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Stats & Symptoms of Menopause

Picture of Orla Walsh, RD
Orla Walsh, RD
Orla Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Physiologist. Orla is the founder of Orla Walsh Nutrition, she is the former performance nutritionist to the Irish Olympic team and is regular contributor for the Irish Independent newspaper, RTE and Newstalk FM.

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Menopause is different for everyone. Some sail through it. Others have their life turned upside down. No 2 women have the same experience.

Here are some stats.

  • 8 in 10 women experience symptoms
  • The severity and duration differs for everyone
  • Symptoms can appear 7 years before menopause
  • The average age for menopause is 51y. However, typically it occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 years.
  • For 1 in 100 women it occurs before th age of 40y.
  • Menopause is when your periods have stopped for 12 years.
  • Symptoms tend to continue for a further 4 years after periods stop. However, around 1 in every 10 women experience symptoms for up to 12 years.
  • I know what you’re thinking, 7 years before menopause and 4-12 years after. It’s looooooonnnnnnngggggg.

What the the symptoms of menopause?

The reduction of hormones in the lead up to menopause impact every part of the body. As the hormones can fluctuate widely in the perimenopausal period, symptoms can be erratic and change dramatically. Once the hormones drop and stay lower, symptoms tend to be more stable and predictable.

Hot flushesJointsrUTIsLow moodAches & pains
Night sweatsSleepLibidoDrynessAnxiety
HeadachesMigrainePalpitationsMemoryBrain fog
Gut issuesBonesMusclesWeightDisease risk

How can diet help?

With dietary changes, the team at OWN will focus on a few key areas. Firstly, the change in nutrient demands. Secondly, using nutrition to help manage symptoms. Thirdly, protecting the body moving forward.

For example

  1. Bone health: Women can lose as much as 20% of their bone density 5 to 7 years after menopause. Osteoporosis is very common among women with 1 in 2 women over 50 developing a fracture due to osteoporosis in their lifetime. This can lead to meaningful deteriorations in quality of life.
  2. Preserve your strength: Muscle mass declines by about 1% per year after the age of 40 years. Severe muscle loss occurs in 5 to 13% of 60 to 70 year olds and 11 to 50% of those aged 80 years and older.
  3. Protect against heart disease: Heart disease and stroke are the number 1 killer of women in Ireland killing an average of one woman every 2 hours. The best weapons against heart disease are diet and other lifestyle choices.
  4. Help protect against breast cancer: Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in Ireland, skin cancer being the most common. Breast cancer is most common in women from 50 years onwards but it can be diagnosed at a younger age. 1 in 7 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk.

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