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Difference Between Menopause and Pregnancy

Menopause is the condition that starts 12 months after a woman experiences her last menstrual period. Pregnancy is the condition that starts when a woman is carrying an embryo or fetus.


What is Menopause?

Definition of Menopause:

Menopause is a condition which o    ccurs about 12 months after a woman has her last menstrual period, and is a normal part of aging.

Menopausal Symptoms and signs:

Many of the signs and symptoms of menopause are due to fluctuations in hormone levels. During menopause, levels of estrogen decrease as the function of the ovaries declines. Women experience certain physical menopausal signs such as hot flushes and night sweats. They often complain of having very disrupted sleep and also experience atrophy of the outer vaginal area. Further symptoms include having frequent urinary tract infections and difficult urination. Women may also feel irritable and have a hard time concentrating.

Diagnosis and causes:

A physical exam and measurement of hormone levels can be used to indicate that a woman is in menopause. A vaginal exam may provide further support for the diagnosis. Menopause is a normal occurrence which occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 50. It is caused by the ovaries reducing their activity and is a natural part of aging in women. A woman who has had a hysterectomy will enter menopause if the ovaries are also removed.


Various changes to lifestyle can be helpful in dealing with menopausal symptoms. For instance, making the environment cooler and dressing in layers of clothing so that it is easy to cool down by removing clothing. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be helpful; this involves a doctor prescribing progesterone and estrogen for women to take. Over the counter vaginal lubricants can be helpful in dealing with any dryness of the vagina.


What is Pregnancy?

Definition for Pregnancy :

Pregnancy is a condition in which a woman is carrying an embryo or fetus within the uterus and occurs after a fertilized egg has become implanted in the uterine wall.

Pregnancy Symptoms and signs:

Minor vaginal bleeding is a symptom of possible pregnancy along with a missed menstrual period. The breasts may also feel tender and swollen, and the woman may feel more tired than normal. Needing to urinate often and also feeling nauseated are also symptoms that can mean a woman is pregnant.  Cravings for strange foods and irritability and other mood swings can also be a sign of pregnancy.

Diagnosis and causes:

Pregnancy can be diagnosed in a woman by testing to see if human chorionic gonadotropin is present. This is a hormone that is released by the placenta. The test can be done on either urine or on blood. Home tests can be purchased and done by a woman at home, but they may not always be accurate. It is therefore strongly suggested that a follow up is done with a doctor and that a blood test for the hormone is done. The blood test can also indicate the levels of the hormone which may be useful for the doctor in assessing the state of the pregnancy so far.


You need to ensure that you make and keep regular appointments with your obstetrician to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing normally. You will also need to make sure to eat healthily and exercise, and to be aware of any potential complications that can occur in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. It is also important that a woman checks with her doctor about what medications can safely be taken while pregnant. This includes over the counter medications. 


Difference between Menopause and Pregnancy

  1. Definition

Menopause is the condition that usually occurs about one year after the last menstrual period. Pregnancy is the condition that occurs when a fertilized egg has been implanted in the uterus.

  1. Prevalence

Menopause occurs in all women when they get older or in women who have had a hysterectomy with ovaries removed. Pregnancy only occurs in some women.

  1. Age

The condition of menopause commonly starts between the ages of 45 and 50. The condition of pregnancy can occur in any women from the age of puberty until egg production ceases.

  1. Hormones

The hormones estrogen and progesterone decrease in menopausal women. The hormones progesterone and estrogen increase in pregnant women.

  1. Uterus

The uterus of a woman in menopause becomes smaller in size. The uterus of a pregnant woman becomes bigger in size.

  1. Symptoms

The symptoms of menopause include hot flushes, night sweats, interrupted sleep, urinary problems and infections, dry vagina and vaginal atrophy, irritability and poor concentration. The symptoms of pregnancy include swollen and tender breasts, urinary urgency, missed period, mood swings, strange food cravings, nausea, and fatigue.

  1. Duration

Menopause usually lasts from 7 to 10 years. Pregnancy lasts 9 months.

  1. Causes

Menopause is caused by the ovaries reducing their function. Pregnancy is caused by a fertilized egg that has implanted and started to develop into an embryo or fetus.

  1. Treatment

Menopause can be treated with hormone replacement therapy, and women can dress in layers to easily adjust their body temperature. Pregnancy requires that women follow a healthy diet and exercise and keep obstetrics appointments.

Table comparing Menopause and Pregnancy


Summary of Menopause Vs. Pregnancy

  • Menopause and pregnancy both involve drastic fluctuations in hormones.
  • Pregnancy occurs in a woman once an egg that has been fertilized implants in the uterus and develops further.
  • Menopause commonly occurs in women after about age 45 and involves changes associated with ovarian function decline.
  • Women who are pregnant need to keep regular checkups with their obstetrician and be careful about taking medication which could interfere with the developing fetus.
  • Hormone replacement therapy can be used to treat the symptoms of menopause.


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1 Comment

  1. A very confusing experience one could ever have.

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References :

[0]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/pregnant-woman-mother-pregnancy-boy-2521089/

[1]Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Symptoms_of_menopause_(vector).svg

[2]Pinkerton, JoAnn V. “Menopause”.  Merckmanuals. Merck & Co., 2018, https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/menopause/menopause

[3]Wend, Korinna, Peter Wend, and Susan A. Krum. "Tissue-specific effects of loss of estrogen during menopause and aging." Frontiers in endocrinology 3 (2012): 19.

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