Myth #: Menopause Begins At 50
The average age for menopause is 52, but you may start anywhere from your late 30s to your early 60s. Youll officially be in menopause when you havent had a period for a full 12 months. This means that even if you go 10-11 months without your period, and then get it, you are still not in menopause and need to start the count over again.
Women often dont realize they can experience symptoms long before official menopause. Theyre unpleasantly surprised by fatigue, hot flashes, irritability, and weight gain even when they still have their period.
If this is happening to you, you may be in perimenopause the transition leading up to menopause. When women ask how long does menopause last, they often are referring to perimenopause. Perimenopause can last a few months or up to 15 years before menopause and you will continue to menstruate. You may experience more symptoms, maybe even more than you do in menopause. This is because perimenopause is the time when your sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone naturally start to fluctuate more, and its these changes to your hormones that can lead to troubling symptoms.
Early Menopause And Premature Menopause
Menopause is considered early if it happens between 41 and 45, and premature if it happens before the age of 40. This can occur for several reasons, including:
- Premature ovarian failure, which is when your ovaries stop producing eggs before the age of 40. This can be caused by a genetic anomaly, autoimmune diseases like lupus, and other hormonal insufficiencies and medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
- Damage to your ovaries caused by cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, as well as treatments for other conditions that involve chemotherapy or radiation
- Hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy, when both ovaries are removed, usually because of an issue like cancer or endometriosis
- Primary ovarian insufficiency, which is when your ovaries dont produce the normal amount of estrogen or dont release eggs regularly before age 40. You may still get periods , and you can still get pregnant and receive fertility treatment.
- Premature ovarian failure is not reversible. However, pregnancy may still be possible through IVF. Unlike premature ovarian failure, primary ovarian insufficiency is treatable with estrogen.
What Are The Common Causes Of Hair Loss In Women
What causes hair loss?
- Hair style: Your style of hair can cause hair loss when your hair is arranged in ways that pull on your roots, like tight ponytails, braids, or corn rows. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia. If hair follicles are damaged, the loss can be permanent.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Over processed scalp hair .
What causes anagen effluvium hair loss?
- Toxic substances, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and some medications. These cause sudden hair loss that can occur anywhere on your body. It happens to hair in the growth stage. Sometimes, this type of hair loss can be permanent if your hair follicles are damaged.
What causes telogen effluvium hair loss?
- Extreme physical stress or shock to your body: This causes temporary hair loss. This category includes events like losing a lot of weight, surgery, anemia, illness and having a baby.
- Extreme emotional stress: mental illness, the death of a loved one, etc.
- An abnormal thyroid.
- Medications and supplements: blood pressure medicines, gout medicines and high doses of Vitamin A.
- Hormone changes caused by pregnancy, menopause or birth control pills.
What causes FPHL ?
- Genes: Your familys genes can cause thinning of hair along the top of your head.
- Aging: Hormone changes as you age can cause balding.
- Menopause: This type of hair loss often gets worse when estrogen is lost during menopause.
There are also some conditions that affect hair loss:
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When Does Menopause Occur
Most women reach menopause between 45-55 years of age, and the average age for women in Australia to reach menopause is 51-52 years. Some women will have a later menopause, at up to 60 years of age, especially if there is a family history of late menopause.
Menopause sometimes occurs earlier than expected as a result of cancer treatment, surgery or unknown causes. This is discussed further in ‘Causes of menopause’.
What Is The Average Age For Perimenopause
Perimenopause, also known as menopause transition or climacteric , takes place over several years in advance of the menopause. According to the North American Menopause Society, perimenopause can last for 4 to 8 years. Which makes the average age for perimenopause around your mid to late 40s. The average age for menopause is approx 51 for most women. However, it is possible for perimenopause to start in the late 30s and early 40s.
During perimenopause the ovaries gradually rebalance their oestrogen and progesterone production in preparation for the menopause and the final cessation of periods.
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What Symptoms Occur With Changes In Vaginal Health
- Irritation, burning, itching, chafing or other discomfort.
- Dryness due to decreased vaginal secretions, which may also mean sexual intercourse becomes uncomfortable or painful.
- Light bleeding, because the vagina may injure more easily. Any vaginal bleeding needs to be investigated.
- Inflammation, as part of GSM, which can lead to pain on urination and infection.
- Persistent, malodorous discharge caused by increased vaginal alkalinity. This may be mistaken for thrush.
How Long Do Perimenopause And Menopause Last
Perimenopause, sometimes referred to as menopausal transition, starts when a woman begins experiencing changes in her menstrual cycle , as well as symptoms related to a decline in estrogen levelsmost notably hot flashes.
The majority of women enter perimenopause sometime in their 40s, with the average age being 47. Perimenopause then ends when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months this is termed menopause.
Note that perimenopause refers to a period of time whereas menopause refers to a point in timea common misunderstanding and source of confusion.
The period of time after menopause is called postmenopause. During postmenopause, a woman has not had a menstrual cycle for over a year, although she may still be experiencing symptoms related to estrogen deficiency like vaginal atrophy.
The average length of perimenopause is four years, so the mean age at which a woman reaches menopause is 51 years old. Of course, though, this is simply an average and does not predict the precise duration of time for any individual woman.
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How Can Hair Loss In Women Be Prevented
Preventing hair loss is not possible when it is due to disease, aging, heredity or physical stressors like injuries. You can prevent hair loss caused by caustic chemicals or tight hairstyles by avoiding them. You might be able to prevent some hair loss by eating a healthy diet that provides necessary nutrients in terms of vitamins, minerals and protein. You can stop smoking.
Perimenopause And 8 Useful Steps To Take
Perimenopause takes place over several years in advance of the menopause. It’s often the time when you experience the most common symptoms of menopause. At perimenopause you’ll still have periods so that can be confusing. Before I hit 47 I’d never heard of perimenopause now I think it’s the key to understanding and preparing for the menopause. For many of us, it’s all about Peri. Consider the eight helpful steps outlined below. Read other women’s first-hand accounts of their experiences below.
Aisling Grimley, My Second Spring – supporting you at perimenopause.
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How Do I Stay Healthy After Menopause
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially as you age and your risk for certain medical conditions increases. Some ways for people in postmenopause to stay healthy include:
- Exercising regularly. Walking, doing yoga or strength training can help lower your risk for many medical conditions.
- Weight-bearing exercises can strengthen your bones and muscles.
- Eating a healthy diet. Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains should make up the bulk of your diet. Avoid lots of salt or sugar and limit your consumption of alcohol.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Going through menopause can be uncomfortable and present new challenges and health concerns. Speak with your healthcare provider about any symptoms you feel or questions you have. They can help make sure you are supported through this time and get the care you need.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/05/2021.
I Have A Hard Time Concentrating And Im Forgetful Is This A Normal Part Of Menopause
Unfortunately, difficulty with concentration and minor memory problems can often be a normal part of perimenopause, the time leading up to menopause . The good news is that it is likely to be temporary.
Current medical knowledge is limited as to why memory changes occur with perimenopause, and there are currently no treatments available to relieve these symptoms. If you are having memory problems, discuss this with your doctor. They can help manage memory problems or refer you to a provider who can.
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Get Professional Help If Needed
If you dont benefit sufficiently from self-help treatments, seek help from a mental health professional. While women suffering from depression respond to the same types of treatment as men, specific aspects of treatment are often modified for women. Women are also more likely to require simultaneous treatment for other conditions such as anxiety or eating disorders.
Therapy. Talk therapy is an extremely effective treatment for depression. It can provide you with the skills and insight to relieve depression symptoms and help prevent depression from coming back. One of the most important things to consider when choosing a therapist is your connection with this person. The right therapist will be a caring and supportive partner in your depression treatment and recovery.
Medication.Antidepressant medication may help relieve some symptoms of depression in women, but it wont cure the underlying problem. Because of female biological differences, women are generally started on lower doses of antidepressants than men. Women are also more likely to experience side effects, so any medication use should be closely monitored. Dont rely on a doctor who is not trained in mental health for guidance on medication, and remember that medication works best when you make healthy lifestyle changes as well.
What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause
Your body has been producing estrogen since puberty. Once your estrogen levels begin to decline, your body has to adjust to the changes in hormones.
The symptoms vary, but most people experience at least one of the following:
- Sleep problems .
- Changes in mood like irritability, depression or mood swings.
The length of time you have symptoms of perimenopause can vary between a few months to many years. The decrease in estrogen also can lead to bone thinning or changing cholesterol levels. Continue to have regular checkups with your healthcare provider to keep an eye on your health.
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Trigger Factors Of Menopausal Acne
Several factors that have been postulated to trigger or aggravate adult acne also play a role in menopausal acne, such as cosmetics, dietary factors, obesity, smoking, ultraviolet radiation, drugs, sleep deprivation and stress.
Defective barrier function of the skin followed by increase in transepidermal water loss may also be responsible for initiating the inflammatory cascade in acne, which is seen not only in lesional skin but also in perilesional skin in acne., In a study on 280 patients of adult acne, exposure to sunlight was responsible for aggravation in 93 patients, cosmetics in 40 patients and stress in 72 patients. Associated conditions such as obesity were observed in 6.4%, hirsutism in 5.7% and alopecia in 1.8%, though raised testosterone levels were seen in only 7 out of 230 female patients .
The relationship between obesity, hyperinsulinemia and hyperandrogenism in postmenopausal women is complex. A state of relative functional hyperandrogenism appears to be associated with abdominal obesity in women. Obesity also leads to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, which increases androgen levels, with insulin acting as a co-gonadotropin, In addition, hyperinsulinemia directly reduces serum SHBG levels, further aggravating hyperandrogenism. Genetic factors also play a role as a positive family history was found in 38.6% in one study and 56.8% in another study.
Sleep Problems And Mood Swings
Try these options to avoid sleep problems:
- Avoid large meals, smoking, coffee, or caffeine after noon.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Avoid exercise or alcohol close to bedtime.
- Drink warm milk or warm caffeine-free tea before bed.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet, and cool room.
- Treat hot flashes to improve sleep.
Easing stress, eating right, and staying physically active can help with mood swings and sleeping problems. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help with mood swings.
You should talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms and to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms, like depression or asthma. Its also helpful to join a support group for women in menopause so you have a safe place to share your concerns and issues.
Your doctor may also prescribe menopausal hormone therapy to help treat your symptoms. MHT can ease:
- hot flashes
Studies show that women who take MHT are at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. The risks are similar for women using contraceptive pills, patches, and rings. However, women taking MHT are older, and the risks increase with age.
Many women cant take MHT because of a previous illness such as cancer or because they take other medications.
Additional research found that the risk of getting breast cancer can increase with five or more years of continuous MHT use .
Women who have had their uterus removed will use estrogen-only therapy.
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What Happens In Your Body During A Hot Flash
Menopause is the main cause of hot flashes. During this transition, levels of the hormone estrogen fall. This drop in estrogen throws off your bodys thermostat a gland called the hypothalamus at the base of your brain that regulates your internal temperature.
Lower estrogen levels send a signal to the hypothalamus that youre too hot. In response, your brain sends a message to your body to cool you off just as it would do if you were outside on a hot day:
- Blood vessels near the surface of your skin widen to release heat. This creates the red flush you see on your skin.
- Your heart pumps faster.
- Your sweat glands open up. The sweat evaporates off your skin to cool down your body.
All of these actions produce the rush of heat that you feel during a hot flash.
Your body temperature can also rise several degrees during a hot flash. This rush of heat can make you feel very uncomfortable.
Certain things you do can even set off or worsen hot flashes, including:
- drinking strong coffee or tea
- eating spicy foods
- being outside on a hot day
- running a fever
- dressing too warmly
Some people who have their ovaries surgically removed go into premature menopause. They can also develop hot flashes.
Other causes of hot flashes arent due to the same low estrogen levels that cause them during menopause. Chemotherapy or hormone treatment for cancer can also trigger hot flashes, as can alcohol and certain medications.
A few diseases have also been linked to hot flashes, including:
What Is The Relationship Between Hair Loss In Women And Menopause
During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. You might start growing hair where you didnt before. Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased.
During and after menopause, hair might become finer because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases.
Your healthcare provider will do a thorough examination and take a detailed history to help you deal with changes in hair growth. You may be directed to have your iron levels or thyroid hormone levels tested. Your medications might be changed if what you take is found to affect hair loss or growth.
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How Long Do The Stages Of Menopause Last
Perimenopause typically lasts for four to six years, but it can last as long as 12 years for some women. In most cases, the onset occurs between ages 35-45. However, it can occur earlier or later in a minority of women. While they do remain potentially fertile during this time, it becomes far more difficult to conceive. Hot flashes, fatigue, chills, and other symptoms associated with menopause begin to emerge during this stage.
What Effect May Rosacea Have On A Persons Life
Rosacea may affect someones life minimally, moderately, or severely depending on how active the condition is and ones overall tolerance of the skin symptoms and signs.
Some individuals have absolutely no symptoms, and rosacea doesnt bother them. They may enjoy perfectly healthy normal lives without any effect from this benign skin condition. Some patients really like the pink glow to their cheeks and find it gives them a pleasant color without having to use blush. They may not even know they have rosacea. They usually do not want to use any treatment.
Patients with moderate rosacea may have periodic flares that require treatment with oral antibiotics, lasers, and other therapies. They may require oral antibiotic therapy for years. Some patients complain of looking like they have been drinking alcohol when in fact they dont drink at all. Although rosacea is not a grave medical situation, severe cases may damage some patients lives. It is important for these patients to express their concerns with their physician and to get professional help in treating their rosacea.
Overall, promptly diagnosed and properly treated, rosacea should not prevent people with the condition from enjoying long and productive lives.
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