Post-Menopausal vs. Menopausal
What is the difference between being Menopausal and Post-Menopausal, or is there a difference?
I like to think of post-menopause as a time when a woman can stop and recognize that she's survived the perimenopausal chaos. Once women hit post-menopause they sometimes experience something called "post menopausal zest" - which is a wave of relief knowing that one has made it past the uncomfortable, unpredictable perimenopausal years. The years full of hot flashes, sleeplessness, fatigue, memory loss, headaches, etc.
Actually a woman in post-menopause can forget about much of the stresses of her younger years - no more PMS, cramps or bleeding; and no more trying to get pregnant or fearing that you might be pregnant. In fact, it's not uncommon for a woman in post-menopause to feel FREE for the first time in, well - forever.
However, medical professionals deem the post-menopausal stage underway when a woman has completed both perimenopause (the stage leading up to menopause) and menopause (the exact point when a woman hasn't experienced a period in a full 12-month period). The stage immediately following her 12-month duration with no period – for example at 12-months and 1-day she is in post-menopause.
Doctors determine if a woman is in post-menopause by measuring her follicle stimulating hormone (or FSH) levels. A high FSH hormonal level means that the pituitary gland (located in the brain) is making up for the fact that the ovaries are no longer producing eggs (or ovum).
Another indication of post-menopause is when the responsibility of estrogen production shifts from the ovaries to the fat cells. After the ovaries stop producing estrogen a small amount will continue production from the adrenal glands (located above the kidneys). The ovaries will also shrink, but they won't entirely vanish. Instead they'll continue to produce the hormone testosterone.
Even though post-menopause sounds like heaven to those now experiencing perimenopause, a woman must still come prepared. A healthful diet, regular exercise and no smoking is a good basis for a healthy and wise post-menopausal stage.
To build a good foundation for your post-menopausal years, eat a balanced diet with calcium-rich foods or supplements, exercise regularly and avoid drinking in excess and smoking. Exercise and consuming calcium will ensure a post-menopausal woman's bone mass is strong when she needs it most. It's never too late to put your health first. Trust me; it will make menopause a whole lot easier.