Menopause Care Tips: How To Take Care Of Yourself During Menopause
Menopause is a fact of life for women, but the transition isnt something to dread. Changes occur that impact the body and mind, but treatment is available every step of the way. At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we are committed to offering world-class menopause care to our female patients.
Is Hormone Replacement A Safe Option For Management Of Menopausal Problems
Several hormone therapies are FDA-approved for treatment of hot flashes and prevention of bone loss. The benefits and risks vary depending on the severity of your hot flashes and bone loss, and your health. These therapies may not be right for you. Talk to your doctor before trying any hormone therapies.
How Long Will Menopausal Transition Symptoms Last
Menopause is technically one full year without bleeding, and perimenopause is the stage before the final menstrual period, also known as the menopausal transition. Puberty and perimenopause are similar in that they both involve hormonal changes, and the transitions can take place over several years. Some medical organizations, such as the American Osteopathic Association, refer to perimenopause as reverse puberty in women.
According to NAMS, this phase can last four to eight years, and it comes with symptoms caused by hormone fluctuations, such as mood swings, poor sleep, and hot flashes.
The age at which a woman begins perimenopause can help predict how long the transition to menopause will last, according to research published in the journal Menopause in February 2017. The authors found that perimenopause lasted longer in women who started the transition at a younger age, and the women had more symptoms, such as hot flashes.
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Spontaneous Premature Ovarian Failure Or Early Menopause
Premature ovarian failure , also now referred to as primary ovarian insufficiency or primary ovarian dysfunction , is a syndrome of amenorrhea, low sex steroid levels, and elevated gonadotropin levels among women younger than age 40 years. POF is most frequently idiopathic but may also be due to autoimmune disorders, genetic causes, infections or inflammatory conditions, enzyme deficiencies, or metabolic syndromes . POF is reported to affect approximately 1% of women under age 40 years and spontaneous early menopause is reported to affect approximately 5% of women between ages 40 and 45 years .
POF has been found to be associated with intermittent ovarian function in nearly half of the women affected . While spontaneous or induced return of ovarian function is possible, most women with POF experience sustained sex steroid deficiency for longer periods compared with women who experienced spontaneous menopause around the median age. Thus, POF and other causes of premature spontaneous menopause are generally classified together when evaluating long-term health outcomes.
How Is Premature Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Treated
Management of the condition can vary depending on why menopause started earlier than normal. Given the health risks associated with early menopause, hormone replacement therapy is routinely recommended to all women with premature menopause or primary ovarian insufficiency, unless there is a compelling reason it cant be used. There is a lot of confusion about the safety of hormone therapies. Many of the risks of hormone therapy used after natural menopause are not thought to apply to women who have premature menopause. It is important to discuss the pros and cons of hormone therapy with your doctor. Some healthcare providers have additional certification in the management of menopause, and these providers will be a valuable resource when receiving conflicting information about the safety of hormone therapy.
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Determining Your Menopause Age
Theres no simple test that can tell you when youll reach menopause, but researchers are working on creating one.
Examining your family history may be the most accurate way to help you predict when you might experience the change. Youll likely reach menopause around the same age as your mother and, if you have any, sisters.
Studies have shown women who go through menopause after age 55 have about a 30 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who experience the change before age 45. Experts believe this increased risk happens because women who undergo menopause later are exposed to more estrogen throughout their lifetimes.
Theres no sure way to delay menopause, but some lifestyle changes may play a role.
Quitting smoking postpone the onset of early menopause. Here are 15 tips for quitting smoking.
Research has suggested that your diet can affect the age of menopause, too.
A 2018 study found consuming a high amount of oily fish, fresh legumes, vitamin B-6, and zinc delayed natural menopause. However, eating a lot of refined pasta and rice was linked to earlier menopause.
Continue seeing your doctor regularly during perimenopause and menopause. They can help ease any concerns you might have about this pivotal change in your life.
Questions to ask your doctor might include:
What Are Premature Menopause Early Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
Premature menopause and early menopause are conditions where a woman goes through menopause at an earlier age than is typically expected. Both conditions can result in women being unable to become pregnant. If there is no obvious medical or surgical cause for the premature menopause, this is called primary ovarian insufficiency . Primary ovarian insufficiency is also referred to as premature ovarian insufficiency.
The name premature ovarian failure is no longer used because women who are told they have early menopause can have intermittent ovulation, menstrual bleeding or even pregnancy after being told they have ovarian failure.
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I Got My First Period Early Does That Mean Ill Go Through Menopause Early
I have many patients tell me, I know Im going to go through menopause earlier because I started my period really early, says Streicher. The reason women think that is because they think menopause occurs when you run out of eggs. This isnt going to happen were born with millions of eggs and many of those are never used. When you go through menopause is really about the aging of eggs and what causes them to age more quickly, she says.
The average age of menarche in the United States has gotten younger for a variety of reasons, but that hasnt made women go through menopause earlier, she points out.
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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Womens Wellness: 5 Things To Know About Early Menopause
So you missed a period. Or two. You think to yourself, Im too young for menopause. Right?
Not necessarily. Early menopause, between the ages of 40 and 45, affects about 5 percent of women. Premature menopause, before age 40, affects about 1 percent of women.
You are said to be in menopause if you have gone a full 12 months with no menstrual period. Thats when your ovaries stop making estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones necessary to maintain your menstrual cycles and fertility. For most women, menopause occurs naturally at about age 51. With increasing life expectancy, many women will spend up to 40 percent of their lives in the postmenopausal stage.
For some women, menopause is induced early because of treatments needed to save their lives, such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. For others, its genetic conditions, autoimmune disorders or even unknown reasons that bring about this change.
So, without a big neon billboard saying, Welcome to Menopause, what should you do? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know about Early Menopause:
3. Your family plans may change. If you wish to have a family, you may need to consider options such as freezing embryos or eggs. If you had planned to have children, you may need to allow yourself to envision a new dream, such as building your family through in vitro fertilization with donor eggs, adoption or surrogacy.
Invest In A Portable Fan
Hot flashes and night sweats are among the most common symptoms of menopause. Sometimes it might feel like you are always hot. In public or at work, you often wont have much control over the room temperature, but you still have options. Investing in a portable fan is one way that you can take care of yourself no matter where you are. You might be surprised by what this inexpensive machine can do for you.
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How Can You Alleviate Perimenopausal Symptoms
Some women deal with the symptoms of perimenopause, and some women seek treatment for specific health concerns. Women with heavy bleeding, periods that last longer than seven days, spotting between periods or cycles that are less than 21 days should contact a doctor.
Typically, perimenopause is a gradual transition, and no particular test indicates what is happening to the body. Hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen treatments and antidepressants can help treat perimenopausal symptoms.
Start by identifying what’s bothering you most and then working with your doctor to address it. There are steps you can take to feel better. Lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in easing perimenopausal symptoms and improving your overall health include:
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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
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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:
Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms
Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used “off-label” and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .
Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed “off-label” for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:
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Abnormal Bleeding After Menopause
In some cases, bleeding continues after menopause. It is easy to mistake this type of bleeding for symptoms of perimenopause, which may mislead someone to think they have not reached full-menopause when they actually have.
Any spotting or bleeding after menopause is abnormal and should be checked out by a healthcare provider . Spotting or bleeding after menopause can be caused by a medical condition, such as uterine polyps . Uterine polyps are growths on the inside lining of the uterus , and become more common with age .
Does The Age My Mother Reached Menopause Mean Anything
Most likely your moms age at menopause will provide a clue. When we look at the things that are the greatest determinants for when someone is going to go through menopause, genetics seems to be one of the most important things, says Streicher.
A womans race or ethnicity can influence when she goes through menopause, too, she says. Findings from the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation indicate that women of color tend to begin perimenopause and menopause at earlier ages than white women.
The question I always ask women when they ask when theyre going to go through menopause is, When did your mom go through menopause? because that is very often predictive, says Streicher.
Theres a lot of truth in that. You may follow what happened with your mother if she went through menopause early or late, you may, too, she says.
Certain medical conditions such as autoimmune problems, issues, and can make a woman go through menopause earlier, adds Streicher.
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Why Does Menopause Occur
- Natural menopause occurs when levels of oestrogen and progesterone decline naturally.
- Premature menopause is when periods stop before the age of 40 years. This can be due to many reasons including medical conditions such as diabetes or underactive thyroid , and surgery or medications that have affected the blood supply to the ovaries. Genetic factors may also play a part as premature menopause can run in families. Women who smoke are also more likely to go through premature menopause. Sometimes, however, there is no identifiable cause.
- Artificial menopause is a consequence of surgical removal of both ovaries or destruction of the ovaries by some cancer treatments. With artificial menopause there is a sudden drop in hormone levels and menopausal symptoms begin abruptly. Often the symptoms experienced are more severe than those experienced with natural or premature menopause.
Symptoms Of Early Menopause
The main symptom of early menopause is periods becoming infrequent or stopping altogether without any other reason .
Some women may also get other typical menopausal symptoms, including:
Read more about the symptoms of the menopause.
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Induced Premature Menopause Or Early Menopause
Induced menopause may result from premenopausal bilateral oophorectomy or from cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation. Premature menopause from these causes has increased over time because of the improved success in the treatment of cancer in children, adolescents, and reproductive-age women. Similarly, the practice of prophylactic bilateral oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy has increased over time . However, evidence for the long-term risks and adverse health outcomes following induced menopause is starting to accumulate.
Why Are So Many Women Starting The Menopause Before 40
18:49 EST, 18 June 2012 | Updated:
When Amanda Warnes periods stopped at the age of 21, doctors put it down to stress and over-training following an intensive diet and exercise regimen.
For the next four years she suffered terrifying mood swings and depression and paid countless visits to her GP and a specialist while a series of blood tests revealed see-sawing hormone levels.
Finally, doctors concluded the sporty student had suffered a premature menopause.
‘Some days I could barely crawl out of bed. I felt as though I was going mad,’ said Amanda Warne of her menopause, which began at just 21
Blood tests showed her levels of key hormones were such that she had been through the menopause and it wasnt clear why.
I couldnt believe it, says Amanda.
I was studying at the London College of Fashion and was with my first boyfriend, the love of my life, who was desperate for children.
He told me bluntly he knew he wouldnt be able to stay with me for ever because his desire for children would always outgrow the love he had for me.
‘I became an insecure wreck and felt worthless.
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