5 Menopause Misconceptions That Are Entirely Untrue

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Will & Grace via NBC

Hot flashes different from woman to woman.

Most Common Menopause Misconceptions

Ah, menopause.

It's something every woman experiences, yet very few know too much about.

We're constantly being bombarded by false information spread on the internet or from our closest female confidants.

We've taken it upon ourselves to put these rumors to rest and debunk the five most common myths surrounding menopause to put your mind at ease, whether you're currently going through it or about to start the process.

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What Is Menopause?

To begin, we should note what menopause is—or rather, the three stages of menopause women should know about.

Perimenopause

As you might've guessed, perimenopause is the stage before menopause. According to WebMD, "It's the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman's 40s, but can start in her 30s or even earlier.

Menopause

Menopause is the stage of the process women know the most about. The Mayo Clinic defines it as "the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It's diagnosed after you've gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States."

Postmenopause

After menopause, women will go through postmenopause. The Cleveland Clinic notes, "During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, can ease for many women. But, as a result of a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Medication, such as hormone therapy and/or healthy lifestyle changes, may reduce the risk of some of these conditions. Since every woman's risk is different, talk to your doctor to learn what steps you can take to reduce your individual risk."

5 Biggest Misconceptions About Menopause

Now that we've established the different stages of menopause, let's discuss what you all came here to learn more about—the biggest menopause misconceptions you need to stop believing.

1. Hot Flashes Are the Same for Every Woman

Yes, most women experience hot flashes as a symptom of menopause, but they're not the same from woman to woman. While some women experience pretty severe hot flashes, others don't really experience them at all. According to a study done by the University of Pennsylvania, 80 percent of women reported moderate to severe hot flashes, 17 percent noted having mild ones, and three percent didn't experience any. Clearly, a majority of women deal with intense hot flashes, but there are a few who don't.

2. Menopause Only Lasts a Year

It's been assumed that menopause only lasts a year for quite some time now, but that's indeed false. On average, women will experience menopause symptoms for roughly four years. Others may experience symptoms for longer than 10 years. It all depends on the woman's biological makeup, so don't expect to go through menopause as quickly as possible.

3. You'll Gain a Ton of Weight During Menopause

Ah, the age-old fear of gaining weight as you grow older. Yes, your metabolism is going to slow down; no, that does not mean you'll pack on the pounds. In a five-year prospective study, it was found that "weight gain was not related to change in menopausal status nor to any lifestyle factors measure." No need to worry about gaining weight too much, but that doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want and expect to not deal with the consequences. Because as you age, taking weight off gets increasingly more difficult.

4. Menopause Will Decrease Your Sex Drive

Libido many dip during menopause, but menopause is not the culprit for a decrease in your sex drive. One main cause is the fact that there's a decrease in vaginal lubrication, which can make sexual acts rather uncomfortable. Using lubricant is a quick fix for this problem, so be sure to find one that works for both you and your partner.

5. Women Shouldn't Resort to Hormone Replacement Therapy During Menopause

There are a variety of fears and worries surrounding hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Many woman are unsure of partaking in HRT, which forces them to not consult their doctors or try at-home remedies that simply don't do the trick. When it comes to HRT, our advice is to always, always, always consult your trusted physician. They will know what's best for you and advise you on how to carry on with HRT.

Keep the Conversation Going

Are there any misconceptions about menopause we left off? Have any other questions? Tweet us @womendotcom or message us on Facebook.

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