Body Image And Menopause
Some of the things that may contribute to your body image around menopause include:
- social attitudes Western culture rarely portrays older women as sexual or desirable. These ingrained social attitudes may make you feel less attractive. Some women wrongly believe that sex is only for young people. If you feel this way, it may cause your sexual interest and activity to wane
- possible weight gain you may find your body fat increases at this time, especially around your abdomen. This is due to hormonal changes and other age-related factors
- changes to body hair growth.
Ivf And Early Menopause Mixed Hormonal Effects
Dr Vincent says there will likely bemixed hormonal effects for Sanja, because if the IVF resulted in pregnancy then the menopausal symptoms will stop.
“Treatments used as part of IVF may cause issues in themselves, which are separate to menopausal symptoms, although both may be associated with mood changes,” she says.
“EM and being infertile is associated with psychological distress, including depression and anxiety.”
Sanja describes the world she is entering is like “running through a minefield with a blindfold on”.
But she has found some kindred spirits at forums, such as the Women’s Health Week menopause event held in Adelaide in early September.
“Hearing others talk about their symptoms, I’m sitting there going, ‘Oh my gosh, is that what that was?'” Sanja says.
“I can actually make a link now and say ‘this is highly likely the reason I’m experiencing these symptoms’.
“I’m just coming into this blind, to be honest, and learning as I go.”
How Often Do I Need To See My Doctor After Menopause
You should still see your healthcare provider for routine gynecological care even though you aren’t menstruating. This includes Pap tests, pelvic exams, breast exams and mammograms. You should continue to schedule annual wellness appointments. Since you are at an increased risk for osteoporosis, providers usually recommend bone density screenings as well. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine how often you should make check-up appointments based on your health history.
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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 , including osteoporosis, .
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from or menopause . 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.,
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about for vaginal dryness.
Do You Need Contraceptives During Perimenopause
Unless you are absolutely sure you are in full menopause, getting pregnant is still a possibility and therefore contraceptives are essential. Whether you are using birth control or other methods of contraception, if you want to be sure you still need to use it. Some studies have found that over 75% of pregnancies in women over 40 are unplanned, so its important to assume you are fertile, unless proven otherwise.
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Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Postmenopause
People in postmenopause are at an increased risk for several conditions:
Estrogen helps protect against cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, heart disease and stroke. It is also common for people in postmenopause to become more sedentary, which contributes to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These factors combined can increase a womans risk for cardiovascular diseases after menopause. A healthy diet, not smoking and getting regular exercise are your best options to prevent heart disease. Treating elevated blood pressure and diabetes as well as maintaining cholesterol levels are also ways to lower your risk.
People lose bone more rapidly after menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen. You may lose up to 25% of your bone density after menopause . When too much bone is lost, it increases your risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures. The bones of the hip, wrist, and spine are most commonly affected. Bone mineral density testing, also called bone densitometry, can be done to see how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones. The test is used to detectosteoporosis and osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.
Mental health issues
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
As you head toward the big change, keep in mind that diaper changes arent quite out of the picture just yet. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause defined as the years leading up to your final period.
This menopausal transition brings unpredictable ovulation cycles as estrogen and progesterone hormone levels go up and down. During these years of yo-yoing hormone levels, your ovaries continue to release eggs for fertilization. Translation: You can still become pregnant.
Premier Health Ob/Gyn physician J. Scott Bembry, MD, says hes seen a handful of patients in his own practice whove become unintentionally pregnant in their late 40s.
Read Also: Heightened Sense Of Smell Perimenopause
How Do You Know You’re In Postmenopause
Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you if you’re in postmenopause based on your symptoms and how long it’s been since your last menstrual period. In some cases, your healthcare provider will take a blood sample and check your hormone levels to confirm you’ve gone through menopause. Remember, you’re not considered to be through menopause until it’s been over one year since youve had a period.
World’s Oldest Natural Mother
A woman at 59 years old , pregnant! Can you believe it? And it happened all on its own without the use of fertility drugs or treatments. Dawn Brooke gave birth without any help at all to conceive. Au natural!
Dawn and her husband, Raymond , said they actually hid such fact from public eyes until about 10 years later. And such a lovely thing too, that the boy was born three months after the couple married. Nick, Dawns son from her previous marriage, was happy for the couple, saying, When they told us we all gave Ray a round of applause. My mum and my stepdad make a fantastic couple. Raymond himself said that they had extreme good luck for their age and that the boy was simply fantastic.” Kudos to the happy couple!
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Theres Nothing Wrong With Needing Help In The Lubrication Department
Whether you decide to opt for extra hormones or not, using vaginal moisturizers like Replens and regular ol lube can help ease vaginal discomfort. In fact, Tami Rowen, M.D. an obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in sexual health at the University of California San Francisco, highly recommends using a lubricant to help make sex more enjoyable if you experience vaginal dryness. If youre new to lube, its important to know that there are several types: silicone-based, oil-based, water-based, and hybrids. Generally, water-based lubes that dont contain glycerin are a good choice because theyre suitable for people with sensitive skin. Further, Dr. Rowen suggests buying a lube that mimics the natural pH of your vagina. Changes to its natural state can cause an overgrowth of bacteria and lead to infections like bacterial vaginosis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. . Before heading to the store, you can do research online to find a product that fits within this scale. Dr. Rowen recommends lubes like Almost Naked by Good Clean Love . This one falls between 4.2 – 4.7 on the pH scale, according to the manufacturers website.
Signs Of Pregnancy After Menopause
For postmenopausal women, a late period is out of the picture for diagnosing pregnancy.
Here are other signs that can help women who suspect they might be pregnant after menopause.
You can read more about pregnancy signs and symptoms in Pregnancy Symptoms | 17 Early Signs You Might Be Pregnant.
If you have the slightest suspicion that you might be pregnant after menopause, we recommend you find out as soon as possible. Pregnancy in older women means higher health risks to the woman and the baby than those risks to women who are younger.
Getting the reproductive medicine team on board as soon as possible, to provide medical advice and supervision, is of paramount importance to achieve a successful term pregnancy without major complications for either the mother or the baby.
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Can You Get Pregnant During Perimenopause
First published on Friday 26 March 2021Last modified on Thursday 29 April 2021
If you’re approaching the menopause, or are experiencing perimenopause, you probably have a lot of questions, including whether or not you can get pregnant. Here’s what you need to know about getting pregnant during perimenopause.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small amount of money if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our articles and reviews are written independently by the Netmums editorial team.
Menopause and perimenopause can be difficult to navigate, especially if you still have hopes of getting pregnant.
To find out more about what perimenopause is, the symptoms, and whether you can pregnant during perimenopause, read on below.
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What Are The Pregnancy Risks During Perimenopause
The possible hazards are many for both mother and baby. Miscarriage increases among older mothers because of lower-quality eggs, variable hormones, and uterine changes. Poor egg quality also ups the chances for birth defects such as Down syndrome, which is caused by an error in cell division which produces an extra chromosome.
Other risks to the baby include premature birth , which is linked to a host of complications ranging from cerebral palsy to learning and developmental disabilities.
The rigors of pregnancy are also harder on older mothers, who suffer more than their younger counterparts from complications such as high blood pressure, strokes, seizures, gestational diabetes, and heart problems.
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Risks Increase For Pregnancies After Age 35
This natural decline of reproductive function and specific hormones can lead to some complications during pregnancy. For example, its more common for women over 35 to develop complications like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy.1 Babies born to older women a higher risk to have chromosome abnormalities , and low birth weight or even premature births.1 These complications may also lead to an increased risk for a C-section delivery.1 Many and most women, however, still have very healthy pregnancies well into their forties.
Not Everyone Is Eligible
Most people are eligible to begin melatonin treatment. Melatonin is available without a prescription, though its always a good idea to discuss new supplements with a doctor.
Ovarian rejuvenation is now available at several fertility clinics around the United States. Most people in good health with working ovaries are eligible for this elective procedure. But costs can be steep, and it isnt covered by insurance.
Clinical trials can sometimes allow for more affordable treatment. Unfortunately, clinical trials arent always taking place, and when they are, they may only recruit a small number of patients. Trials also have specific recruitment criteria, such as being over 35 or the ability to receive IVF treatments at an out-of-town clinic.
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With All That Said You Can Still Have A Great Sex Life In Menopause
Pizarro and Brown-James both agree on this point. In fact, Dr. Pizarro says meno post-menopausal people have very active sex lives even without taking estrogen. Whats more, sexual satisfaction might increase once someones been through menopause.
There are a few reasons that might happen. The worry of being pregnant is no longer there, says Brown-James. Also, some people experience an increase in their sexual awareness of their bodies. Many women have not been taught to explore their bodies and have internalized ideas that the vulva or vagina are dirty or for someone elses pleasure, not theirs, she explains. A lot of times, if the knowledge that none of that is true hasnt taken root before, it gets dispelled at this point, and women realize their bodies are really for themselves. Bonus: That may also lead to more intense orgasms, says Brown-James.
Symptoms Of The Menopause
Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.
Common symptoms include:
- reduced sex drive
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
Limit Alcohol And Caffeine
Moderate consumption of alcohol and caffeine comes with various benefits. Too much, however, can wreak havoc to your health. If you are in your menopausal stage and you are planning to bear a child, consider limiting your intake of beverages with alcohol and caffeine in them to boost your likelihood of being in the family way.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Postmenopausal Symptoms
Hormone therapy could be an option, although healthcare providers often recommend using it for a short amount of time and in people under the age of 60. There are health risks associated with hormone therapy like blood clots and stroke. Some healthcare providers do not recommend using hormone therapy after menopause has ended or if you have certain medical conditions.
Some medications your healthcare provider may consider helping with postmenopausal symptoms are:
- Antidepressants for mood swings or depression.
- Vaginal creams for pain related to sexual intercourse and vaginal dryness.
- Gabapentin to relieve hot flashes.
Oftentimes your provider will recommend lifestyle changes to help manage your symptoms.
Potential Risks Of Pregnancy During Perimenopause
While there are always some risks involved in pregnancy, the risks are much higher during perimenopause. There is potential for a variety of complications and women who are pregnant during perimenopause are considered to be high-risk and should be monitored more closely by medical professionals.
Its important to know that women over the age of 40 have about a 50% chance of miscarriage. If you are a woman in your perimenopausal years and you are contemplating pregnancy, its highly recommended that you talk with your doctor to make sure you are well informed and medically cleared of any preexisting conditions that could complicate pregnancy even more.
Health risks during pregnancy that increase after the age of 35 can include:
- Premature or low birth weight
What About Getting Pregnant Can I Still Conceive If I Have Premature Menopause
A common concern about premature menopause is whether or not you will be able to conceive and become pregnant. The answer for you will depend on the cause of your early menopause.
If your ovaries have been removed surgically, then no, you will not be able to conceive.
However, if you still have your ovaries, whether or not you can get pregnant will depend on what eggs if any you have left. If you have no eggs left, you cannot ovulate and so cannot get pregnant but, if you have eggs and your ovaries have stopped working, they can sporadically start working again and ovulate meaning pregnancy is possible.
One in 10 women with premature menopause will actually become pregnant as the ovaries intermittently work. This means that, if you dont want to become pregnant, you will need to use contraception.
If you are trying to conceive, your GP should be able to refer you to the local gynaecology fertility clinic for investigations and treatment.
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It Can Help To Think About Ivf Years Before Perimenopause
While in-vitro fertilization is a popular option for many women waiting to start their families, its not an option for everyone. For example, freezing your oocytes before age 35 can contribute to healthier IVF pregnancies and births later in life.4 Starting these conversations earlier with your doctor can help you best match your life stage to your life goals, and stay in control of your reproductive health.
How Can I Increase My Fertility In Late 40s
As weve discussed, there is little we can do about a womans age, and her eggs reserves decrease more and more as she grows older.
However, there are several things you can do if you want to get pregnant with those remaining eggs:
- Change your diet. Reduce the amount of processed food, sugar and refinated carbohydrates. Increase the amount of vegetables and fruit, especially in their raw form . Read more in Low Carb Diet Increases Your Chance Of Pregnancy, Studies Find
- Get active. Exercise is key to become healthy. It boost your hearts health, your blood vessels, and your organs. Being active helps your whole body, including your reproductive system, to perform much better
- Get sexy. Oxytocin is the most important hormone during sex and reproduction. Its the one that tells our bodies to conceive, the one we secrete when were enjoying life, when were happy, and when were in love. Its the hormone that gives us that great feeling when we have sex, when we orgasm, when we give birth or breastfeed our babies. Having oxytocin regularly flowing through your veins will increase your chances of conceiving.
- Bring your stress down to its lowest possible level. Oxytocin needs a good atmosphere to flow. If your stress hormone levels are high your oxytocin levels will be low. Have you ever tried to have fun or to have sex when your mind is focused on something thats stressing you out? It doesnt happen, does it? Stress is your worst enemy if youre trying to get pregnant.
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