Can Menopause Be Treated
Menopause is a natural process that your body goes through. In some cases, you may not need any treatment for menopause. When treatment for menopause is discussed, its about treating the symptoms of menopause that disrupt your life. There are many different types of treatments for the symptoms of menopause. The main types of treatment for menopause are:
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider while you are going through menopause to craft a treatment plan that works for you. Every person is different and has unique needs.
What To Expect During Diagnosis
After discussing your symptoms, your provider will perform a pelvic exam.
During the exam, theyll check your vulva for unusual redness, swelling, or other symptoms. Theyll insert a speculum into your vagina so they can inspect inside the vagina and cervix.
Your provider may take a small sample of discharge to send to a lab for testing. The lab technician will likely check the pH level. A high pH level means your discharge is more basic. Its easier for bacteria to grow in a more basic environment. This is a pH level above 4.5.
They may also view the sample under a microscope to look for yeast, bacteria, and other infectious substances. An infection can change the texture, amount, or smell of your discharge.
The results of these tests will help your healthcare provider determine whether treatment is necessary, and if so, which treatment is best.
Fluctuations usually result from changing estrogen levels and dont require treatment.
If your doctor diagnoses DIV, they may recommend topical clindamycin or hydrocortisone to help relieve symptoms.
If your symptoms are the result of a fungal or bacterial infection, your doctor will recommend an over-the-counter or prescription topical to soothe irritation and clear the infection.
Treatment options are also available for symptoms that result from a sexually transmitted infection or other cause unrelated to perimenopause.
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.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Will I Still Enjoy Sex After Menopause
You should still be able to enjoy sex after menopause. Sometimes, decreased sex drive is related to discomfort and painful intercourse. After treating the source of this pain , many women are able to enjoy intimacy again. Hormone therapy can also help many women. If you are having difficulties enjoying sex after menopause, talk to your healthcare provider.
How Does Menopause Affect My Bladder Control
Unfortunately, bladder control issues are common for women going through menopause. There are several reasons why this happens, including:
- Estrogen. This hormone plays several roles in your body. It not only controls your period and promotes changes in your body during pregnancy, estrogen also keeps the lining of your bladder and urethra healthy.
- Pelvic floor muscles. Supporting the organs in your pelvis your bladder and uterus are called the pelvic floor muscles. Throughout your life, these muscles can weaken. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth and from weight gain. When the muscles weaken, you can experience urinary incontinence .
Specific bladder control problems that you might have can include:
- Stress incontinence .
- Urge incontinence .
- Painful urination .
- Nocturia .
Also Check: How Long Between Periods During Menopause
Thank You Second Springers For Commenting
Have a read of the very useful comments and discussions below to gain an understanding of the variety of women’s’ experiences of periods around the time of perimenopause. Many thanks to these fabulous Second Spring women for taking the time to comment and share their experiences. We all learn so much from each other. This menopause conversation needs to be louder and clearer to stop women from suffering in silence and feeling very isolated.
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When To Seek Assistance And Advice
If you are;experiencing symptoms that are causing physical discomfort, or impacting on your daily life, we encourage you to seek professional advice about ways best to support you.;Any abnormal symptoms or concerns should be discussed with your;health care professional.
If you are experiencing any of the following, we advise you to speak with a trusted healthcare professional as soon as possible:
Changing tampons or pads every hour for several hours in a row
Bleeding that lasts for more than eight days
Bleeding that occurs more frequently than every three weeks
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
The Most Common Hormonal Changes During Menopause
Periods may be shorter or longer and bleeding may be heavier or lighter. Essentially, your body will feel like it is on a hormonal roller coaster ride.
The most common hormonal changes that occur are an overall decrease in the amount of estrogen and progesterone. Although women have low levels compared to men, testosterone levels may also decrease. Changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone affect breast tissue, the vagina, the lining of the uterus, and bone density. Changes in levels of testosterone can decrease sex drive.
Although there is an overall decrease in estrogen and progesterone, at times, levels may also increase creating fluctuations that lead to irregularities in the menstrual cycle. You may skip periods for one month or several months. Periods may be shorter or longer and bleeding may be heavier or lighter. Essentially, your body will feel like it is on a hormonal roller coaster ride.
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.
Also Check: Dizziness During Menopause
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Life
After menopause, your body has less estrogen. This major change in your hormonal balance can affect your sex life. Many menopausal women may notice that theyre not as easily aroused as before. Sometimes, women also may be less sensitive to touch and other physical contact than before menopause.
These feelings, coupled with the other emotional changes you may be experiencing, can all lead to a decreased interest in sex. Keep in mind that your body is going through a lot of change during menopause. Some of the other factors that can play a role in a decreased sex drive can include:
- Having bladder control problems.
- Having trouble sleeping through the night.
- Experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.
- Coping with other medical conditions and medications.
All of these factors can disrupt your life and even cause tension in your relationship. In addition to these changes, the lower levels of estrogen in your body can actually cause a decrease in the blood supply to the vagina. This can cause dryness. When you dont have the right amount of lubrication in the vagina, it can be thin, pale and dry. This can lead to painful intercourse.
Period Problems In Perimenopause
Irregular Period Perimenopause This is usually the first indication that a woman is in perimenopause and it can be disconcerting and frustrating for many women. While there is not much you can do to restore regularity to your period during perimenopause, you can prepare ahead of time.
- Make sure you have your preferred period products at the ready in your purse, car, desk, etc.
- Wear black underwear or even invest in some period underwear that is absorptive so that you do not ruin any clothing.
- Monitor your periods by tracking them with a period app, or write down your periods and symptoms in a journal or planner.
Missed Period Perimenopause This symptom can be exciting or concerning for many women. Some women get excited about missed periods because that means they may be getting near menopause, which is diagnosed after you have not had a period in twelve months. Other women, especially at the beginning of perimenopause, may be concerned about pregnancy if they miss a period. To settle your mind about having missed periods:
Use a form of birth control to protect yourself from pregnancy if you do not wish to become pregnant.
If you are concerned you may be pregnant, settle your mind by taking a home pregnancy test. The cost of a home test can be worth the peace of mind. Alternatively, you could make an appointment with your doctor to have a blood test to see if you are pregnant or if your hormones, specifically follicle-stimulating hormone is declining.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
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.
Cause Of The Menopause
A number of hormones are responsible for initiating your menstrual cycle each month. These are controlled by other hormones which are released from the pituitary gland in the brain. When a woman reaches a certain age, your pituitary hormones begin to decline, which in turn means that the ovaries stop producing their sex hormones as efficiently this means ovulation will stop. As ovulation stops, so do your periods.
However, this process often happens very gradually and hormone fluctuations along the way are common this means the irregular periods and other symptoms as described below are often a part of the experience.
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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.
How Long Are Normal Perimenopause Periods
Ordinarily, your menstrual cycle occurs every 21 to 35 days and lasts from 2 to 7 days.; However, perimenopause periods can last much longer. Some months, the ovaries might not produce sufficient levels of estrogen and progesterone, preventing menstruation altogether. Other months, the imbalance might cause the uterine lining to become overly thick, which means it will take longer to be shed by your body to shed.;
Excessive bleeding and long periods are fairly common during perimenopause. Many women experience an increased flow and extended perimenopause periods before entering menopause.
If youve had periods that are several days longer or more frequent or heavier than usual, its a good idea to see your doctor.
Recommended Reading: Menopause Dizzy Spells
What Are The Stages Leading Up To Menopause
After puberty, there are three other phases of female fertility:
- Pre-menopause:;Women have full ovarian function, regularly produce estrogen and ovulate.
- Perimenopause:;The ovaries begin to fluctuate in their ovulation and production of estrogen, which can result in unpredictable menstrual cycles and symptoms.
- Menopause: When the ovaries have shut down. Someone would be in menopause after 12 months without menses.
What Is Perimenopause Or The Transition To Menopause
Perimenopause , or the menopausal transition, is the time leading up to your last period. Perimenopause means around menopause.
Perimenopause is a long transition to menopause, or the time when your periods stop permanently and you can no longer get pregnant. As your body transitions to menopause, your hormone levels may change randomly, causing menopause symptoms unexpectedly.; During this transition, your ovaries make different amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone than usual.
Irregular periods happen during this time because you may not ovulate every month. Your periods may be longer or shorter than usual. You might skip a few months or have unusually long or short menstrual cycles. Your period may be heavier or lighter than before. Many women also have hot flashes and other menopause symptoms during this transition.
Read Also: Light Headedness And Menopause
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.
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.
Also Check: Is There A Pill For Menopause
Age Is Poor Predictor
A woman is said to have reached menopause when she has not had a period for a year. The average age when this occurs is 51. But because some women reach menopause in their early 40s and others in their late 50s, age is a poor predictor of menopausal status.
The period of transition to menopause, when women often experience hot flashes and other hormonally driven symptoms, is widely accepted to last around four years. But the new study shows that hormonal changes may often occur much earlier than this, Freeman says.
“This is important for women to know if they are having hot flashes or other symptoms,” she tells WebMD. “Physicians may not associate these symptoms with the transition to menopause in younger women.”
The study involved 427 women between the ages of 35 and 47 who were followed for five years. Researchers checked fertility-related hormone levels periodically, and the women also provided detailed information about the timing of their monthly cycles.
Writing in the March/April issue of the journal Menopause, researcher Clarisa Gracia, MD, and colleagues found that even small changes in cycle length were associated with changes in two important fertility hormones — FSH and inhibin B.
As the transition progresses, cycle length tends to get longer and periods are missed.
Some women have heavier periods early in the transition to menopause and others have lighter-than-normal flows.
Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society