Oral Contraceptives And Vaginal Treatments
Oral contraceptive pills
Oral contraceptive pills are another form of hormone therapy often prescribed for women in perimenopause to treat irregular vaginal bleeding. Women in the menopausal transition tend to have considerable breakthrough bleeding when given estrogen therapy. Therefore, oral contraceptives are often given to women in the menopause transition to regulate menstrual periods, relieve hot flashes, as well as to provide contraception. They are not recommended for women who have already reached menopause, because the dose of estrogen is higher than that needed to control hot flashes and other symptoms. The contraindications for oral contraceptives in women going through the menopause transition are the same as those for premenopausal women.
Local hormone and non-hormone treatments
There are also local hormonal treatments for the symptoms of vaginal estrogen deficiency. Local treatments include the vaginal estrogen ring , vaginal estrogen cream, or vaginal estrogen tablets. Local and oral estrogen treatments are sometimes combined for this purpose.
Vaginal moisturizing agents such as creams or lotions as well as the use of lubricants during intercourse are non-hormonal options for managing the discomfort of vaginal dryness.
Understand Your Bodys Changes At Menopause
It is important to understand the changes your body is going through before, during and after menopause. There are many different sources of information available. Make sure you seek out reputable websites and brochures that provide up-to-date, non-biased information from organisations that specialise in womens health.
Some examples include:
Menopause At A Glance
- Every woman is affected by menopause in some way either they experience symptoms or other physical changes.
- The average age of menopause is 51 years but you can enter menopause earlier.
- Hormonal changes cause menopausal symptoms.
- Most women will have some symptoms.
- Most women have symptoms for 5 to 10 years.
Menopause occurs when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months. Menopause is a natural part of life occurring at around age 51 years but can also happen for other reasons including after:
- surgery to remove ovaries and/or your womb/uterus
- radiotherapy to your pelvis.
At menopause, you stop producing oestrogen and this can lead to menopausal symptoms. Oestrogen levels can vary in the time leading up to the final menstrual period .
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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.
Irritability And Mood Problems
Suddenly, everyone is rude to you, all the drivers on the road are idiots, and your dog is barking way louder than usual everything is just wrong somehow. Perhaps, your changing hormones are the true culprit. Actually, studies have shown that the irritability and mood problems may be stemming from several causes including the lack of sleep mentioned above, kids moving away from home, aging parents, falling serotonin levels, and other issues that arise in your late 40s and early 50s.
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Menopause Mystery: Why Do Female Killer Whales Experience The Change Of Life
For people who cannot take estrogen therapy, or choose not to, Stuenkel says some drugs in the antidepressant family, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, can help with hot flashes. Stuenkel says, “While they’re not perfect, they can take the edge off and help enough so that women can get a better night’s sleep.”
There are an abundance of nonhormonal, nondrug treatment options for managing symptoms, some of which have significantly more evidence backing them than others. In 2015, a North American Menopause Society panel found that cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis were significantly effective in treating hot flashes. The same panel also found that popular herbal remedies are “unlikely to help,” although some NPR listeners who wrote in said they got relief from some of those treatments.
For depressive and anxiety symptoms, women may want to seek out professional counseling or a psychiatrist.
When do I need to see a doctor?
You might not need to at all. Some people sail right through menopause with little trouble. But if you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your life, it’s worth making an appointment. Some of these symptoms could indicate other problems that need treatment, such as fibroids or even cancer.
Ways to cope with symptoms
For people approaching this stage of life or who are already going through it, here are four steps for making this transition more manageable.
1. Get educated
2. Monitor your health
3. Practice smart self-care
4. Cultivate community
How Will I Know I Am In Menopause After My Hysterectomy
No periods for 12 months is the common sign that menopause has arrived. But what about for you? Youve had a hysterectomy, so you have hadnt periods in years. How are you going to know when menopause arrives?
No worries. More than likely, menopause is going to arrive with plenty of notice. More than you want.
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Signs Menopause May Be Beginning
Some women glide right through menopause while others agonize for months or years with uncomfortable symptoms. Every woman is different so there is no way to tell how your own passage will affect you. If you are between 45 and 50, you may begin to notice 7 signs menopause may be beginning.
Perimenopause: How To Spot The First Signs Of Menopause
3 Minute Read
Medically Reviewed by UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
Menopause doesnt happen overnight and the symptoms vary from person to person. Many women will ask: How will I know when I start menopause?
Technically, youre in menopause if you havent had a period for 12 straight months. Perimenopause is the time when your body begins to make the transition towards menopause.
Women start perimenopause at different ages. Its a normal phase of life that usually occurs anywhere from a womans early forties to mid-fifties.
The symptoms of menopause can be confusing. Some women experience every symptom, others barely any. And while some symptoms may occur for months, others can last for years. Here are some of the most common early signs of menopause.
If youre still asking yourself, How will I know when I start menopause? visit the Midlife Health Center at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital for more information.
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How Can I Tell If I’m Beginning Menopause
Menopause, the end of a womans monthly ovulation and monthly menstrual periods, occurs on average at about the age of 51. This is an average number, which doesnt take into account great variance. Some women begin menopause much sooner, and others much later. One of the predicting factors is the age your own mother began menopause. While menopause itself, when periods and ovulation truly stop is usually easy to recognize, its not so easy to recognize whether youre beginning menopause, and going through the stage called perimenopause or premenopause, which can occur as early as 15 years before your periods actually stop. There are some signs and symptoms you may be beginning menopause, in addition to medical tests that can help you decide if this change of life is on its way.
As early as their thirties, some women may feel they are starting menopause because of changes to their monthly cycle. Periods may become heavier or lighter. If youve had a predictable cycle in the past, this can change, and periods may happen either more or less frequently, and occur unexpectedly. Just as when you began your period, its a good idea to keep maxi pads or tampons with you in case an unexpected period occurs.
How Is Perimenopause Treated
There isnt any treatment to stop perimenopause. Perimenopause is a natural part of life. The cure for perimenopause occurs when your periods stop and you enter menopause.
But your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter or prescription perimenopause treatment to help ease symptoms. Your provider may recommend:
- Antidepressants: These medications help with mood swings or depression.
- Birth control pills. These medications stabilize your hormone levels and typically relieve symptoms.
- Estrogen therapy: This treatment stabilizes estrogen levels. You may take estrogen therapy as a cream, gel, patch or swallowable pill.
- Gabapentin : This medicine is a seizure medication that also relieves hot flashes for some women.
- Vaginal creams: Your provider can tell you about prescription and over-the-counter options. Treatment can decrease pain related to sex and relieve vaginal dryness.
Facts You Should Know About Menopause
- Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It is the time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases.
- The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman.
- The average age of menopause is 51 years old, but menopause may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s. There is no reliable lab test to predict when a woman will experience menopause.
- The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is not related to the age of menopause onset.
- Symptoms of menopause can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, hot flashes, vaginal and urinary symptoms, and mood changes.
- Complications that women may develop after menopause include osteoporosis and heart disease.
- Treatments for menopause are customized for each woman.
- Treatments are directed toward alleviating uncomfortable or distressing symptoms.
How Do I Know If I Am Going Through Early Or Premature Menopause
You know you have gone through menopause when you have not had your period for 12 months in a row. If you think you may be reaching menopause early, talk to your doctor or nurse.
- Your doctor or nurse will ask you about your symptoms, such as hot flashes, irregular periods, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness.
- Your doctor or nurse may give you a blood test to measure estrogen and related hormones, like . You may choose to get tested if you want to know whether you can still get pregnant. Your doctor or nurse will test your hormone levels in the first few days of your menstrual cycle .
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Perimenopause Complications
Irregular periods are the most common symptom of perimenopause. But its important to know when to talk to your healthcare provider about your periods. Sometimes, irregular bleeding can point to an underlying problem.
You can lower your risk of complications by seeking treatment when necessary. Talk to your healthcare provider if you:
- Bleed for more than seven days in a row.
- Bleed between periods.
- Change pads or tampons every one to two hours.
- Have periods more frequently than every 21 days.
What Can I Do About The Symptoms
There are a number of ways that you can alleviate your symptoms. Obviously, each symptom has its own list of do’s and don’ts, but there are also some overall things that you can do to help alleviate symptoms, such as:
- Exercise. Exercising two to five hours a week can help stabilize hormonal fluctuations, which are a contributing factor in many symptoms.
- Healthy eating. A diet consisting of complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and other essential nutrients can provide your body with vitamins that it needs to reduce symptoms. As you age, its harder for your body to retain vitamins, so its important to make sure you’re eating well so vitamin or nutrient deficiencies don’t worsen symptoms.
- Sufficient sleep. Making sure to sleep, and taking time to relax and recharge your body is essential. Lack of sleep can worsen a number of symptoms and hormonal fluctuations. For those women who suffer from night sweats, which may prevent them from getting a good night’s rest, you may want to click here to learn more about night sweats treatments.
If you feel severely troubled by your symptoms, always see a doctor. Sometimes menopause symptoms can mask more serious problems, and doctors also have the power to prescribe stronger treatment options.
Click on the following link to learn more about the lifestyle changes you can make to help combat your menopause symptoms.
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What Is Perimenopause Its When Menopause Symptoms Begin
Perimenopause or pre-menopause is a word that means around menopause. Perimenopause describes what happens to your body leading up to menopause. This stage typically starts about four to eight years before menopause.
When you enter perimenopause youll probably start to notice some early menopause symptoms like changes to your period or mood shifts. These changes happen because your bodys estrogen and progesterone levels are starting to naturally decline. As your ovaries produce lower amounts of these hormones, your body adapts. Its basically the reverse of what happened to your hormones as a teenager.
On Average Menopause Begins Around Age 52
Kathi Valeii is a freelance writer covering the intersections of health, parenting, and social justice.
Menopause occurs after a person stops having their period for 12 consecutive months. It naturally happens for many people when they are between the ages of 40 and 58. In the United States, the average age for menopause to start is 52 years.
Certain factors, like never having children and smoking, can make it more likely that menopause will occur earlier.
Before menopause, declining estrogen levels can cause people who menstruate to experience premenopausal symptoms. Menstrual changes, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are the result of hormonal shifts that are taking place during this time, which is called perimenopause.
Perimenopause can last from two to eight years. On average, people experience perimenopause for four years before menopause begins.
While many people go through menopause in their early fifties, there are a number of unique factors that determine at what age a person will start menopause, as well as what their experience will be like.
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.
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Drive
Yes, menopause can affect your sex drive but it doesnt mean your sex life is over.
Dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can make you feel less sexual desire. The symptoms can also affect your sleep and lower your energy which might make you not so into sex. Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation can also feel like a turn-off. Its also normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or loss while going through menopause.
If you lose interest in sex during this time, itll probably come back when your symptoms stop.
A pretty common symptom that can affect your sexual desire is vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
For symptoms that affect your sex life, trying one or more of these things can help:
Use water- or silicone-based lube when you have sex. You can buy lube at most drugstores or online.
Give your yourself more time to feel aroused. Moisture from being aroused protects sensitive tissues.
Have sex and/or masturbate more often. This increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep your vaginal tissue healthy.
Some people may actually find that they want to have sex MORE after menopause, because they dont have to worry about getting pregnant. This may give you a sense of freedom to enjoy a renewed and exciting sex life.
Menopause is a natural biological process. And while it marks the end of your ability to get pregnant, it definitely doesnt have to be the end of your sexuality.
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