Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms
Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used “off-label” and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .
Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed “off-label” for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:
Will I Experience The Same Symptoms As My Mother Sister Or Friends
The symptoms of menopause vary from one woman to another, even in the same families. The age and rate of decline of ovary function differ tremendously. This means youll need to manage your menopause individually. What worked for your mother or best friend may not work for you.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about menopause. They can help you understand your symptoms and find ways to manage them that work with your lifestyle.
When Do I Know That Im Having A Hot Flash
During a hot flash, youll likely feel your body temperature rise. Hot flashes affect the top half of your body, and your skin may even turn red in color or become blotchy. This rush of heat could lead to sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of dizziness. After the hot flash, you may feel cold.
Hot flashes may come on daily or even multiple times a day. You may experience them over the course of a year or even several years.
Avoiding triggers may reduce the number of hot flashes you experience. These can include:
- consuming alcohol or caffeine
Being overweight and smoking may also make hot flashes worse.
A few techniques may help reduce your hot flashes and their symptoms:
- Dress in layers to help with hot flashes, and use a fan in your home or office space.
- Do breathing exercises during a hot flash to try to minimize it.
Medications such as birth control pills, hormone therapy, or even other prescriptions may help you reduce hot flashes. See your doctor if youre having difficulty managing hot flashes on your own.
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Why Does Perimenopause Rage Happen
Your perimenopause rage doesnt mean that youre going crazy. You wont feel this way forever. Theres a chemical reason for what youre experiencing.
Estrogen affects the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a mood regulator and happiness booster. When your body produces less estrogen, your emotions may feel off-balance. Your emotions should stabilize after your body adjusts to the decrease in estrogen.
You may find that your feelings of rage are touch and go. It may be more prominent for a week or two, then disappear for the next month or so. This is because your estrogen levels are declining over time. Your estrogen-serotonin balance will be thrown off with each period of decline.
What Is Menopause Its A Moment In Time
Menopause is a specific point in time. Menopause occurs when periods stop and youve gone 12 consecutive months since having your last period. Once youve hit that moment, you enter post-menopause.
Reaching menopause means that youre no longer able to bear children. Every woman except for those whove had their ovaries removed before puberty will go through menopause.
When does menopause start?
The average menopause age is around 51. But some women experience menopause in their 40s with a small percentage experiencing menopause even younger. Some women may not reach menopause until their 60s.
Theres no way to know your exact menopause age until it happens, but genetics seem to play a strong role. You may get a general idea of when to expect menopause based on when your family members went through it, particularly your mother.
Genetics arent the only thing that can impact when menopause starts. Medical factors can also influence menopause timing. When the ovaries are removed, symptoms will begin to show immediately.
Certain medical conditions like autoimmune diseases have also been associated with early menopause. Women whove undergone treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy are also more likely to show symptoms earlier.
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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.
Menopause: Changes And Challenges
Alta Bates Summit Medical CenterBerkeley, California
US Pharm. 2018;43:13-16.
Menopause is the cessation of menstruation in a woman, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55 years. Smokers and women with chronic diseases may experience earlier menopause.1 This is a natural biological process, not a disease.
Menopause and perimenopausethe period of transition beginning 2 to 8 years before and lasting up to 1 year after a womans final menstrual periodoccur because as women get older, the ovaries begin to shut down.1 Eventually, ovaries stop producing estrogen and other hormones. Since the body has depended on these hormones for years, when hormone levels decrease, the changes are noticeable and may result in emotional reactions and bodily changes.2 These may include physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, decreased energy levels, and sleep disruption, as well as mood-related symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. Over time, these symptoms gradually disappear.1 Although menopause ends fertility, women can stay healthy, vital, and sexual. This article will briefly review the physiology and types of menopause, signs and symptoms, and symptomatic treatment.
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Symptoms Of The Menopause
Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.
Common symptoms include:
- reduced sex drive
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
Effective Ways To Treat Menopause Symptoms
Various treatment options are available, depending on your symptoms, current health, health history, and preferences. You dont have to be ashamed to discuss menopause, and you dont have to suffer through the symptoms.;
One of the most effective treatment options for hot flashes, hair loss, and vaginal dryness is hormone replacement therapy, also known as HRT. Womens Health Care Center offers both bioidentical hormones, which are naturally sourced hormones, and conventional HRT ; synthetically made hormones.
Both forms of HRT can help regulate hormone imbalances due to menopause. If you have a history of breast cancer or blood clots, or you are a smoker, you may not be a good candidate for HRT. You should consult your doctor before trying HRT.;
Vaginal estrogen is an effective treatment for vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. A small dose of estrogen can help relieve these symptoms.;
Other treatment options include low-dose antidepressants, diet changes, and lifestyle modifications to improve your overall health and wellness. Additionally, lowering your room temperature at night and dressing in layers can help you manage hot flashes.;
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What Conditions Cause Premature Menopause
Your genes, some immune system disorders, or medical procedures can cause premature menopause. Other causes include:
- Premature ovarian failure. When your ovaries prematurely stop releasing eggs, for unknown reasons, your levels of estrogen and progesterone change. When this happens before youâre 40, it’s called premature ovarian failure. Unlike premature menopause, premature ovarian failure isnât always permanent.
- Induced menopause. This happens when your doctor takes out your ovaries for medical reasons, such as uterine cancer or endometriosis. It can also happen when radiation or chemotherapy damages your ovaries.
How Will Menopause Affect Me
Menopause affects every woman differently. Most women get some hot flushes and/or night sweats but are able to manage these without treatment. Around 20 per cent of women have symptoms which are troublesome and/or prolonged and these women may consider treatment. The experience of menopause and symptoms differ in women from different ethnic groups, for example, for some Asian women, body and joint aches and pains are the most troublesome symptom.
Factors that may affect your experience of menopause
- Your age at menopause. Younger women who were not expecting to go through menopause may have more difficulty than;women at the average age.
- What you are expecting of menopause. Women who expect to have troublesome menopausal symptoms are more likely to experience troublesome symptoms when they go through menopause. So, a positive and informed approach to menopause may help.
- Many women are relieved that they no longer have menstrual periods and are no longer fertile.;
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What Is Perimenopause
Perimenopause has been variously defined, but experts generally agree that it begins with irregular menstrual cycles courtesy of declining ovarian function and ends a year after the last menstrual period.
Perimenopause varies greatly from one woman to the next. The average duration is three to four years, although it can last just a few months or extend as long as a decade. Some women feel buffeted by hot flashes and wiped out by heavy periods; many have no bothersome symptoms. Periods may end more or less abruptly for some, while others may menstruate erratically for years. Fortunately, as knowledge about reproductive aging has grown, so have the options for treating some of its more distressing features.
When To See A Gp
It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.
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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 don’t 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.
What Are The Hormonal Changes During Menopause
The traditional changes we think of as “menopause” happen when the ovaries no longer produce high levels of hormones. The ovaries are the reproductive glands that store eggs and release them into the fallopian tubes. They also produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as testosterone. Together, estrogen and progesterone control menstruation. Estrogen also influences how the body uses calcium and maintains cholesterol levels in the blood.
As menopause nears, the ovaries no longer release eggs into the fallopian tubes, and youll have your last menstrual cycle.
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.
How Is Menopause Diagnosed
There are several ways your healthcare provider can diagnose menopause. The first is discussing your menstrual cycle over the last year. If you have gone a full year without a period, you may be postmenopausal. Another way your provider can check if you are going through menopause is a blood test that checks your follicle stimulating hormone level. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland this gland is located at the base of your brain. However, this test can be misleading during the beginning of menopause when your body is transitioning and your hormone levels are fluctuating up and down. Hormone testing always need to be interpreted in the context of what is happening with the menstrual period.
For many women, a blood test is not necessary. If you are having the symptoms of menopause and your periods have been irregular, talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to diagnose menopause after your conversation.
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What Is The Menopause
The menopause refers to that time in every womans life when her periods stop and her ovaries lose their reproductive function. Usually, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but in a few exceptional cases women may become menopausal in their 30s, or even younger. This is then known as a premature menopause, or premature ovarian insufficiency.
The menopause is influenced by hormones or more correctly, by a change in hormone levels. During a womans fertile years, her ability to produce an egg each month is associated with the release of three reproductive hormones , that are referred to collectively as oestrogen. Oestrogen is mainly produced by the ovaries, though small amounts are also made by the adrenal glands and by the placenta of a pregnant woman.
It is oestrogen which stimulates female characteristics at puberty and controls a womans reproductive cycle: the development and release of an egg each month for implantation in the uterus , and the way in which the lining of the womb thickens to accept a fertilized egg. The monthly period happens because no implantation has taken place there is no pregnancy and the lining of the womb is shed.
At around the age of 50-55 years, the monthly cycle stops completely so no more ovulations, no more periods and no more pregnancies. This is the menopause.
So Why Does Menopause Affect Women Differently
When it comes to hot flushes, some research has shown that women have different tolerance levels to changes in core body temperature. But this wouldnt explain the other varying degrees of menopausal symptoms. The simple answer is that our bodies are of course all genetically different, and its our genetics that play a big part in how we react to the changes in hormones. Certain environmental factors, such as smoking, can lead to premature menopause, which could be one of the reasons you are going through the change earlier than your friends. However in the most part and to answer the question why do some women suffer more than others through menopause? its down to genetics.
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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.