How Does Menopause Affect Bone Health
The older a person is, the greater their risk of;osteoporosis. A persons risk becomes even greater when they go through menopause. When your estrogen level decreases during menopause, you lose more bone than your body can replace. This makes your bones weaker and more likely to break. To keep your bones strong, its important to get enough calcium and;vitamin;D in your diet. These help your body absorb calcium. Your doctor can suggest ways to get more calcium through food, drink, and, possibly, a calcium supplement. They may also suggest that you take a vitamin D supplement to help your body process calcium. Ask your doctor what amount of daily calcium and vitamin D is right for you.
Understanding Your Menopause Blood Test Results
Your hormones fluctuate a lot, especially leading up to menopause. So it’s often recommended that you do a second test, 4-6 weeks later, if your first FSH level is raised to build a more accurate picture. If your FSH levels are raised in both instances, then it can suggest that youre menopausal.
Heres a brief overview of what your results might show.
Thyroid hormonesIf your thyroid hormones are out of range it can cause symptoms like irregular periods, weight changes, tiredness, anxiety, and restlessness similar to menopausal symptoms. So its a good idea to rule out a thyroid disorder when doing a menopause test.
FSHIn most cases, your FSH levels are the strongest indicator that youre perimenopausal or menopausal especially if its combined with missing periods.
OestrogenYour oestrogen levels drop as you reach menopause which is largely responsible for a lot of symptoms associated with menopause.
If your results show low oestrogen levels this can mean that youre perimenopausal or menopausal.
Luteinising hormone Your LH levels increase as you reach menopause. Raised LH levels, combined with your other hormone levels, can indicate that youre perimenopausal or menopausal.
Recommended listening for you;
Will I Start Menopause If I Have A Hysterectomy
During a hysterectomy, your uterus is removed. You wont have a period after this procedure. However, if you kept your ovaries removal of your ovaries is called an oophorectomy you may not have symptoms of menopause right away. If your ovaries are also removed, you will have symptoms of menopause immediately.
Don’t Miss: How To Increase Breast Size After Menopause
Your Vagina Will Undergo Some Changes
While hot flashes will make you uncomfortable, there will also be some actual physical changes in your body including changes to your vagina. Due to a decrease in estrogen production, the lining in your vagina begins to thin. In addition to thinning, your body also produces fewer secretions, which will lead to vaginal dryness and possible inflammation. This may cause uncomfortable sexual intercourse, redness, and itchiness. This discomfort can lead to a loss of sexual desire. Over-the-counter remedies are available in the form of vaginal lubricants, and there are also prescription options available.
Increased Risk Of Some Health Conditions
After menopause, the risk of certain health issues appears to increase. Menopause does not cause these conditions, but the hormonal changes involved may play some role.
Osteoporosis: This is a long-term condition in which bone strength and density decrease. A doctor may recommend taking vitamin D supplements and eating more calcium-rich foods to maintain bone strength.
Cardiovascular disease: The American Heart Association note that, while a decline in estrogen due to menopause may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, taking hormone therapy will not reduce this risk.
Breast cancer: Some types of breast cancer are more likely to develop after menopause. Menopause breast cancer, but hormonal changes involved appear to increase the risk.
Skin changes can also occur around the time of menopause. Find out more.
Also Check: Can You Have Night Sweats After Menopause
How Can I Tell If Ive Reached Menopause
The average age of menopause is around 51 years old. Once an individual with a uterus has gone 12 months without a period, they have reached menopause. However, this may be difficult to track if the individual is taking hormonal birth control. Some may choose to stop birth control once they start to notice symptoms of perimenopause for this reason, but this does not have to be the case for all individuals. If one does choose to stop taking birth control, they should use another form of contraception to prevent pregnancy.;
Also Check: What Is The Male Version Of Menopause
How Long Does Menopause Last
Menopause is a single point in time and not a process; it is the time point in at which a woman’s last period ends. Of course, a woman will not know when that time point has occurred until she has been 12 consecutive months without a period. The symptoms of menopause, on the other hand, may begin years before the actual menopause occurs and may persist for some years afterward as well.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Get Rid Of Menopause Belly
Mirena As Contraception During Perimenopause
Anyone who has been using birth control to prevent pregnancy should continue to do so until they enter menopause.
While fertility typically starts to decline in a womanâs mid-30s, it is possible for some women to get pregnant into their 50s.
According to the standard definition, menopause has begun if 12 months have passed without a period. However, because the Mirena coil can stop periods from occurring, it is important to use another method of determining when menopause has begun.
A doctor may do a blood test to check for follicle-stimulating hormone and estrogen levels. During perimenopause, FSH levels typically rise as estrogen levels fall. The doctor may need to run the test more than once, since these levels can naturally fluctuate.
There is no set time to remove the Mirena coil, unless it expires.
Womenâs Health Concern recommend waiting for 1 year after the last period before stopping birth control.
Anyone who removes the Mirena coil before they enter menopause should switch to another form of birth control if they wish to prevent pregnancy.
Some people choose to wait until their coils expire, even after menopause has begun. A doctor can provide specific guidance.
Hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate some symptoms of menopause. It is not a form of birth control.
HRT injections, pills, or patches may ease some menopause symptoms, such as:
- night sweats
- lower bone density
- vaginal dryness
Excessive Sweating During Menopause: Is There A Way Out
About 7585% of women in perimenopause and menopause notice increased sweating and recurrent feeling of internal heat throughout the body.
How can you reduce the psychological and physical discomfort during this time? Try to listen to your body and pay attention to certain health and lifestyle aspects. Here are a few tips on how to sweat less during menopause:
- Many scientists agree that maintaining a normal weight and participating in regular exercise allow you to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
- Your personal relaxation techniques and deep breathing will help you stay calm and avoid outbursts of anger, which are often experienced during age-related hormonal changes.
- Avoiding spicy food, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, nicotine, as well as drinking a sufficient amount of pure water all contribute to a decrease in sweating.
- You may find it beneficial to include soy products in your diet. They contain phytoestrogens that are similar to the female hormone estrogen. There is no scientific proof of its effect, but you can see if it works for you.
If the age-related changes are too acute and painful, consult your gynecologist about hormonal therapy or other ways to fight the problem.
Read Also: What Is The Male Version Of Menopause
How Should You Treat Your Symptoms
Now, for all these issues, so that’s a total hysterectomy, partial hysterectomy, and ablation, if you get any menopause symptoms, then you can still treat them the same as you would in any other circumstance.;
If these remedies are not appropriate, then you can treat all your symptoms individually and you can go along in that particular way. So this is one of the situations in the menopause where there’s no simple answer to everybody’s questions. It is going to be very much an individual situation, and I know it can be a really frustrating one as well.
What Is The Difference Between Menopause And Perimenopause
Perimenopause is the time when the reproductive hormones first start to change. While periods continue during this time, they typically become irregular as the production of estrogen and progesterone slows down. Additional symptoms may occur, though some individuals report feeling normal during perimenopause. With that said, it is always a best practice to consult with a doctor if you notice any abnormal changes in your body.
In contrast, menopause is marked by the final period a woman has. If a person with a uterus has gone 12 months without a period they have gone through menopause. Their life after that 12 months is considered postmenopausal.
Recommended Reading: What Are Some Signs Of Menopause
Going Through Menopause Come See Us
Menopause symptoms can last for months or years depending on the person. At Westchester Health, we strongly advise our patients going through menopause to call; 232-1919;to schedule regular appointments with one of our;Westchester Health internal medicine practitioners;so we can monitor their health, catch any issues early and answer any questions they may have about menopause and its symptoms. Whenever, wherever you need us, were here for you.
Keeping An Active Sex Life
Menopause can reduce a persons sex drive and lead to vaginal dryness, but it also removes the need for birth control. For some, this can make sex more enjoyable.
Having sex often can increase vaginal blood flow and help keep the tissues healthy.
Some tips for maintaining sexual health and activity during menopause include:
- staying physically active
- avoiding tobacco products, recreational drugs, and alcohol
- taking the time to become aroused, which will improve lubrication
- doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
- not using any strong soaps around the vagina, as these can worsen irritation
Also, menopause symptoms lead some people to find satisfying forms of sex that do not involve the vagina as much or at all.
It is worth remembering that, while a woman cannot become pregnant once menopause starts, it is still important to use barrier protection during penetrative sex to protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Often, sexual partners will be getting older and may be experiencing menopause at the same time. They, too, may be feeling a drop in sex drive. Opening up about any concerns can help both partners feel better and explore new forms of intimacy.
Menopause is a stage in life, not an illness. Most women experience natural menopause during midlife. However, surgery and other factors can cause menopause to start earlier.
Don’t Miss: How Long Between Periods During Menopause
What Are The Signs That Menopause Is Finally Over
I’m also asked, “What are the signs that the menopause is finally over?” Usually, it’s just a case of you start to feel better.;
Your symptoms have eased off or stopped. You’re more like you, or you feel better. You’re sleeping better. Your health is better. And normally, that’s the point when you can say to yourself, “Thank goodness. That’s it. Finally, all over and done with.”;
As Menopause Nears Be Aware It Can Trigger Depression And Anxiety Too
“Technically, menopause is only one day in a woman’s life, which is exactly when she has not had a period for 12 months,” she says. “It’s the period of time leading up to menopause that causes all the trouble.”
And it can start earlier than you might think. Many listeners wrote to us in response to our call-out for individual experiences with menopause to say that they struggled to get medical support for perimenopause in their mid-30s and early 40s.
When Edrie went back to her OB/GYN with the fertility clinic’s conclusion, she says the doctor shrugged again and told her that menopause is a normal part of life. She wasn’t satisfied with that answer. “Yeah, it’s a normal part of life, but it would be great if we could talk about it and figure out strategies.”
With that spirit in mind, we reached out to endocrinologists, gynecologists and psychiatrists for advice about navigating this major life transition.
How early can perimenopause start?
It’s quite possible for women to start to notice things changing in their mid-30s. Most women arrive at menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but perimenopause can start as much as a decade beforehand. And about 1% of women in the U.S. reach menopause at age 40 or younger.
Also Check: Can You Have A Blood Test To Check For Menopause
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.
Your Period Is Way Lighteror Heavierthan It Used To Be
This is the sign most women notice first: What used to happen every 28 or 30 days like clockwork becomes all over the place, according to the National Institutes of Health . The time between periods can change, the amount of bleeding can change, the length of time you have your period can change, or you can start skipping periodsits all fair game.
You officially enter menopause when its been a full year since your last period, per the NIH, but the symptoms start well before then, during a time known as perimenopause.
Read Also: How Do You Know When You Finish Menopause
Home And Lifestyle Remedies
The following steps may reduce symptoms of menopause:
- Dress yourself in layers and go to a cooler place to deal with hot flashes. Avoid anything that triggers your hot flashes. Common triggers include caffeine, hot beverages, alcohol, stress, spicy foods, warm rooms, and hot weather.;
- Use over-the-counter silicone or water-based vaginal moisturizers or lubricants to reduce vaginal discomfort.;
- Get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverage.
- Practice techniques for relaxation such as guided imagery, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, etc.
- Do pelvic floor exercises such as Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. This helps reduce urinary incontinence.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Include lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your diet. Avoid sugars, saturated fats, and oils. Also include foods rich in phytoestrogens such as soybeans, lentils, flaxseed, chickpeas, and sage.;
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases your chances of developing stroke, heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.
- Exercise regularly. It helps protect against various diseases associated with old age.;
Menopause is a natural process which occurs when your ovaries stop releasing eggs. Though you may know that you are entering menopause by its various signs and symptoms, there are tests for menopause that may help you confirm your hunch. During menopause, your hormone levels decrease.
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.
Don’t Miss: What Antidepressant Is Best For Menopause
Ways To Manage Symptoms Of Menopause
Many of the menopause symptoms like mood swings and hot flashes have to do with the changing levels of estrogen in your body. Hormone therapy is a common treatment for menopause, but it is recommended you speak to your health care provider, as hormone therapy is not recommended for everyone, including women with a history of breast cancer.
Also, women may have different triggers for their hot flashes. Some common triggers are alcohol, caffeine, stress and tight clothing.
Dormire recommends having an honest and upfront conversation with your health care provider about your symptoms and possible treatments. There are a lot of options that we did not have a few years ago. Hormone therapy is not just taking a pill anymore, she said. There are even vaginal creams and patches that are hormonally based, which limit the impact administered hormones have on the rest of the body.
Women have also found success with using nonhormonal medication;to treat hot flashes. Medicine usually given for pain or seizures as well as some antidepressants often offer relief.
No one way to treat menopause is better than the other. Because the symptoms vary so greatly from woman to woman, do not be afraid to try different management techniques. Speak with your health care provider to make a plan that is customized to you. If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, do not feel helpless. There are plenty of ways to manage your symptoms and find relief.
Mary Leigh Meyer