Menopause should be an easy, smooth transition in a woman’s life once it is recognized. For many, it brings a new capacity for work, pleasure, health, and self-esteem. These women say they feel freer and more attractive once they no longer expend energy on a monthly period.
It was discovered by a healthcare physician that ideal menopause is a reasonable goal for most women. It is important to determine your levels of testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.
Each of these hormones plays a critical role in your health during and after menopause. But it’s not enough to consider each one separately hence you also need to look at the patterns of balance or imbalance of the three in relationship to each other. The relationships between the hormones are a crucial piece of the puzzle.
Once you find out what type of hormonal imbalance you have, you can take steps to restore the balance. (As each woman’s menopause occurrence varies, you can’t generally determine your menopause type just by listening to other women’s experiences.)
Here are 12 types of Menopause:
Type 1: Ideal Menopause
If you are lucky enough to have ideal menopause, you might find it hard to understand why your friends complain about their menopausal symptoms since your menopause is almost totally free of discomfort.
Over the course of a year or so, you simply stop menstruating.
You might never experience a hot flash, vaginal dryness, or fatigue.
In general, your experience of menopause is smooth and virtually free of symptoms. And after the changes of menopause are complete, you feel absolutely fine. While few women in this group experience very mild symptoms related to subtle changes or variations in hormonal levels.
Type 2: Low Testosterone
In this type 2 menopause, your body is producing enough estrogen and progesterone to meet your needs, though your levels of both hormones might be at the low end of the “normal” range. But your body is not making enough testosterone. The result can be subtle, or quite intense. You might feel basically fine, but a little lacking in drive and confidence, or “vim and vigor,?
Mild depression and fatigue can be signs of low testosterone levels.
You may also feel some loss of libido, though probably not a complete lack of interest in sex.
It might not occur to you that these are signs of menopause and you might say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t seem to have any problems with menopause or hardly any hot flashes, but I’m a bit tired and lethargic, and I keep procrastinating about things I used to love doing.”
Type 2 menopause may include physical symptoms and risks. A testosterone deficiency can cause hot flashes, even when there are adequate levels of estrogen and progesterone.
Testosterone deficiency can increase your risk for disorders of the vulva, such as lichen sclerosis, a condition in which the labia and vulva become thin and fragile. Low testosterone can cause your muscle tone to weaken and is associated with wrinkles and sagging skin. And you are at a somewhat higher risk for osteoporosis, or chest pain due to spasms of the coronary arteries.
Type 3: High Testosterone
Type 3 menopause similar to the first two types, may be relatively easy. With adequate levels of both estrogen and progesterone, things can go fairly smoothly. But too high a level of testosterone can be a problem.
While testosterone boosts your confidence, strength, and libido.
Too much of it can leave you feeling agitated and angry.
This frustration can even lead to a kind of depression but not to be confused with Type 2 depression. Facial hair, oily skin, and acne are some of the other ways excess testosterone makes itself known.
A more serious problem is that high testosterone can increase certain major health risks.
High testosterone levels have been linked to insulin resistance, a condition that interferes with your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance can cause adult-onset diabetes and can increase your risk for heart disease as well as cancer of the breast and uterine lining.
High testosterone levels are known to reduce blood levels of good cholesterol, which is another effect that can increase your risk for heart disease. High testosterone levels have been linked to insulin resistance to the condition that interferes, with your body’s ability to regulate our blood sugar levels.
Type 4: Low Estrogen
Your body doesn’t produce enough of these estrogens. It could be that, because of stress or other factors, your adrenal glands aren’t able to increase their production of making estrogen as well as they should.
One common sign of this menopause type is hot flashes.
Actually, hot flashes can be produced by some hormonal imbalances, so they appear as a symptom in most of the few menopause types. You may be mentally less sharp than usual, with decreased verbal skills.
Many women with low estrogen levels complain that they have trouble remembering names. These problems can be frustrating.
Low estrogen can also give rise to feelings of despair or depression. Physically, a shortage of estrogen can show up as thinner skin; more wrinkles; reduction in breast size; stress incontinence (“wetting your pants” when you sneeze or cough); or excessive, irregular vaginal bleeding. Without enough estrogen to balance your testosterone level, you can develop oily skin and acne. Estrogen is also needed to keep the libido healthy, so you may also suffer from some loss of sexual desire.
Finally, you may have a harder time doing precise work with your hands, such as the dexterity required for embroidery and other fine motor tasks.
You probably also know that excess estrogen has been linked to certain cancers of the breast and uterus.
But too low a level of estrogen can also cause serious health problems. As estrogen helps regulate your bone mass, a drop in your body’s estrogen levels can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Estrogen is also protective against cardiovascular disease. Premenopausal women rarely suffer heart attacks. Further, too low a level of estrogen may promote the development of insulin resistance, which can contribute to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Type 5: Low Estrogen, Low Testosterone
Although this type of menopause has many of the physical discomforts of Type 4, its most painful effects may be emotional. Low estrogen and low testosterone each affect a woman’s mood; together, their effects can be devastating.
Many women with Type 5 menopause feel dull, listless, or depressed.
A characteristic sign is a lack of interest in things or even people who are of great importance in your life. Loved ones may be hurt or puzzled, not realizing that these emotional changes are signs of a hormonal imbalance. “It’s as if she doesn’t love me anymore” is a typical complaint of a husband whose wife has this type of menopause.
If you have Type 5 menopause, you may have trouble with your memory, or with learning new things.
The deficiency in both estrogen and testosterone leaves your libido doubly diminished, and a thinning and drying of your vaginal walls can make intercourse painful. As with Type 4, stress incontinence can be a problem.
A deficiency in both estrogen and testosterone can affect your skin and muscle tone, leading to premature sagging and wrinkles. The breast tissue can also shrink and begin to sag due to a loss of collagen.
And you run the same health risks that come with Types 2 and 4: osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance.
Type 6: Low Estrogen, High Testosterone
Women with Type 6 menopause can suffer from an awkward combination of agitation and fatigue. High testosterone levels can make you feel irritable, while low estrogen can make it hard for you to concentrate and remember names.
A woman with this menopause type may have a strong libido, but feel too irritable to enjoy sexual intimacy.
This type of menopause is also associated with sleep disturbance, a troublesome condition that can rob you of needed rest and leave you feeling even more tired and irritable by the day.
Type 6 menopause, like Type 3, involves imbalanced testosterone to estrogen ratio.
In Type 6, however, this imbalance is even more pronounced than in Type 3. In addition to oily skin and acne, it can cause a condition called “androgenic alopecia” (hair loss or even baldness).
If you have Type 6 menopause, you face the greatest risk for insulin resistance, especially if your estrogen level.
Type 7: Low Progesterone
The classic sign of Type 7 is anxiety. In the body, progesterone has a soothing effect on the nervous system. In fact, progesterone and its by-products can affect some of the same nervous system receptors that are affected by anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium and Xanax.
Sometimes, when your progesterone levels fall too low, it can be almost as if you are withdrawing from one of these medications, the primary symptom of which is unusual irritability. A gnawing feeling of anxiety is enough to make anyone lose perspective.
Progesterone deficiency has been associated with poor sleep.
This menopause type has the added burden of inadequate rest at night.
Women with this menopause type can also suffer from pain and inflammation.
This may show up as muscle aches or joint inflammation. Either way, these discomforts only worsen an already irritated nervous system. A progesterone deficiency isn’t good for your long term health, either. When progesterone levels fall too low to balance out your estrogen, your risk for uterine and breast cancer increases.
Low levels of progesterone also increase your risk for osteoporosis, since progesterone plays a role in bone formation. By lowering good cholesterol levels, low progesterone elevates your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Type 8: Low Progesterone, Low Testosterone
The symptoms of Type 8 menopause are similar to Type 7 but involve lower spirits and a greater tendency toward depression. The lack of libido, drive, and motivation that accompany low testosterone levels don’t do anything to cheer up a woman who’s already feeling anxious from a progesterone deficiency.
Unlike the low estrogen menopause types, this type doesn’t involve memory problems or fuzzy thinking.
But clear thinking isn’t much comfort when you’re anxious or achy.
A typical Type 8 complaint is, “I feel like my personality has taken a real downturn. I don’t enjoy sex as much as I used to, I don’t have the energy to do most of the things I’ve always loved doing, and my muscles ache. But I have plenty of energy for worrying. My kids are getting annoyed with me because I keep phoning to see if they’re okay. Nothing much seems to be wrong physically, but I just don’t feel like myself.”
Women with this menopause type can also have trouble getting enough restful sleep.
These menopause typefaces all the health risks associated with Type 7 and Type 2, plus episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hypoinsulinemia (or low blood insulin) if estrogen levels are too high. Low blood insulin and low blood sugar can increase feelings of fatigue and cause poor concentration.
Type 9: Low Progesterone, High Testosterone
When you combine low-progesterone anxiety with high testosterone testiness, the result isn’t fun.
If your menopause is Type 9, you may feel easily alarmed.
Your loved ones may see you as overreacting to everything. With nerves so frayed, women with this menopause type often sleep poorly.
Also, like Type 6, this menopause type can include episodes of sleep apnoea (interruption of breathing for brief periods during sleep), which can cause further sleep disturbances. Naturally, the lack of sleep doesn’t improve anyone’s mood.
Type 9 menopause may involve the highest risk for endometrial (uterus) cancer(since both low progesterone and high testosterone contribute to this risk.)
You can also suffer from abnormal uterine bleeding, which can be irregular, prolonged, and quite profuse. This abnormal bleeding may begin in perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) but can continue beyond the expected end of menses.
Type 9 also includes the health risks listed under Types 2 and 7. Also, you face an increased risk of hyperinsulinemia.
Type 10: Low Estrogen, Low Progesterone
This menopause type involves a profound lack of two important hormones in a woman’s body: estrogen and progesterone. Women with this menopause type may feel lacking in significant ways.
Physically, a Type 10 menopause can include a wide array of the symptoms described for Types 4 and 7, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, fatigue, or poor sleep.
Emotionally, you may struggle with depression, feelings of hopelessness and futility, and memory problems.
Of all the types, this one is most likely to include some trouble with stress incontinence (“wetting your pants” when you laugh or sneeze).
Oily skin and acne can also be a sign of a Type 10 imbalance since the levels of estrogen and progesterone are not adequate to control the effects of testosterone.
The health risks associated with Type 10 menopause can be serious. Low levels of estrogen and progesterone have a doubly damaging effect on bones and blood cholesterol, greatly increasing your risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.
Type 11: Low Estrogen, Low Progesterone, Low Testosterone
Menopause is difficult enough when it involves deficiencies in both estrogen and progesterone, but when your testosterone level is low as well, you can feel deeply uncomfortable.
Physically, you may be feeling hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and lack of sexual desire, fatigue, or weakness.
Even if you feel any desire to attempt sexual intercourse, the thinning and drying of the vaginal walls can make it too painful.
Urinary incontinence can become quite a problem; you may find it hard to hold your urine even for a very short time.
Mentally and emotionally, you may struggle with anxiety, depression, dullness, memory problems, and a feeling of apathy.
You may feel easily tired, even while your other symptoms are making you work harder to get things done. You may have trouble sleeping. In general, you can suffer from a number of the symptoms described under Types 2, 4, and 7.
As with Type 10, this menopause type brings especially high health risks. Women with Type 11 menopause are also at risk of becoming insulin resistant and developing hyperinsulinemia. The risk for osteoporosis is especially high with this menopause type since all three of these hormones play a role in protecting bones.
If you have this type of menopause, you have probably depended on support from your family and friends, this really is about as tough as it gets! But remember that some natural and medical treatments can help.
Type 12: Low Estrogen, Low Progesterone, High Testosterone
Like Types 10 and 11, this menopause type can bring a profoundly disturbing sense of being out of balance. With a high testosterone level, you may tend to feel more agitated or frustrated.
The combination of high testosterone with deficiencies in both female sex hormones can also lead to “masculine” effects, such as facial hair, shrinking breasts, and deepening of the voice.
All of the symptoms discussed under Types 3, 4, and 7 can come into play here.
Women with this type of menopause almost always have insulin resistance, which if untreated, can increase the risk for endometrial cancer, breast cancer, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, and heart disease.
Type 12 menopause also involves a high risk for heart disease, but the high testosterone levels can reduce the risk for osteoporosis that comes with a dual deficiency in estrogen and progesterone.