Every woman who reaches middle age will experience menopause, the end of menstruation and fertility. At this stage in your life, your ovaries stop producing eggs and your body gradually produces less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Although each woman will experience a unique combination of symptoms, some hallmarks of “The Change” include: irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, sleep disturbances like insomnia and night sweats, mood swings, and feelings of loss.

You may not be ready for menopause when it begins, but ignoring the symptoms won’t postpone this stage until you’re ready to deal with it. It will likely only make the process more uncomfortable. Addressing your symptoms will make for a smoother transition into this time in your life. Most symptoms—even the dreaded thinning of hair and increase of abdominal fat—can be treated and controlled to some extent.