What Is The Menopause And What Is Menopause Age
Menopause is when a womans menstrual cycle stops permanently. Once in this stage, a woman can no longer become pregnant. The time leading up to this event is actually called perimenopause. During perimenopause, periods grow infrequent.
Menopause is confirmed 12 months after your last period. Bleeding after this point is called postmenopausal bleeding and it is considered abnormal bleeding. This stage usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.
Karens Heavy Bleeding And Clotting While On Hrt Was Totally Inconvenient And Interfered With
Was it heavy bleeding?Not all the time. It was clotted at points, which I think thats when it started really getting to my brain that this was totally inconvenient. If you went anywhere you had to go prepared so it was actually interfering with my general life. It affects almost everything you do, as I say, even going shopping, youve got to go prepared. I needed to know where the nearest loo was. Even going out for meals with friends, everything like that, it does affect you and it affects how you feel. And your moods, your tempers and not wanting to go out and holidays become even more difficult, youve got small children who want to go swimming.And then I think it must have been, Im trying to think when it was, must have been after about six years it became that my periods were going on and they were forced periods because of the HRT, but they were lasting longer than the days that I had off and I was feeling generally unwell and the doctor was still quite happy that I should stay on HRT. All that he really checked was my blood pressure and my weight and they seemed to be okay. Eventually he referred me to a gynaecologist at it was quite quick and they did a scan and said that Id got quite large polyps and fibroids. And they whipped me in the hospital quite quickly.
Hormone Treatment And Therapy
Estrogen and progesterone therapy
Hormone therapy , or menopausal hormone therapy , consists of estrogens or a combination of estrogens and progesterone . This was formerly referred to as hormone replacement therapy . Hormone therapy controls the symptoms of menopause-related to declining estrogen levels , and HT is still the most effective way to treat these symptoms. But long-term studies of women receiving combined hormone therapy with both estrogen and progesterone were halted when it was discovered that these women had an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer when compared with women who did not receive HT. These risks were most pronounced in women over 60 taking hormone therapy. Later studies of women taking estrogen therapy alone showed that estrogen was associated with an increased risk for stroke, but not for heart attack or breast cancer. Estrogen therapy alone, however, is associated with an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women who have not had their uterus surgically removed.
Hormone therapy is available in oral , transdermal forms . Transdermal hormone products are already in their active form without the need for “first pass” metabolism in the liver to be converted to an active form. Since transdermal hormone products do not have effects on the liver, this route of administration has become the preferred form for most women.
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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.
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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What Triggers A Hot Flash
There are quite a few normal things in your daily life that could set off a hot flash. Some things to look out for include:
- Tight clothing.
- Stress and anxiety.
Heat, including hot weather, can also trigger a hot flash. Be careful when working out in hot weather this could cause a hot flash.
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.
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Can Menopause Cause Depression
Your body goes through a lot of changes during menopause. There are extreme shifts in your hormone levels, you may not be sleeping well because of hot flashes and you may be experiencing mood swings. Anxiety and fear could also be at play during this time. All of these factors can lead to depression.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. During your conversation, your provider will tell you about different types of treatment and check to make sure there isnt another medical condition causing your depression. Thyroid problems can sometimes be the cause of depression.
Changes You May Notice
Your periods become irregular.
This is the classic sign that you are on your way to menopause. Your periods may come more often or less often, be heavier or lighter, or last longer or shorter than before.
When you’re in perimenopause, it can be hard to predict when, or if, your next period may come. It’s also harder to gauge how long your period will last or if your flow will be heavy or light. It’s harder to get pregnant during this phase, but it’s still possible as long as you have periods.
You have hot flashes and night sweats.
Like so many symptoms of menopause, hot flashes and night sweats can vary a lot from woman to woman. They can last 1 minute or 5 minutes. They can be mild or severe. You can have several an hour, one a week, or never have them.
For some women, these symptoms go on for years or decades after they’ve stopped their periods — into the time called postmenopause.
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My Experience Of Periods Changing Prior To Menopause By Aisling Grimley Founder My Second Spring
“At 47 I missed my period one month and thought I might be pregnant as I also experienced some hormone surges that reminded me of pregnancy. I had some red rage moments and very tender breasts.
During the following 5/6 years of perimenopause, I went through times of having regular monthly periods in my classic pattern for a few months. Then I might skip up to 6 months only to have periods return to normal again. During the gaps with no period, I sometimes had PMS like symptoms and mild cramps when I reckon I should have had a period. Sometimes my cramps were very painful, at other times I had no pain at all. My last periods were quite light and I never experienced flooding but I know it is very usual to have one or two very heavy periods before they stop altogether.
At 53 I had my last period and I am now period-free for 15 months so I declare myself to be in The Menopause!” Aisling
Menopause Symptoms At Age 40
For the vast majority of women, menopause symptoms dont start this early. If menopause happens before age 40, its called premature menopause. If it happens between age 40 and age 45, its known as early menopause. Fewer than 10 percent of women experience premature or early menopause.
But if youre in your early 40s and are regularly experiencing symptoms such as changes to your periods timing or flow, hot flashes, mood changes or sleep problems, dont ignore them. Talk with a womens health specialist.
A specialist like an OB-GYN or certified nurse-midwife can work with you to determine whether your symptoms are related to menopause, or another reason such as hormonal disorders or other health conditions.
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Charlottes Heavy Periods And Potential For Flooding Are Scary And Embarrassing Once She Was
I remember having sort of heavy periods but they might have been more clotty periods early on and them being difficult to manage and not very nice but certainly this potential for flooding is scary. Its scary. And Ive been caught out. Ive been in a situation where I drove to the Trafford Centre shopping with my daughter and I had tampons and pads on and I stepped out of the car and there was this woosh and fortunately my daughters a doctor so shes quite comfortable, she wouldnt have been embarrassed or anything by that. But I was terribly embarrassed. I couldnt move, I couldnt walk forward or backward and of course I had to send her into Marks & Spencer to get me some clothing, all of that. So it could be as bad as that standing up from sitting down somewhere at work and then realising your skirts or your trousers and got to deal with that kind of thing. Being kind of anxious about that possibility. Yeah, so yeah it can impinge on what you do. I tried not to let it impinge on things. I said I liked walking I try not to let it impinge on things like that but Id be talking about stacks of supplies going round here there and everywhere with me that kind of thing. So, yeah, I think you perhaps know that other people struggle like that but you almost dont say anything, sort of feel Ive got to manage it, Ive got to cope with it. I cant say Im going home now, Im having a terrible day of it. Youve got to just keep going.
Ht Forms And Regimens
HT comes in several forms:
- Oral tablets or pills
- Vaginal ring
- Topical gel or spray
HT pills and skin patches are considered “systemic” therapy because the medication delivered affects the entire body. The risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers is higher with hormone pills than with skin patches or other transdermal forms.
Vaginal forms of HT are called “local” therapy. Doctors generally prescribe vaginal applications of low-dose estrogen therapy to specifically treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex. This type of ET is available in a cream, tablet, or ring that is inserted into the vagina.
“Bioidentical” hormone therapy is promoted as a supposedly more natural and safer alternative to commercial prescription hormones. Bioidentical hormones are typically compounded in a pharmacy. Some compounding pharmacies claim that they can customize these formulations based on saliva tests that show a woman’s individual hormone levels.
The FDA and many professional medical associations warn patients that “bioidentical” is a marketing term that has no scientific validity. Formulations sold in these pharmacies have not undergone FDA regulatory scrutiny. Some of these compounds contain estriol, a weak form of estrogen, which has not been approved by the FDA for use in any drug. In addition, saliva tests do not give accurate or realistic results, as a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day.
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How Are Cramps After Menopause Diagnosed
If you have cramps after menopause, make an appointment with your primary care doctor or OB-GYN so you can find out whats causing them. Your doctor may do a pelvic exam to look at your uterus to see if there are any physical problems.
You might also need imaging tests to look inside your body at your uterus or ovaries. These tests can include:
- a CT scan
- an MRI scan
- a hysterosonography and hysteroscopy, which involve placing a salt and water solution, or saline, into your uterus so the doctor can examine it more easily
- an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create pictures of the inside of your body
If your doctor suspects you have cancer, you may need to have a procedure to remove a piece of tissue from your uterus or ovaries. This is called a biopsy. A specialist called a pathologist will look at the tissue under a microscope to determine if its cancerous.
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.
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Without Menopause Symptoms How Can I Confirm
Perimenopause is diagnosed by considering various factors: symptoms, age, and menstrual pattern.
Taking a menopause diagnostic test will help a doctor confirm that women are, indeed, in perimenopause and about to end their fertile years. Among the options are follicle stimulating hormone , estrogen, or thyroid stimulating hormone tests.
Furthermore, in order to track menstrual patterns, women are encouraged to keep a journal of any menstrual irregularities and other symptoms possibly observed.
Trouble Focusing And Learning
In the lead-up to menopause two-thirds of women may have difficulty with concentration and memory.
Keeping physically and mentally active, following a healthful diet, and maintaining an active social life can help with these issues. For example, some people benefit from finding a new hobby or joining a club or a local activity.
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How Can You Alleviate Perimenopausal Symptoms
Some women deal with the symptoms of perimenopause, and some women seek treatment for specific health concerns. Women with heavy bleeding, periods that last longer than seven days, spotting between periods or cycles that are less than 21 days should contact a doctor.
Typically, perimenopause is a gradual transition, and no particular test indicates what is happening to the body. Hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen treatments and antidepressants can help treat perimenopausal symptoms.
Start by identifying what’s bothering you most and then working with your doctor to address it. There are steps you can take to feel better. Lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in easing perimenopausal symptoms and improving your overall health include:
What Are The Stages
The process happens slowly over three stages:
Perimenopause. Your cycles will become irregular, but they havenât stopped. Most women hit this stage around age 47. Even though you might notice symptoms like hot flashes, you can still get pregnant.
Menopause. This is when youâll have your final menstrual period. You wonât know for sure itâs happened until youâve gone a year without one. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are common in this stage.
Postmenopause. This begins when you hit the year mark from your final period. Once that happens, youâll be referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that after more than 1 year of no menstrual periods due to menopause, vaginal bleeding isn’t normal, so tell your doctor if you have any ASAP.
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What Is Menopause
Menopause is the time in a womans life when her monthly menstrual periods stop because their body stops producing the female hormone estrogen. Your doctor will tell you that youre officially in menopause when you havent had a period for a full year.
Your periods will likely taper off in the months leading up to menopause. You may have symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
What You Can Do
Consider keeping a journal to track your periods. Include information such as:
- when they start
- whether you have any in-between spotting
You can also log this information in an app, like Eve.
Worried about leaks and stains? Consider wearing panty liners. Disposable panty liners are available at most drugstores. They come in a variety of lengths and materials.
You can even buy reusable liners that are made of fabric and can be washed over and over again.
A skipped period can also cause the lining to build up, leading to heavy bleeding.
Bleeding is considered heavy if it:
- soaks through one tampon or pad an hour for several hours
- requires double protection such as a tampon and pad to control menstrual flow
- causes you to interrupt your sleep to change your pad or tampon
- lasts longer than 7 days
When bleeding is heavy, it may last longer, disrupting your everyday life. You may find it uncomfortable to exercise or carry on with your normal tasks.
Heavy bleeding can also cause fatigue and increase your risk for other health concerns, such as anemia.
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