How Do You Know If You’re Still Fertile
You must assume you’re still capable of conceiving until menopause is complete, which has not occurred until menstrual periods have ceased for 12 full months. Menopause is not an on-off switch, says Dr. Stuenkel. But many women dont really understand exactly whats happening.
Ovarian function waxes and wanes in perimenopause, meaning that a woman may release an egg some months but not others. Additionally, body levels of estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones tend to be erratic during this time and egg quality decreases, all contributing to more than a 50 percent decrease in fertility among women 40 and over compared to younger women. But natural conception is still possibleif remotefor women until their mid-fifties.
Can Menopause Affect Sleep
Some people may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.
If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:
- Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
- Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.
Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.
How Sex Changes After Menopause
With no need to worry about getting your period, becoming pregnant or being walked in on by your kids, your postmenopausal sex life should be stellar, right? It can be good, but dont expect it to be the same type of sex you were having in your 20s, says Chris Kraft, Ph.D., director of clinical services at the Sex and Gender Clinic in the department of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
While you may have greater freedom at home, this is also a stage of life with a lot of changes that can affect your intimacy, he says. Youre redefining your roles and your relationship as the kids go off to college and your careers wind down. And youre also physically changing.
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What Are Hot Flashes And How Long Will I Have Them
Hot flashes are one of the most frequent symptoms of menopause. It’s a brief sensation of heat. Hot flashes arent the same for everyone and theres no definitive reason that they happen. Aside from the heat, hot flashes can also come with:
- A red, flushed face.
- A chilled feeling after the heat.
Hot flashes not only feel different for each person, but they also can last for various amounts of time. Some people only have hot flashes for a short period of time during menopause. Others can have some kind of hot flash for the rest of their life. Typically, hot flashes are less severe as time goes on. The intensity, frequency and duration of hot flashes differ for each individual.
Benefits Of Being An Older Mom
Although it can be harder to get pregnant when you’re older, there are also some advantages to being an older mom, for both you and your baby. These include:
Healthier preschoolers with better language skills. Preschoolers with older mothers are healthier overall. They have increased immunization rates, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer unintentional injuries than those born to younger mothers. They also tend to have better language skills and verbal development.
Increased intelligence when you’re older. Women who gave birth after age 35 scored higher on tests of thinking and verbal memory when they were ages 41 to 92. Additionally, women who used contraceptives for over 10 years had better problem-solving skills and higher executive functioning skills when they were older.
Better parenting skills. It’s no secret that you probably have more patience than you did when you were younger. Older moms are less likely to discipline their children harshly or yell at them. They are better at setting boundaries as well. Children with older mothers tend to have fewer behavioral, social, and emotional issues.
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What Are The Chances Of Getting Pregnant After Menopause
Menopause is reached when a womans menstrual cycles have stopped for 12 months. This milestone also represents the end of monthly ovulation and a womans ability to naturally become pregnant.
Can a woman still have a child once shes gone through menopause? Its possible. While ovulatory cycles cease once youre in menopause, theres still a chance for pregnancy via IVF and implantation of a fertilized donor egg.
In many ways, women have two biological clocks. One clock counts down your ability to ovulate and use your own eggs for pregnancy. This clock on natural fertility runs out in menopause. The other biological clock relates to your bodys ability to allow for successful implantation and gestation of a donor egg .
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, any woman of any age can get pregnant with assisted reproductive technology provided that she has a normal uterus even if she no longer has ovaries or ovarian function.
How Does Menopause Affect My Bladder Control
Unfortunately, bladder control issues are common for people going through menopause. There are several reasons why this happens, including:
- Estrogen. This hormone plays several roles in your body. It not only controls your period and promotes changes in your body during pregnancy, estrogen also keeps the lining of your bladder and urethra healthy.
- Pelvic floor muscles. They support the organs in your pelvis your bladder and uterus. Throughout your life, these muscles can weaken. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth and from weight gain. When the muscles weaken, you can experience urinary incontinence .
Specific bladder control problems that you might have can include:
- Stress incontinence .
- Urge incontinence .
- Painful urination .
- Nocturia .
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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.
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.
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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.
Fertility In The Aging Female
A womans best reproductive years are in her 20s. Fertility gradually declines in the 30s, particularly after age 35. Each month that she tries, a healthy, fertile 30-year-old woman has a 20% chance of getting pregnant. That means that for every 100 fertile 30-year-old women trying to get pregnant in 1 cycle, 20 will be successful and the other 80 will have to try again. By age 40, a womans chance is less than 5% per cycle, so fewer than 5 out of every 100 women are expected to be successful each month.
Women do not remain fertile until menopause. The average age for menopause is 51, but most women become unable to have a successful pregnancy sometime in their mid-40s. These percentages are true for natural conception as well as conception using fertility treatment, including in vitro fertilization . Although stories in the news media may lead women and their partners to believe that they will be to able use fertility treatments such as IVF to get pregnant, a womans age affects the success rates of infertility treatments. The age-related loss of female fertility happens because both the quality and the quantity of eggs gradually decline.
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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
Should I Continue Using Birth Control During The Transition To Menopause
Yes. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, the transition to menopause, even if you miss your period for a month or a few months. During perimenopause you may still ovulate, or release an egg, on some months.
But it is impossible to know for sure when you will ovulate. If you dont want to get pregnant, you should continue to use birth control until one full year after your last period. Talk to your doctor about your birth control needs. Learn more about different birth control methods.
You cant get pregnant after menopause, but anyone who has sex can get sexually transmitted infections . If you are not in a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner have sex with each other and no one else, protect yourself by using a male condom or dental dam correctly every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. After menopause you may be more likely to get an STI from sex without a condom. Vaginal dryness or irritation is more common after menopause and can cause small cuts or tears during sex, exposing you to STIs.
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Can You Get Pregnant Without Having A Period
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about womens health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.
Brian Levine, MD, MS, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Can you get pregnant without having a period in months? Yes, its possible, but its not likely. If youre not getting your periods, this is a good reason to see your gynecologist. There are some normaland some not-so-normalreasons this can occur. What could cause you not to get your periods? Could you be pregnant and not know it?
What do your periods have to do with getting pregnant? And, if you want to get pregnant, how can your doctor help you conceive if youre not menstruating?
Can Menopause Be Reversed
The short answer is no, but researchers are working on it.
One avenue of study is treatment using a womans own platelet-rich plasma . PRP contains growth factors, hormones, and cytokines.
Early efforts to restore activity in the ovaries of perimenopausal women indicate that ovarian activity restoration is possible, but only temporarily. Research is still in the early stages. Clinical trials are underway.
In a small study of postmenopausal women, 11 of 27 who were treated with PRP regained a menstrual cycle within three months. Researchers were able to retrieve mature eggs from two women. IVF was successful in one woman.
Much additional research on larger groups of women is needed.
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What Are The Risks
According to the CDC, the number of first-time births among women ages 40 to 44 more than doubled between 1990 and 2012, and is still rising. The vast majority of women in this age group go on to experience completely normal and healthy pregnancies and births. However, older moms-to-be are also at higher risk for certain complications in pregnancy. These include:
- high blood pressure and the related pregnancy complication preeclampsia
- gestational diabetes
- birth defects, such as Down syndrome
- low birth weight
If you do plan to get pregnant when you are in your 40s, its a good idea to have a fertility check up with your healthcare provider and start taking a prenatal multivitamin before trying to conceive.
And Keep In Mind That You Can Still Get Pregnant Even After The Menopause Process Starts
Because menopause is defined by not having a period for 12 months straight, when you’re perimenopausal, or transitioning towards menopause, your period may go MIA but then make a comeback at some point. Some people have breakthrough bleeding or periods in between, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And while that doesnt necessarily mean that youve ovulated, it could mean that you have. And that means you could potentially get pregnant.
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Exercise Or Lack Of Body Fat
You may be an athlete who is neither over- nor underweight . However, its not your weight that really impacts your reproductive cycleits the amount of fat.
Athletes may have a high percentage of muscle and a low percentage of body fat. This can cause their menstrual cycles to be irregular or even stop completely. Excessive exercise can also cause your periods to become irregular or stop.
How To Protect Against Unplanned Pregnancy
To prevent a baby bump on your road to menopause, use an effective, safe and appropriate method of birth control until your menopause is confirmed.
Natural family planning is not recommended for perimenopausal women because irregular periods make predicting ovulation difficult.
Many contraception options exist. Dr. Bembry says vasectomy is the most effective form of birth control, as long as post-procedure care is followed, but admits a lot of men just dont go there.
When considering birth control options, talk to your physician. She can discuss risks, effectiveness rates, perimenopausal symptom relief and even which methods can protect against certain cancers.
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Can You Get Pregnant After Menopause
Females are born with millions of eggs inside their ovaries. Until puberty, these eggs remain in a state of latency however, after reaching puberty, drastic changes occur in the biochemical environment of the body due to hormones. As a result of hormonal fluctuations, every month, few eggs are released from the ovary but only one egg achieves complete maturation. Once this egg is ovulated, it is released into the fallopian tubules to allow fertilization of egg and a normal pregnancy .
With the passage of time, the release of mature eggs from ovaries become less frequent and the women become less capable of producing fully matured eggs. Needless to say that less frequent production of mature eggs is partly due to physiological aging and partly due to hormonal changes, which ultimately leads to menopause. In short, it marks the end of female fertility.
Or You Might Find That Youre Not As Interested In Sex And Be Totally Fine With That
A lot of my patients who are many years past menopause report that their lives have changed in that way: The emphasis on and impact of sexual intercourse arent what they were before, says Pizarro. When talking through potential treatment options, many of his patients decide its not a big enough deal for them to pursue a medical solution to lowered libido. Its just not something that concerns them. Their life has transitioned to a point where theyre more focused on spending time with their partner or traveling, he explains.
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Your Health Questions Answered
- Answered by: Dr Roger HendersonAnswered: 29/11/2021
If youre having difficulty becoming pregnant and you think you may be in the perimenopause, speak to your doctor. Theyll be able to discuss how to improve your chances of having a baby. If appropriate, they may be able to refer you to a specialist for consideration of fertility treatments like IVF.
If youre not eligible for fertility treatment through your healthcare system, you could consider treatment through a private clinic, but you would need to pay for this service.
How Do I Know If I’m In Menopause
You will know you have reached menopause when you have gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause. Vaginal bleeding after menopause could be a sign of a more serious health issue like endometrial cancer.
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