reviewed 7/26/2018

Menopause: Myth or fact?

Menopause—or a woman's final menstrual cycle—usually happens around age 50. Like any big life change, it can be confusing. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the myths and facts of menopause.

Myth or fact: Menopause affects only physical health.

Myth. Around menopause, women may have bone loss, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and irregular menstrual cycles, but they may also experience mood swings, memory problems and trouble sleeping.

Myth or fact: After menopause, women do not need to practice safe sex, because there's no risk of getting pregnant.

Myth. It is true that a woman cannot get pregnant after menopause. But that has no effect on the risk for sexually transmitted infections. So safe sex is still a good idea.

Myth or fact: Weight gain during menopause is inevitable.

Myth. A balanced diet combined with physical activity can keep you at a healthy weight. It also might help with some of the symptoms of menopause, like sleep trouble, mood swings and bone loss. And it can help keep your heart healthy.

Myth or fact: During menopause, a woman's sex drive will decrease.

Myth. It might, but menopause affects every woman differently. Some women feel less interested in sex, while others feel more comfortable with their sexuality. If sex has become uncomfortable due to vaginal dryness—a common symptom of menopause—consider an over-the-counter vaginal lubricant or moisturizer.

Myth or fact: Hormone therapy can help treat the symptoms of menopause.

Fact. Menopausal hormone therapy involves taking supplements of estrogen and progesterone. It can work to relieve symptoms as well as prevent bone loss, but it has some risks, so talk to a doctor. And be cautious of herbal menopause remedies: They're not regulated, and some plants or herbs can be harmful when combined with certain medications.

Myth or fact: Getting a hysterectomy will always cause menopause.

Myth. This depends on what kind of procedure you get. If your uterus is removed, you will not get periods but your ovaries will still produce hormones. So you might not have any other signs of menopause. If both ovaries are removed, then menopause will start right away. If you have this surgery, talk to your doctor about ways to manage your symptoms.

Menopause affects every woman differently and is a natural stage of life. But you can choose to treat bothersome symptoms.

Get tips on handling the symptoms

Sources: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; North American Menopause Society; Office on Women's Health

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