8 Myths About Menopause

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Susan Fishman, NCC, CRC on November 8, 2020
  • 'Confident woman in her late 50's, early 60's'
    The Truth About “The Change”
    We’ve all heard the talk (and the jokes) about “the change” in life, but the truth is, menopause means something different for everyone. Here are a few of the menopause myths going around, along with what info you can actually count on.
  • Female doctor talking with patient
    Myth #1: When menopause starts, so do the symptoms.
    Actually, for most women, symptoms begin during perimenopause and typically end about a year after menopause starts (when your periods stop altogether). Perimenopause is the transitional time before menopause (peri- means “around” or “near”) when changing levels of estrogen and progesterone might lead to symptoms. This phase can last anywhere from one to several years.
  • Person Marking On Calendar
    Myth #2: Your periods will just stop.
    Contrary to popular belief, menopause doesn’t mean you wake up one day and your periods are just gone for good, never to return. Typically, a woman will begin to have periods that are different than usual: lighter, heavier, shorter or longer. Some women will begin skipping periods altogether. Only about 10% of women stop menstruating completely without seeing some sort of previous irregularity in their periods.
  • Sick mature woman
    Myth #3: You only have to deal with hot flashes.
    In addition to hot flashes, other common menopause symptoms include night sweats, difficulty sleeping, headaches, bloating, erratic periods, and fading libido. You may have periods of feeling forgetful, “fuzzy,” or like you’re “going crazy.” Some women also experience signs of depression and anxiety. Remember these are all valid feelings, and you should talk to your doctor if any of these symptoms begin affecting your everyday life.
  • woman-outside-on-swingset
    Myth #4: It will do a number on your sex drive.
    Though some women do report a decrease in sexual desire and changes in arousal during menopause (and treating symptoms can help), research has shown that healthy, nonsmoking menopausal women with partners have experienced no change in sexual satisfaction, frequency of intercourse, or trouble reaching orgasm. Relationship satisfaction, attitudes toward sex and aging, vaginal dryness, and cultural background all have a much greater impact on your sex life than menopause.
  • Happy senior women smiling outdoors
    Myth # 5: It must be treated.
    Menopause is a completely normal process, not a disease that needs to be treated. Treatments focus on relieving signs and symptoms and managing chronic conditions that often come with aging and can sometimes make symptoms worse. Some women don’t need any treatment at all during this phase of life.
  • Pregnancy test
    Myth #6: You can’t get pregnant during menopause.
    Yes, you can get pregnant in the process of menopause or during perimenopause when your cycle may become irregular, often with no set pattern of time between periods. After one full year without a period, when you are considered “through menopause,” you can no longer become pregnant. But remember, you could still be at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or even HIV/AIDS.
  • Hormone replacement therapy pills
    Myth #7: The risks of taking hormones outweigh the benefits.
    Over the years, research has led to a variety of positive, negative and sometimes conflicting reports about hormone therapy to treat menopause. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests using the lowest dose of hormones that works for the shortest time it’s needed in order to prevent risks, such as an increased chance of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. However, for many, the benefits received far outweigh the reported risks. It’s a highly personal decision you should make after talking with your doctor.
  • Doctor and patient talking in office
    Myth #8: You just have to suffer through the symptoms.
    The truth is, there are many avenues to reducing symptoms and feeling better during menopause, and they are as varied as the women who experience them. From dietary changes and herbal supplements to yoga and meditation to hormone replacement therapy, you can get back to “feeling like yourself” again--sometimes to an even better state than before. The trick is finding what works for you, often through a good deal of trial and error. Talk to your doctor about your options, and don’t give up.
8 Myths About Menopause

About The Author

Susan Fishman, NCC, CRC is a veteran freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience in health education, and a knack for turning complex medical jargon into something the average reader can understand. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post and HuffPost, and on numerous other national health, wellness and parenting sites. She is also a National Certified Counselor and Clinical Rehabilitation Counselor, adding mental health and wellness to her area of expertise.
  1. Menopause. National Institute on Aging. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause
  2. Hormones and Menopause. National Institute on Aging. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hormones-and-menopause
  3. Menopause. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/basics/symptoms/con-20019726
  4. Northrup C. The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change. New York, NY: Bantam Dell; RG186.N67 2006.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 8
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.