How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Perimenopause Complications
Irregular periods are the most common symptom of perimenopause. But its important to know when to talk to your healthcare provider about your periods. Sometimes, irregular bleeding can point to an underlying problem.
You can lower your risk of complications by seeking treatment when necessary. Talk to your healthcare provider if you:
- Bleed for more than seven days in a row.
- Bleed between periods.
- Change pads or tampons every one to two hours.
- Have periods more frequently than every 21 days.
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For people who cannot take estrogen therapy, or choose not to, Stuenkel says some drugs in the antidepressant family, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, can help with hot flashes. Stuenkel says, “While they’re not perfect, they can take the edge off and help enough so that women can get a better night’s sleep.”
There are an abundance of nonhormonal, nondrug treatment options for managing symptoms, some of which have significantly more evidence backing them than others. In 2015, a North American Menopause Society panel found that cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis were significantly effective in treating hot flashes. The same panel also found that popular herbal remedies are “unlikely to help,” although some NPR listeners who wrote in said they got relief from some of those treatments.
For depressive and anxiety symptoms, women may want to seek out professional counseling or a psychiatrist.
When do I need to see a doctor?
You might not need to at all. Some people sail right through menopause with little trouble. But if you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your life, it’s worth making an appointment. Some of these symptoms could indicate other problems that need treatment, such as fibroids or even cancer.
Ways to cope with symptoms
For people approaching this stage of life or who are already going through it, here are four steps for making this transition more manageable.
1. Get educated
2. Monitor your health
3. Practice smart self-care
4. Cultivate community
How Will I Know If I Am Starting The Transition To Menopause
Sometimes it can be hard for you and your doctor to tell whether you are in perimenopause, the transition to menopause:
- Symptoms: Tell your doctor or nurse about any menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes or trouble sleeping.
- Irregular periods: Track your periods. Irregular periods may be your first sign of menopause.
- Hormone levels: Your doctor may test the amount of hormones in your blood if your periods stopped at an early age . Doctors dont usually recommend this test unless there is a medical reason to do so. This is because, for most women, hormone levels go up and down in an unpredictable way during the transition to menopause. So it is difficult to tell for sure whether you have gone through menopause or are getting close to it based on this blood test.
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Cycle Changes Predict Transition To Menopause
Findings Could Lead to Earlier Diagnosis
Researchers found that even slight changes in bleeding patterns were often associated with major changes in fertility-related hormone levels. The observation could help women and their physicians identify the transition to menopause earlier than ever, they say.
“I think it is fair to say that this very early stage of transition has not gotten much attention and has been difficult to characterize,” says study co-author Ellen W. Freeman, PhD, of the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
“This study suggests that these hormonal changes can be detected and measured earlier than has generally been assumed. And changes in cycle length can predict these hormonal changes.”
Age Is Poor Predictor
A woman is said to have reached menopause when she has not had a period for a year. The average age when this occurs is 51. But because some women reach menopause in their early 40s and others in their late 50s, age is a poor predictor of menopausal status.
The period of transition to menopause, when women often experience hot flashes and other hormonally driven symptoms, is widely accepted to last around four years. But the new study shows that hormonal changes may often occur much earlier than this, Freeman says.
“This is important for women to know if they are having hot flashes or other symptoms,” she tells WebMD. “Physicians may not associate these symptoms with the transition to menopause in younger women.”
The study involved 427 women between the ages of 35 and 47 who were followed for five years. Researchers checked fertility-related hormone levels periodically, and the women also provided detailed information about the timing of their monthly cycles.
Writing in the March/April issue of the journal Menopause, researcher Clarisa Gracia, MD, and colleagues found that even small changes in cycle length were associated with changes in two important fertility hormones — FSH and inhibin B.
As the transition progresses, cycle length tends to get longer and periods are missed.
Some women have heavier periods early in the transition to menopause and others have lighter-than-normal flows.
Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society
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Some Menstrual Symptoms Are Wrongly Attributed To Perimenopause
You also want to get checked by a physician if your periods become heavier during perimenopause rather than getting lighter periods as is most common, Santoro says. Medical conditions including endometriosis or cancer are sometimes confused with perimenopause in midlife women because they can alter your menstrual cycle.
Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause At The Age Of :
Some women may experience menopause at an early stage at the age of 43, which can lead her towards tiredness, weakness, body ache, etc. below is the list of signs and symptoms which can occur due to menopause at the age of 43:
- Abdominal bloating
- Pain in muscles and joints
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause in detail:
Below is the list of signs and symptoms of menopause:
1. Hot Flushes: Hot flushes are the most commonly encountered factor women ask for treatment. They are sudden sensations of heat that usually rise from your body chest to your face and neck. They could last a period ranging from a few seconds to several minutes and usually stimulate a sweating at times they can be followed by a chill.
Hot flushes generally happen at night and disturb your sleep. Some women experience them many times a day they usually might go on for up to 5 years or even more. They generally start developing before your periods stops and continue for a year or 2 later.
Some women think that hot weather conditions, constrained spaces, hot drinks, hot and spicy foods, tension, caffeine, smoking or alcoholic beverages make hot flushes worse, while staying away from this stuff can help.
Other things that may help include things like:
- wearing layers of such clothes which can be easily removed or put back on
- using hand-held fan
- keeping your face wet by using water spray
- learn to meditate
- using relaxation techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy .
- low calcium intake
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Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
Hot flashes are sudden intense feelings of warmth in various areas of your body, usually leaving you feeling chilled and off-balance afterward. They usually cause unexplainable, excessive sweating as well, sometimes causing you to wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.
Not only can this be embarrassing to experience in the presence of other people, but it can also cause issues getting a good nights sleep. Hot flashes are difficult to predict or prevent and can get in the way of everyday living.
Carolyns Periods Had Always Been Irregular So She Didnt Really Notice The Menopause Had Started
My periods had always been fairly irregular certainly as I got older, and so I didnt really think, I never really knew if I was going to have one or not it just happened, when they came they came. So the fact I hadnt been having any didnt really register either until eventually I began to think well it must be getting on for about a year which I know is the time that they say. And I was having some blood tests done for something else so they threw in the a hormone check as well and I was decreed that I was through it and I have to say I dont think Id had any adverse effects at all.
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Lifestyle Factors To Support You During The Menopause
There are a number of easy self-help tips that you can try at home to help keep the symptoms of menopause under control:
- Diet During the menopause even very small changes in lifestyle factors can make a big difference for better or for worse! Try to reduce refined carbohydrates and sugary sweet treats as you can risk throwing your hormones off further, exacerbating cravings and encouraging weight gain. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, opt for whole grain sources of carbohydrates, up your intake of omega-3 with lots of oily fish and include a source of protein in every meal
- Think about drinks Its not just what you eat, but also what you drink that matters. Ensure you drink at least 1.5 litres of plain, still water a day to keep you hydrated and your bowels moving regularly. Also, try to avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and caffeine as much as possible as these can put a strain on the endocrine system and make you feel anxious or jittery
- Stress Stress can be exacerbated during the menopause so its important to not let it get on top of you. Practice breathing exercises, or try taking part in a yoga class after work, above all else make sure you take time out to do things you enjoy and take your mind off the stresses of modern life
- Exercise – Regular moderate exercise can help with many of the symptoms of menopause. It can help support your mood, sleep, body weight and often helps to keep pesky food cravings under control too!
When Does Menopause Occur
Menopause occurs between 45 and 55 years of age for almost all women, with an average age of 51. Menopause that happens between the ages of 40 and 45 is known as early menopause and the menopause that happens before the age of 40 is called premature menopause.
Around 1 % of Australian women possess spontaneous premature menopause. Premature menopause may also take place if your ovaries are removed surgically, or in case you have certain kinds of chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer problems that can harm your ovaries. At times when dealing with these cases menopause occurs suddenly instead of slowly and steadily which can be upsetting for those who have not prepared themselves.Criteria associated with early and premature menopause include: being a smoker
- Family history
- Metabolic disorders
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What Happens After Menopause
After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.
You may experience any of the following after menopause:
- Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop certain health risks, including osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke.
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from period problems or menopause symptoms. However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.6,7
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about treatments for vaginal dryness.
Youre Suffering From Premature Ovarian Failure
Premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency occurs when women have loss of normal ovarian function prior to 40 years old, explains Dr. Richardson. If your ovaries arent working correctly, they wont produce the right amounts of estrogen or release eggs when theyre supposed to, which could lead to shortened and irregular cycles, she says.
Premature ovary failure typically shows up around age 27, but occurs in one in 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 29 and one in 100 women between the ages of 30 and 39, according to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. The most common symptom of premature ovarian failure is infertility and amenorrhea , says Dr. Richardson, and its diagnosed by ultrasound and blood testthe hormone levels would be consistent with menopause.
Translation: If you think you may have premature ovarian failure and want to get pregnant in the future, talk to your doc about getting tested as well as your fertility options.
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What Is Intermenstrual Bleeding
It is bleeding that occurs before or after the period rather than being part of the cycle and is another common change to your body in your 40s. However, it is always prudent to rule out dysfunctional uterine bleeding. For instance, by booking a cervical smear to rule out cervical cancer. Or an ultrasound scan of the pelvis to check the womb for uterine cancer. These diagnoses are the very worst case scenario, but it is useful to know which symptoms are a cause for concern.
Shorter Periods Before Menopause Linked To Heart Disease Study Says
Women who suffer longer periods than normal before hitting menopause could be more likely to get heart disease, research suggests.
Experts found women whose cycles lasted longer than expected five years prior to going through ‘the change’ had unhealthier arteries, compared to women who saw their periods barely change.
However, women who had unusually long periods for only two years before reaching the menopause had the heathiest arteries of all.
Academics from the University of Pittsburgh made the claim after analysing data for 428 women between 45 and 52 in the US.
They looked at whether the women’s periods leading up to the menopause were stable, or if they became longer five years prior to menopause, or two years prior.
Heart disease is the biggest killer of women in the UK, with 24,000 women dying of condition every year. It is also the leading cause of death for women in the US, killing 300,000 women annually.
The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days but this can vary from woman to woman.
Cycles as short as 21 days or as long 40 are not considered unusual, according to the NHS.
As a woman approaches menopause, periods become less frequent before stopping altogether.
But the exact timing of this transition could provide important clues to an individual woman’s risk of heart disease, according to the research.
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Of the women, 62 per cent had stable menstrual cycles that did not change in the years before menopause.
Short Menstrual Cycle Could Be A Sign Of Menopause
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minsAre shorter/lighter periods 6 months after having a baby a sign of peri-menopause? I am 35 & have a low AMH of 1.7, This is the classic sign that menopause is coming, it is difficult to predict when and if your next period will come.Irregular Periods, We asked women to tell us how their periods changed during the menopause, or longer or shorter than before, etc, heavier or lighter, heavier or lighter, I am worried about my age & dwindling fertility.The menopause is a natural process which is essentially when a woman stops having periods for over a year, your periods may be: Irregular, so can no longer get pregnant naturally.i dont know if this is a sign of menopause but i had very short periods and they were usually light too but with tiny little clots in them sorry tmi, changes in mood fatigue,The menopause is a natural process which is essentially when a woman stops having periods for over a year, Your periods may be more or less frequent, Some months youEstimated Reading Time: 6 minsIt concluded that women with type 1 diabetes have shorter reproductive periods, postmenopause is the time period after menopause
Ht Forms And Regimens
HT comes in several forms:
- Oral tablets or pills
- Vaginal ring
- Topical gel or spray
HT pills and skin patches are considered “systemic” therapy because the medication delivered affects the entire body. The risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers is higher with hormone pills than with skin patches or other transdermal forms.
Vaginal forms of HT are called “local” therapy. Doctors generally prescribe vaginal applications of low-dose estrogen therapy to specifically treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex. This type of ET is available in a cream, tablet, or ring that is inserted into the vagina.
“Bioidentical” hormone therapy is promoted as a supposedly more natural and safer alternative to commercial prescription hormones. Bioidentical hormones are typically compounded in a pharmacy. Some compounding pharmacies claim that they can customize these formulations based on saliva tests that show a woman’s individual hormone levels.
The FDA and many professional medical associations warn patients that “bioidentical” is a marketing term that has no scientific validity. Formulations sold in these pharmacies have not undergone FDA regulatory scrutiny. Some of these compounds contain estriol, a weak form of estrogen, which has not been approved by the FDA for use in any drug. In addition, saliva tests do not give accurate or realistic results, as a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day.
General Recommendations For Ht
Current guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of severe hot flashes that do not respond to non-hormonal therapies. General recommendations include:
- HT may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
- HT should not be used in women who have started menopause many years ago.
- Women should not take HT if they have risks for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
- Currently, there is no consensus on how long HT should be used or at what age it should be discontinued. Treatment should be individualized for a woman’s specific health profile.
- HT should be used only for menopause symptom management, not for chronic disease prevention.
Before starting HT, your doctor should give you a comprehensive physical exam and take your medical history to evaluate your risks for:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
While taking HT, you should have regular mammograms and pelvic exams and Pap smears. Current guidelines recommend that if HT is needed, it should be initiated around the time of menopause. Studies indicate that the risk of serious side effects is lower for women who use HT while in their 50s. Women who start HT past the age of 60 appear to have a higher risk for side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or breast cancer. HT should be used with care in this age group.
Women who should not take hormone therapy include those with the following conditions: