Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Perimenopause
There are health risks associated with menopause, which happens right after perimenopause.
Estrogen plays an important role in preserving your bones. Osteoporosis is a condition where the insides of your bones become less dense and more fragile. This increases your risk for bone fractures. Your healthcare provider may recommend a multivitamin, calcium supplement, extra vitamin D or more weight-bearing exercises.
People in menopause are also at an increased risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular health conditions.
Menopause Symptoms Can Feel Like Pms
Some women develop symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome for the first time or have more acute levels of their normal PMS. These symptoms can be physical, psychological, or emotional. Most of us will have had some level of PMS during the second half of the monthly cycle over the years. Symptoms may have been getting stronger during your 30s and 40s, approaching menopause. Most common symptoms are irritability, aggression, tearfulness, mood swings, breast pain and fluid retention.
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Vicky Wondered What Was Wrong When She First Missed A Period She Thought There Was A Problem
People get scared when their periods stop, get worried, is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with my body that has caused my periods to stop? At first that is what I thought, I missed a period and then the next month too, is there a problem with my body? Because it had not happened before, I didnt know what it was, now I have been through it, I know that is a sign of the menopause, so I tell other people there is no need to worry.
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Complementary And Natural Remedies
As menopause is a natural event, some women dont want any medical intervention, while others try complementary and natural remedies. These include:
- phytoestrogens including soy extracts or red clover isoflavones
- foods rich in vitamins B and E
- black cohosh
- evening primrose oil and
Research into the possible benefits of such remedies is ongoing and some may not have any benefit at all. There is currently not enough evidence showing that complementary medicines are effective for doctors to routinely recommend their use. Also, natural or herbal remedies can have serious side effects just like other medicines. Black cohosh, for example, has been linked with several reports of liver damage.
What Are The First Signs Of Perimenopause
Generally, the first sign of perimenopause is irregular periods. Most people will go from having fairly predictable menstrual cycles to unpredictable cycles. A lot of people also experience the most common signs of menopause like hot flashes and vaginal dryness fairly early into the menopause transition.
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Calcium And Vitamin D
A combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the bone loss associated with menopause. The best sources are from calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods.
Doctors are currently reconsidering the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that healthy postmenopausal women dont need to take these supplements. According to the USPSTF, taking daily low-dose amounts of vitamin D supplements , with or without calcium supplements , does not prevent fractures. For higher doses, the USPSTF says there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation. In addition to possible lack of benefit, these supplements are associated with certain risks, like kidney stones.
However, calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients. Supplements may be appropriate for certain people including those who do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and those who do not consume enough calcium in their diet. They are also helpful for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take supplements.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones.
Periods Get Closer Together
For other women, their periods will start to get closer together. So instead of 28 days, it can go down to 24, 25 days. Sometimes, these periods get closer together, they can get longer, so instead of being maybe four or five days, they might start to go six to seven days as well. So you’ve got this phase of periods getting closer together, possibly getting longer, and possibly getting a bit heavier as well at this particular point.
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When Are You Actually In Menopause How Is Menopause Calculated Defined Or Diagnosed
Menopause is defined as taking place 1 year after a woman’s last period. Once you have had a consecutive 12 months with no period you are officially declared to be in the menopause – congratulations! So you can find yourself putting the clock back to zero a few times if your period returns after a few months break.
Some women have a period even after a 1-year break with no period. So you see why menopause can drive some women crazy – it’s so different and unpredictable!
When Does Perimenopause Start
The average age of menopause is 51, and perimenopause symptoms typically begin about four years before your final period. Most women start to notice perimenopause symptoms in their 40s. But perimenopause can happen a little earlier or later, too. The best predictor of when your final period will be is the age at which your mother entered menopause .
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Why Does Menopause Happen
Natural menopause menopause that happens in your early 50s and is not caused by surgery or another medical condition is a normal part of aging. Menopause is defined as a complete year without menstrual bleeding, in the absence of any surgery or medical condition that may cause bleeding to artificially stop As you age, the reproductive cycle begins to slow down and prepares to stop. This cycle has been continuously functioning since puberty. As menopause nears, the ovaries make less of a hormone called estrogen. When this decrease occurs, your menstrual cycle starts to change. It can become irregular and then stop. Physical changes can also happen as your body adapts to different levels of hormones. The symptoms you experience during each stage of menopause are all part of your bodys adjustment to these changes.
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Role Of Hormones During The Menstrual Cycle
While menstruation is orchestrated by many hormones, progesterone and estrogen are the primary ones connected to irregular periods.
Estrogen is responsible for thickening the uterine lining before ovulation. As levels of estrogen become erratic during menopause, this lining is often shed irregularly and can lead to heavy bleeding.
Progesterone plays a part in regulating the release of an egg, known as ovulation. It is also responsible for controlling the intensity and duration of menstrual bleeding. When progesterone declines during menopause, it can lead to irregular periods. During anovulation, which is common with irregular periods in menopause, progesterone is not produced, or at least not at sufficient levels.
As production of these two essential hormones begins to decrease prior to menopause, periods are usually affected. Before decreasing to a consistently low level, estrogen and progesterone levels will often fluctuate drastically and cause irregular periods.
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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 certain health risks, including osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke.
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from period problems or menopause symptoms. 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.6,7
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about treatments for vaginal dryness.
Of The Reproductive Journey
We usually diagnose menopause in hindsight, after that full year of absent periods. Ive found that most women know theyve reached menopause when they get there.
Even if your irregular periods turn out to be something else, youll face menopause eventually. Talk with your ob-gyn about what youre experiencing. Together we can work through this part of your health journey.
The views expressed in this article are those of Dr. Eisenberg and do not reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.
Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.
This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOGs complete disclaimer.
Dr. Esther Eisenberg
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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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Is It Unusual To Have Your Period At Age 62
Q1. Is it unusual to still have your period at age 62? Yes, its extremely unusual to have a true menstrual period at the age of 62. The average age that a woman goes through menopause is 51 years old. A very tiny fraction of women go through it as late as 58 to 60 years old, but after this age a vanishingly small number of women enter menopause.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
Discuss your perimenopause symptoms with your healthcare provider. It might help to keep a journal of your menstrual cycles including when they start and stop and the amount of bleeding.
Some questions you should ask are:
- Are these symptoms of perimenopause?
- What can I do to relieve my symptoms?
- How long do you think I will have these symptoms?
- Would hormone therapy be an option for me?
- Do I need to start taking medication or vitamins?
- Are there any tests that should be done?
- Can I still become pregnant?
The Course Of Perimenopause
A change in your periods is often the first sign of perimenopause, but there are other signs to look out for. The most common are hot flashes, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and a decrease in sex drive. Not every woman will experience all of these symptoms. For those who have symptoms, they may come in any order.
Once these symptoms arrive, most women can expect menopause itself to be a few years away.
There are many treatments to help with bothersome symptoms like hot flashes and sleeplessness. Even a few years of hormone therapy can help you get through the worst of it.
If you are prone to anxiety or depression, know that perimenopause can bring those conditions back to the surface. Finding a support network can make a big difference. Antidepressants also may be an option.
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How Will Menopause Affect Me
Symptoms of menopause may begin suddenly and be very noticeable, or they may be very mild at first. Symptoms may happen most of the time once they begin, or they may happen only once in a while. Some women notice changes in many areas. Some menopausal symptoms, such as moodiness, are similar to symptoms of premenstrual syndrome . Others may be new to you. For example:
- Your menstrual periods may not come as regularly as before. They also might last longer or be shorter. You might skip some months. Periods might stop for a few months and then start up again.
- Your periods might be heavier or lighter than before.
- You might have hot flashes and problems sleeping.
- You might experience mood swings or be irritable.
- You might experience vaginal dryness. Sex may be uncomfortable or painful.
- You may have less interest in sex. It may take longer for you to get aroused.
Other possible changes are not as noticeable. For example, you might begin to lose bone density because you have less estrogen. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Changing estrogen levels can also raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Talk to your doctor about possible for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.
My Periods Have Changed Is Menopause Around The Corner
An ob-gyn explains the course of perimenopause.
Its a common scene in any ob-gyn practice: A patient comes in, concerned that her periods have changed. Whats going on? she asks. Is this menopause?
If youre a woman in your 40s, a change in your menstrual periods is the hallmark of perimenopause thats what we call the years leading up to your last menstrual period.
Heres a look at how we diagnose perimenopause and menopause, and what else to expect as you enter this phase of life.
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Can Your Periods Stop ‘just Like That’
Hi -I shall be 50 next week . . . Apart from when I had the kids, my periods were regular as clockwork. I have now not had a period since July. Is this it? So quick and easy? I have occasionally woken up drenched in sweat! – but apart from that no sign of anything.
think it can be very different for everyone. I would go to the doctor now or nurse just for information.
Ha! You are jumping the gun a bit- you have to have had no periods for 2 years to be considered menopausal under the age of 50.As it is, you have missed 4 at most.Perfectly normal but no good thinking you are though it- sorry. Lots of my freids go 6 months or more before another few come along, then a gap, then some more.I missed my first at 51 and a half, then they came back and stopped at 53.5, then I have had 3 more in the past 18 months .They can stop suddenly but i think you may well find you have a visitor before long.No need to see dr- you aren’t ill.
Pah! Back with a vengeance this morning! Wonder if the next one will be in another 6 months? no symptoms apart from the odd night sweat.
I am 52. Mine seem to have just stopped. Have some hot flushes, mood swings but biggest problem is insomnia.
What Can I Do About Hot Flashes
Hot flashes occur from a decrease in estrogen levels. In response to this, your glands release higher amounts of other hormones that affect the brain’s thermostat, causing your body temperature to fluctuate. Hormone therapy has been shown to relieve some of the discomfort of hot flashes for many women. However, the decision to start using these hormones should be made only after you and your healthcare provider have evaluated your risk versus benefit ratio.
To learn more about women’s health, and specifically hormone therapy, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health launched the Women’s Health Initiative in 1991. The hormone trial had 2 studies: the estrogen-plus-progestin study of women with a uterus and the estrogen-alone study of women without a uterus. Both studies ended early when the research showed that hormone therapy did not help prevent heart disease and it increased risk for some medical problems. Follow-up studies found an increased risk of heart disease in women who took estrogen-plus-progestin therapy, especially those who started hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause.
The WHI recommends that women follow the FDA advice on hormone therapy. It states that hormone therapy should not be taken to prevent heart disease.
Practical suggestions for coping with hot flashes include:
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When Do Periods Stop At Menopause
There can be gaps of up to 12 months between periods. You could go for 3-4 months without a period and the have a regular period for a few months
When having sex it is well advised to use contraception for up to 24 months after our last period. If you are having intermittent periods then you are most likely still ovulating and could become pregnant.
Changes in the monthly cycle are an indication that you are in perimenopause. There is no typical pattern of change each woman can experience a combination of different symptoms.