When To See A Gp
It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.
Treating Cramps After Menopause
Treatment for postmenopausal cramps will vary depending on the underlying cause. Some possible treatment options may include:
Fibroids: If you do have pain caused by fibroids, painkillers will usually be recommended first.
There are medications available to help shrink fibroids. If these prove ineffective, surgery, such as a myomectomy or hysterectomy, may be recommended.
Endometriosis: There’s no cure for endometriosis and it can be difficult to treat. Treatment aims to ease symptoms so the condition does not interfere with your daily life.
- Medication: Pain medication may be prescribed to ease discomfort.
- Surgery: Surgery is usually reserved for severe symptoms when hormones are not providing relief. During the operation, the surgeon can locate the sites of your endometriosis and may remove the endometrial patches.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Treatment for IBS can include changes to diet and lifestyle, mind/body therapies , and medications. Often, a combination of treatments will provide the most relief. There is still much that is not understood about IBS, so it may take some experimentation with different therapies to achieve positive results.
Do People In Postmenopause Lose Interest In Sex
No, not all people lose interest in sex after menopause. Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex can make sex less pleasurable. Using a vaginal lubricant can help with dryness. Some people are less interested in sex because of other symptoms like depression or feeling tired. If your feelings about sex have changed, ask your healthcare provider for help.
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Home Remedies And Lifestyle
Eating a balanced diet may help with cramps.
Research has found that diets with high levels of red meat, processed foods, sweets, dairy, and refined grains are associated with higher estrogen levels. These dietary patterns have also been associated with increased risks of breast cancer and obesity.
Try healthier eating, focusing on the following foods:
- Whole grains: brown rice, whole-grain bread, oatmeal
- Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils
- Fruits: apples, mangoes, berries, oranges
You should also try to:
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Take a warm bath or place a heating pad on your lower abdomen or back to help alleviate the pain from severe cramps.
- Incorporate physical activity into your day as exercise improves blood circulation and reduces cramps.
How Does Menopause Affect Heart Health
People are more likely to develop heart disease after menopause. Lower estrogen levels may be part of the cause. It also could be that other health issues that are more common as people get older. These include gaining weight, becoming less active, and developing high blood pressure or diabetes. You can reduce your risk of these health problems by eating a variety of healthy, nutrient-rich foods. It also helps to stay active and maintain an appropriate weight.
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Will Being Super Healthy Help Delay Menopause
Although maintaining good overall health is important for a variety of reasons, it wont necessarily translate to later menopause, says Streicher. I have women who tell me, I have a healthy diet, Im thin, I work out all the time, and I look young. Im sure Im not going to go through menopause early, and when I do, I wont have hot flashes and other symptoms. I wish I could say that was true, but its not, she says.
Body weight might matter, though. We do know that the extremes of weight, in someone who is very obese or someone with very low body weight, may impact the onset of menopause, but for the majority of women in the middle it doesnt seem to have a big impact, says Streicher.
Can Cancer Symptoms Be Mistaken As Symptoms Of Menopause
It is important to recognize that some of the symptoms of menopause can mimic the symptoms of gynecologic cancers, which are cancers that start in the female reproductive organs. The 3 most common gynecologic cancers are uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. Being aware of the similarities and differences in symptoms is critical so that concerning, or red flag, symptoms of a potential underlying cancer are not ignored or misidentified as symptoms of menopause.
Uterine and ovarian cancers are more common in postmenopausal women. The most common symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal uterine bleeding, which occurs in 75% to 90% of people with this type of cancer. It can be hard to distinguish between abnormal bleeding and a regular menstrual period, especially during the menopausal transition. However, in people older than 45, some concerning clues will include bleeding between menstrual cycles, frequent bleeding, and heavy or prolonged bleeding. The average age at diagnosis of uterine cancer in the United States is 60, and it is uncommon in women younger than 45.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal swelling or bloating, nausea, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and shortness of breath. About half of people who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States are 63 or older. However, ovarian cancer may occur at a younger age in people with a hereditary ovarian cancer syndrome.
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What Causes The Menopause
The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases there’s no clear cause.
Sometimes it’s caused by a treatment such as surgery to remove the ovaries , some breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or it can be brought on by an underlying condition, such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
When Do I Know That Im Having A Hot Flash
During a hot flash, youll likely feel your body temperature rise. Hot flashes affect the top half of your body, and your skin may even turn red in color or become blotchy. This rush of heat could lead to sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of dizziness. After the hot flash, you may feel cold.
Hot flashes may come on daily or even multiple times a day. You may experience them over the course of a year or even several years.
Avoiding triggers may reduce the number of hot flashes you experience. These can include:
- consuming alcohol or caffeine
Being overweight and smoking may also make hot flashes worse.
A few techniques may help reduce your hot flashes and their symptoms:
- Dress in layers to help with hot flashes, and use a fan in your home or office space.
- Do breathing exercises during a hot flash to try to minimize it.
Medications such as birth control pills, hormone therapy, or even other prescriptions may help you reduce hot flashes. See your doctor if youre having difficulty managing hot flashes on your own.
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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.
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.
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The Natural Approach To Balancing Your Hormones Begins With Phytotherapy
The most effective relief for perimenopause and menopause symptoms is to ensure your body has the raw materials it needs to make, regulate and use all three hormones, not just estrogen, which has often been the focus of the conventional approach.
Not only do we know that progesterone and testosterone also play critical roles in hormonal imbalance, but we also understand that balance is more than having enough of a certain hormone. True hormonal balance creates optimal levels of all sex hormones, with clear pathways for their use throughout the body, and the ability to manage hormone fluctuations to eliminate symptoms.
Weve learned the use of phytotherapy for menopause or herbal solutions can resolve even severe symptoms for most women. Certain herbs known as phytocrines share important features with our own hormones which allow them to provide symptom relief, as well as to bolster your bodys own ability to make and use hormones:
- Phytocrines can act like the bodys own hormones. By binding to our hormone receptors, they allow cells to get the information they need to function.
- Phytocrines can imitate hormone functions. One example is the phytoestrogens found in red clover which closely resemble human estrogen and can help normalize estrogen activity in our bodies.
- Phytocrines encourage hormone production. Plants can gently stimulate the bodys tissues to make more natural hormones.
As Menopause Nears Be Aware It Can Trigger Depression And Anxiety Too
“Technically, menopause is only one day in a woman’s life, which is exactly when she has not had a period for 12 months,” she says. “It’s the period of time leading up to menopause that causes all the trouble.”
And it can start earlier than you might think. Many listeners wrote to us in response to our call-out for individual experiences with menopause to say that they struggled to get medical support for perimenopause in their mid-30s and early 40s.
When Edrie went back to her OB/GYN with the fertility clinic’s conclusion, she says the doctor shrugged again and told her that menopause is a normal part of life. She wasn’t satisfied with that answer. “Yeah, it’s a normal part of life, but it would be great if we could talk about it and figure out strategies.”
With that spirit in mind, we reached out to endocrinologists, gynecologists and psychiatrists for advice about navigating this major life transition.
How early can perimenopause start?
It’s quite possible for women to start to notice things changing in their mid-30s. Most women arrive at menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but perimenopause can start as much as a decade beforehand. And about 1% of women in the U.S. reach menopause at age 40 or younger.
What Herbs And Supplements Help Menopause Symptoms
Black cohosh is a commonly used herbal supplement that is believed to reduce hot flashes. However, small German studies that tested black cohosh only followed women over a short time period. The German agency that regulates herbs does not recommend using black cohosh for longer than 6 months. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual problems, slow heartbeat, and excessive sweating. Black cohosh is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , so women must be careful about the safety and purity of this supplement.
Plant estrogens such as soy protein are a popular remedy for hot flashes, although data on their effectiveness are limited. Phytoestrogens are natural plant estrogens , which are thought to have effects similar to estrogen therapy. The safety of soy in women who have a history of breast cancer has not been established, although clinical studies indicate soy is no more effective for treating symptoms than a placebo. Soy comes from soybeans and is also called miso or tempeh. The best food sources are raw or roasted soybeans, soy flour, soy milk, and tofu. Soy sauce and soy oil do not contain isoflavones.
Herbals: Inconclusive and conflicting studies indicate that other herbals, such as dong quai, red clover , chasteberry , yam cream, Chinese medicinal herbs, and evening primrose oil, should be avoided or taken with care under the supervision of a health care professional to avoid unwanted and dangerous side effects and interactions.
How Do I Know If I Am Going Through Early Or Premature Menopause
You know you have gone through menopause when you have not had your period for 12 months in a row. If you think you may be reaching menopause early, talk to your doctor or nurse.
- Your doctor or nurse will ask you about your symptoms, such as hot flashes, irregular periods, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness.
- Your doctor or nurse may give you a blood test to measure estrogen and related hormones, like . You may choose to get tested if you want to know whether you can still get pregnant. Your doctor or nurse will test your hormone levels in the first few days of your menstrual cycle .
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Will My Hot Flashes Stop After Menopause
Some people still experience hot flashes after menopause. Postmenopausal hot flashes are caused by decreased estrogen levels. It is not uncommon to experience a random hot flash for years after menopause. If your hot flashes are bothersome or intensify, speak with your healthcare provider to rule out other causes.
Peri Menopause / Menopause Symptoms You May Experience Which May Help Some Ladies
SIXTY-SIX PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Part one 1 – 49
These are very real physical changes and conditions. Some symptoms alarm a woman that she may be suffering from a serious disease. Perhaps you know the more common ones related to menopausal symptoms in this list. But many of these may surprise you, as they have not been typically associated with this normal physiological transformation.
1. Change in Menstrual Cycle, Cycles may get closer together or farther apart, lighter and shorter in duration or much heavier, lasting longer than one has been accustomed to. Menses may seem to take forever to begin with dark spotting for days until you actually flow, or you might feel like you have your menses every two weeks.
2. Menstrual Flooding can come on with sudden onset and feel like you may hemorrhage to death. Or it can be a gradual build up just when you think your menses will end and you start gushing for days. Flooding commonly accompanies the woman with uterine fibroids as she transits into menopause.
3. Headaches, Migraines, especially before, during or at the end of your menses debilitate and radically interferes with normal functioning.
4. Decreased Motor Coordination, Clumsiness, almost begins to make the woman who experiences this feel like she is a bit spastic, certainly less than graceful during perhaps an already awkward period in her life.
5. Lethargy, a persistent feeling sluggishness physically and mentally, that seems to negate ones ability to do much.
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Cancer Risk And Age At Menopause
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, women who experience late-onset menopause have an increased risk of uterine and breast cancer. This is due to having an increased exposure to hormones such as estrogen. As women menstruate longer, they have more ovulations which also increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Women with a long reproductive life, menarche before the age of 12 years and menopause after age 55 years have an increased risk of these hormone-dependent cancers. A pooled analysis of data from more than 400,000 women found for every year older a woman was at menopause, breast cancer risk increased by approximately 3%.
Signs That You May Be Going Through Menopause
Changes in your menstrual cycle
An obvious signal that your body is changing, and the symptom that women typically recognize first, is that your period may not be as regular as it used to be. It may be heavier or lighter, shorter or longer, than usual and you may occasionally spot. If you do miss a period, make sure to rule out pregnancy.
If you think you may be pregnant, please come see us at Westchester Health. Well perform a more accurate pregnancy test than those you can get over-the-counter. If youre not pregnant, a missed period could indicate the onset of menopause. NOTE: If you begin spotting after not having your period for 12 consecutive months, make sure to see a physician right away so you can rule out serious conditions, such as cancer.
For many women going through menopause, hot flashes are their main complaint. These usually feel like a sudden acceleration of body heat, either in the upper portion of the body or all over. Your face and neck might turn red, and you may feel sweaty or flushed. The intensity of a hot flash can range from mild to very strong, keeping you awake at night or even waking you from sleep. It usually lasts between 30 seconds and 10 minutes, and most women experience them for a year or two after their final menstrual period. Hot flashes may still continue after menopause, but they lessen in intensity over time.
Vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy and pain with intercourse
Insomnia or problems sleeping
Urinary tract infections
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