Menopause Myths and Misconceptions

Menopause Myths and Misconceptions

Menopause is an often-misunderstood condition, including why and when it occurs, how it’s managed, and its symptoms. Many women who experience menopause can go for weeks or months unaware that they’re living with the condition. Others are unaware that, beyond their initial symptoms, menopause can be linked to other serious long-term health issues.

This lack of understanding can seriously impact health and quality of life. Learn more about the common myths and misconceptions surrounding menopause and how you can leverage accurate information to better manage your symptoms both independently and with the help of your physician.

Myth #1: Menopause Only Affects “Older” Women 

While, on average, women begin experiencing menopause symptoms in their early 50s, symptoms can actually start as early as in the 30s. Menopause that occurs before the age of 40 is called “premature menopause” and menopause that occurs between the ages of 41-45 is called “early menopause”.

Conversely, women may not start experiencing symptoms until their mid-to-late 60s. The bottom line is that, from the age of 30 on, the possibility of menopause should never be entirely ruled out. If you’re experiencing what you believe to be menopause symptoms, discuss them with your physician, even if you think you’re “too young”.

Myth #2: Pregnancy Is Impossible after Menopause 

You are not fully considered in menopause until you’ve gone 12 consecutive months without having your period; this means that your hormone levels have changed to the point at which your ovaries won’t release any more eggs, and natural pregnancy is impossible. However, you can still get pregnant using in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with a donor egg.

“Perimenopause” is the time leading up to this biological change. During perimenopause, you can experience menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, fatigue, fluctuations in mood, and others; but it’s also possible that your periods will start up again, even though your body is producing less estrogen and progesterone. Perimenopause can last for several years, during which you can still get pregnant.

Be sure to discuss all risks of later-age pregnancy with your doctor.

Myth #3: There’s No Relief from Menopause Symptoms 

There comes a point in your menopause journey where the only thing you actually can do is manage your symptoms. While there is no current way to reverse menopause, you can provide effective relief for your acute symptoms through clinical therapies like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or everyday holistic methods to improve physical and mental health. Work with your doctor to identify your symptoms and ways to relieve them.

Myth #4: Weight Gain Is Inevitable with Menopause 

While controlling your weight can be more challenging as you get older and changes in hormone levels, menopause does not necessarily mean weight gain. Proper diet, exercise, adequate sleep, and other measures can help fend off rises in weight during the process.

Myth #5: Menopause Will Make Me Forget Everything

This is another example of menopause occurring alongside other natural aging processes, including those that occur in the brain. Like every other part of the body, the brain ages and can decline in function without proper maintenance and care. While menopause may be linked peripherally to memory issues, there’s no such thing as “menopause brain,” and there are measures you can take to maintain and improve memory. These may include supplements, congestive exercises, and others.

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Myth #6: Menopause Will Automatically Make You Angry and Irritable

Menopause indeed causes hormonal changes that can affect behavior and mood, and when you combine this with the potential disruption to sleep caused by hot flashes and night sweats, it’s easy to see how irritability can increase. However, it’s not inevitable that you will be angry, irritable, or sad. Work with your doctor to address factors that can cause stress and subsequent anger and sadness.

Myth #7: Hormone Therapy Is Essential

While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is among the most common ways to manage menopause symptoms, there are also many lifestyle techniques and holistic practices you can try, such as massage, meditation, acupuncture, exercise, and proper nutrition. The reality is that your doctor may advise against hormone replacement therapy due to the potential risks involved. Be sure to weigh all of the risks and benefits with your physician before deciding on any treatment.

Overcoming the Myths and Getting to the Facts

The truth is that everyone’s menopause journey is different, including when they get it and how it affects them. The best way to stay empowered in the management of your menopause symptoms is by identifying them early, recognizing they CAN happen to you (even if you weren’t expecting them just yet), and working with your doctor and independently to do your research and come up with a plan that works for your care needs and lifestyle.

*Pevzner, Holly (2020, July 7) Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Menopause

*Healthline Staff (2017, November 20) Menopause and Anger: What’s the Connection and What Can I Do?,

*Healthline Staff (2017, March 4) Can You Get Pregnant After Menopause?,