, some women gain more weight. This appears to be particularly true for women who are already overweight or obese.

Weight gain may also occur as part of ageing, regardless of hormone changes. It’s a time when women can gain belly fat and lose muscle mass.

Another factor leading to weight gain in perimenopause may be feeling more hungry because of hormonal changes. The low estrogen levels in the late stages of menopause may also impair the function of leptin and neuropeptide Y, hormones that control fullness and appetite.

Therefore, women in the late stages of perimenopause with low oestrogen levels may have more calories.

Weight changes after menopause

Hormonal changes and weight gain may continue as women leave perimenopause and enter menopause. But other factors may also contribute to weight gain after menopause.

Postmenopausal women are generally less active than when they were younger, reducing energy expenditure and losing muscle mass.

Menopausal women also frequently have higher fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance, driving weight gain and increased heart disease risk.

How to prevent weight gain around menopause

Here are a few things you can do to prevent weight gain around menopause:

  • Reduce added sugar: Cut back on added sugar to help reduce the increase in belly fat
  • More fibre: Eat a high-fibre diet
  • Working out: Do strength training to build and maintain lean muscle
  • Rest and relax: Try to relax before bed and get enough sleep

Weight gain is common during menopause but there are steps you can take to handle it. The ingredients in our Key Peri & Menopause supplement are designed around your life stage and symptoms by expert nutritionists to give you more of what your body needs during this transition.

For 10% off your first order of any Key product including Key Menstrual Cycle, Key Peri + Menopause and Key Collagen, use discount code KEY10 

Want to know more on menopause health? Check out our article on menopause and the workplace.

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