Myth #: Weight Gain Is Inevitable In Menopause
Unwanted weight gain is common in menopause but not inevitable. As you enter perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels drop naturally and may create a hormonal imbalance. Your body reacts by trying to protect itself by actually storing fat especially around the waist, hips and thighs. Since fat tissue also acts as a source of estrogen, your body holds on to it even more as your estrogen levels continue to fluctuate.
With these changes taking place in your body, youll find a healthy weight by shifting your diet and establishing exercise habits. One of the most important things you can do is eat! Weve seen again and again how good nutrition helps women balance their hormones and find a way to overcome menopause weight.
What Is Hormone Therapy
During menopause, your body goes through major hormonal changes, decreasing the amount of hormones it makes particularly estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are produced by the ovaries. When your ovaries no longer make enough estrogen and progesterone, hormone therapy can be used as a supplement. Hormone therapy boosts your hormone levels and can help relieve some symptoms of menopause. Its also used as a preventative measure for osteoporosis.
There are two main types of hormone therapy:
- Estrogen therapy : In this treatment, estrogen is taken alone. Its typically prescribed in a low dose and can be taken as a pill or patch. ET can also be given to you as a cream, vaginal ring, gel or spray. This type of treatment is used after a hysterectomy. Estrogen alone cant be used if a woman still has a uterus.
- Estrogen Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy : This treatment is also called combination therapy because it uses doses of estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is available in its natural form, or also as a progestin . This type of hormone therapy is used if you still have your uterus.
Hormone therapy can relieve many of the symptoms of menopause, including:
- Hot flashes and night sweats.
- Vaginal dryness.
Is It Possible To Have Periods During Postmenopause
Menopause is recognized as a time when a woman finishes ovulating. As this in turn means the uterus lining no longer periodically thickens and sheds, it isn’t possible for woman to have a period.
During the phase known as the menopausal transition – a time that can last anywhere between two and ten years – experiencing sporadic periods is not a cause for concern. For example, while it can appear that the menstrual cycle has ended, bleeding might still be experienced as irregularly as six months after a previous bleed.
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How Do I Manage Bleeding After Menopause
Your doctor will want to do some investigations to find the cause of your bleeding. Let them know if you have noticed any changes going to the toilet, whether you have pain, have lost weight or whether you are on HRT. You may also want to check whether you need a cervical screening test.
Some women may need to have an ultrasound, blood test or may be referred to a gynaecologist for further tests.
Treatment will depend on what is causing the bleeding. It may involve medicines to control problems with the lining of the uterus, or surgery to remove polyps.
Things To Know About Postmenopausal Bleeding
Spotting or light bleeding after menopause might not seem like a serious problem, but you should never ignore it or wait to bring it up with your doctor. After a womans periods have stopped, vaginal bleeding could be a sign of a health issueincluding endometrial cancer. Heres what every postmenopausal woman should know.
How Do I Decrease My Cancer Risk After Menopause
Late-onset menopause usually occurs because of a genetic predisposition. If your mother went through menopause late, chances are you may also. A study found that late menopause is not uncommon among obese women because fat tissue produces estrogen. If you are worried about your age and menopause exercise, eat a healthy diet, dont smoke, and maintain a healthy body weight which can have a plethora of health benefits. Regular mammograms and Pap smears are also important for women experiencing late-onset menopause. Remember, pap smears have changed to the HPV test in December 2017.
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Is Having A Hard Time Concentrating And Being Forgetful A Normal Part Of Menopause
Unfortunately, concentration and minor memory problems can be a normal part of menopause. Though this doesnt happen to everyone, it can happen. Doctors arent sure why this happens. If youre having memory problems during menopause, call your healthcare provider. There are several activities that have been shown to stimulate the brain and help rejuvenate your memory. These activities can include:
- Doing crossword puzzles and other mentally stimulating activities like reading and doing math problems.
- Cutting back on passive activities like watching TV.
- Getting plenty of exercise.
Keep in mind that depression and anxiety can also impact your memory. These conditions can be linked to menopause.
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What Is Premature Menopause
Menopause, when it occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, is considered “natural” and is a normal part of aging. But, some women can experience menopause early, either as a result of a surgical intervention or damage to the ovaries . Menopause that occurs before the age of 45, regardless of the cause, is called early menopause. Menopause that occurs at 40 or younger is considered premature menopause.
How Long Is Too Long For A Period During Perimenopause
The road to menopause comes with many changes. Night sweats, hormonal imbalances, and vaginal dryness are a few of the well-known symptoms of perimenopause. Heavy, painful periods are also a symptom thats quite common roughly 25 percent of women report experiencing them. Read on to learn the basics of perimenopause bleeding and how to manage extended perimenopause periods.
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.
Causes Of Bleeding During Postmenopause
Postmenopause bleeding may occur in up to 10% of women aged over 55 years. The potential causes of postmenopause bleeding include vaginal atrophy, endometrial hyperplasia, cervical polyps, or a side effect of hormone replacement therapy. The aim of postmenopausal bleeding is to identify a cause and exclude cancer. Here are some causes explained:
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It Might Be Worth Seeing A Specialist
Your gynecologist should be able to perform your initial evaluation. But, if he or she suspects that your bleeding might be related to cancer, its important to see a gynecologic oncologist, Mantia-Smaldone said.
Endometrial cancer is usually treated with surgery that includes a hysterectomy, which may be followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy. Because gynecologic oncologists deal with female reproductive cancers every day, they have more experience operating on cancers, staging them correctly, and determining the best course of therapy. And that can add up to a more successful treatment outcome.
The Most Important Part Of Post
Along with the physical changes that occur after menopause, women may need to improve their health care routines.
Postmenopausal women are at greater risk for heart disease, so redirect your diet toward low-fat foods and lower your salt intake this reduces the risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up on the insides of the arteries.
As part of your routine check-ups, you should have a blood test at a minimum of every five years until age 50, and then at regular intervals. Your doctor will recommend what that interval should be based on how high your cholesterol is, if you are on cholesterol treatment, and on other cardiovascular risk factors that you may have, such as hypertension or obesity.
Women also should have their bone density checked once every two years to spot early signs of osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk for this condition: Research shows that up to 20 percent of bone loss can occur in the first five years of menopause.
Estrogen is one of the best stimulators of bone growth, Audlin says. The risk of osteoporosis is very low before menopause, but post-menopausally, fractured hips and problems related to bone density are very likely.
Women ages 50 and up should consume at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day to maintain bone health. This can be accomplished with supplements, by consuming calcium-rich foods like milk, or a combination of the two.
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Menopause Can Have Mental And Emotional Effects Too
Most people dont like their period, but when it goes away you feel your age, Dr. Rowen tells SELF. For some people, the idea of losing their period can be psychologically distressing.And as we mentioned, your hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone, change during menopause. And this change may cause feelings of anxiety and depression. Lower estrogen can also trigger hot flashes that make it difficult to sleep, leading to mood swings and anxiety. Coupled with any emotional distress from losing your period, and you understandably may not be in the mood to have sex. If you feel down for more than two weeks, you may be depressed and want to speak with a therapist, the Cleveland Clinic recommends. However, finding a therapist can be a long, and often stressful, process. . Generally, you will want to start by asking your insurance company for a list of providers. If you dont have insurance, websites like Open Path include therapists who offer reduced-fee sessions.
How Much Bleeding Is Normal After Menopause
You may think you have reached menopause if you have not had a period for a few months. However, it is still possible to have a period up to a year after your last one. After 12 months without a period, any bleeding at all is not normal.
Up to 1 in 10 women experience bleeding or spotting after their menopause. In most cases the bleeding is not serious and a cause may not be found. However, it needs to be checked because sometimes it can be a sign of cervical or uterine cancer, so it is always important to see a doctor if you notice any vaginal bleeding after menopause.
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Is It Normal To Have Longer And Heavier Periods During Perimenopause
Excessive bleeding and long periods are fairly common during perimenopause. Many women experience an increased flow and extended perimenopause periods before entering menopause.
In fact, one in four women say that their periods are heavy enough to interfere with day-to-day activities, such as going to work or attending social events. According to University of Michigan researchers, 91 percent of women aged 4252 surveyed reported heavy menstruation for 10 or more days during their transition to menopause. This phenomenon occurred one to three times within a three-year period.
There are various other health factors which come into play, including body mass index , use of hormones, and the presence of uterine fibroids.
Characteristics Of Menstrual Bleeding
The SWAN Daily Hormone Study has examined menstrual characteristics in early perimenopausal women. Consistent with Hale , in the SWAN Daily Hormone Study, self-reported heavy bleeding was less frequent following anovulatory cycles than followiung ovulatory cycles, with 20% of cycles being anovulatory cycles. However both short and long duration of menstrual bleeding were associated with anovulation. Self reports of heavy bleeding were associated with obesity and self-reported leiomyomata, but were unrelated to steroid hormone concentrations. Ethnic differences in heavy bleeding were not apparent after adjustment for self-reported leiomyoma and body mass index.
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Bleeding Markers Of The Early And Late Menopausal Transition
At the turn of the millennium, the stages of ovarian aging were not yet understood. Recognizing the importance of clearly defining the stages of reproductive aging as well as of identifying valid, reliable and clinically useful criteria for the onset of each stage of the menopausal transition, the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop was convened in 2001. Based on a consensus discussion of scientific evidence, STRAW recommended that reproductive life be characterized by 7 stages. Prior to menopause, reproductive life was divided into the reproductive years and the transition years . Postmenopausal years follow the final menstrual period . Given limitations at that time in the scientific understanding of ovarian aging and in the availability of valid, reliable, and widely available assays, STRAW staging criteria were limited to menstrual markers and qualitative changes in follicle-stimulating hormone . STRAW characterizes entry into the early transition by increased levels of follicle stimulating hormone and increased variability in menstrual cycle length, defined as menstrual cycle length > 7 days different from normal. Entry into the late transition was characterized by the continued elevation of FSH and the occurrence of > = 2 skipped cycles or amenorrhea of > = 60 days.
After Your Period Stops
The permanent end of menstrual periods doesnt necessarily mean the end of bothersome menopause symptoms, however.
Theres a window of about eight years in which women can feel those flashes and sweats, Dr. Audlin says.
Women who have reached menopause can expect menopause symptoms to become worse than they were during perimenopause, the 2- to 10-year stage leading up to the permanent end of menstruation. Experts dont know exactly why this happens, but its believed to be related to the hypothalamus, the portion of the brain that regulates temperature.
The hypothalamus is acutely responsive to estrogens, Audlin says. Leading up to menopause, your estrogen levels fluctuate. When theyre high, you dont have symptoms. But when you go into menopause and theres a complete lack of estrogen, you start to notice those symptoms more.
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Physical Changes With Menopause
Around menopause, you may notice physical changes that affect your sexuality in positive and negative ways. These may include:
- vaginal changes as oestrogen levels fall, the walls of the vagina become thinner and drier. Loss of lubrication can make having sex uncomfortable
- slowed sexual response it may take longer for you to get aroused and reach orgasm, and orgasm may be less intense
- infections your vagina and bladder may become more susceptible to bacterial infections
- menopause symptoms can include hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia and unusual skin sensations like prickling, itching or ants under the skin
- touch avoidance you may find you dont want to be touched. You may not feel like getting close and intimate because your skin feels more sensitive and you dont like the feeling of your combined body heat
- physical discomfort of menopause symptoms may reduce your interest in sex or make you tired
- absent periods if you experienced heavy or painful periods you may feel relieved and positive about no longer having periods. This can lead to a renewed interest in sex
- no fear of pregnancy if you were trying to avoid pregnancy during your reproductive years, you may find menopause a time of renewed sexual interest. Without the risk of pregnancy, sex may become more relaxed and fun and you may feel like it more often.
Can Menopause Cause Facial Hair Growth
Yes, increased facial hair growth can be a change related to menopause. The hormonal change your body goes through during menopause can result in several physical changes to your body, including more facial hair than you may have had in the past. If facial hair becomes a problem for you, waxing or using other hair removers may be options. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options to make sure you dont pick a product that could harm your skin.
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Myth #: Theres No Difference Between Natural Menopause And Surgical Menopause
Natural menopause and surgical menopause are very different. Natural menopause is a gradual shift of the sex hormones, but with surgical menopause following a total hysterectomy youll experience an immediate and significant change in hormonal balance. Removing your uterus and cervix, along with your ovaries and fallopian tubes, drastically affects the production of hormones.
With a partial hysterectomy when only the uterus is removed changes become less predictable. Some women immediately suffer severe menopausal symptoms while others wont experience many. The truth is that every woman experiences menopause differently.