How Are Menopause Symptoms Treated
It is important to remember that menopause is a natural and unavoidable part of a womans life. With that said, the symptoms of menopause can understandably be discouraging and disruptive. Fortunately, menopause care offers women the opportunity to improve their menopause symptoms and feel more like themselves once again. At Professionals for Womens Health, our dedicated providers will create a customized menopause care plan based on a number of individual factors, including:
- Personal and family history of gynecologic or breast conditions
- Nature and severity of menopause symptoms
- Overall health and other medical conditions
In some cases, it may be safe and appropriate for women to undergo hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptom relief. During your consultation for menopause care, our knowledgeable providers will help determine the course of action that will best meet your needs.
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.
What Can You Do
Now, what can you do in this case? There’s no hard and fast rule. And as I said before, it’s going to be very frustrating because you’re working from nothing. You don’t have a set start point, therefore it’s very difficult to…excuse me, talk about when you’re getting to that last particular point.
A Hot Or Burning Mouth
It may sound unusual but a hot mouth is one of the 34 signs of menopause to look out for. This can affect the roof of your mouth, tongue and lips, causing a burning sensation, hot mouth, or metallic taste.
This symptom is thought to be a result of the reduced production of saliva during menopause, and is sometimes called burning mouth syndrome.
Can My Diet Affect How Well I Sleep
The following tips can help reduce sleep problems:
- Eat regular meals at regular times.
- Avoid late-night meals and heavy late-night snacks.
- Limit caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola drinks. Caffeine stays in the bloodstream for up to 6 hours and can interfere with sleep.
- Avoid alcohol. It may make you feel sleepy, but it actually affects the cycle of REM and non-REM sleep. This may cause you to wake up throughout the night.
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Women’s Health Topics We Need To Talk About In 2020
Mood problems like depression can spike during perimenopause, especially among women who have previously experienced them. Many of our listeners wrote in to say that during perimenopause, they felt incredibly irritable and quick to anger in a way that they had never experienced before.
And of course, many â but not all â women experience hot flashes, though they may not recognize them. “It’s hard, because no one sits us down and teaches us, ‘Here’s what a hot flash feels like,’ ” Stuenkel says. “I’ve seen women who think they’re having panic attacks, or heart palpitations. That can be frightening.”
Other common symptoms include more frequent urinary tract infections, difficulty sleeping through the night, vaginal dryness that can make sex painful, night sweats and a decrease in libido.
What treatments are there for symptoms?
Some symptoms, like heavy or irregular periods, can be managed with an oral contraceptive, which can “shut down the body’s own erratic hormonal fluctuations,” says Stuenkel.
“This can kind of be a lifesaver,” she says. Such medication may help with hot flashes, too.
Sure Signs Of Menopause
“You’re in menopause.” My doctor said calmly and with almost a little smile-smirk on her face. “Your tests have all come back — and you’re healthy. Sure a little low on iron as you typically are, but now that those pesky periods are gone — that should just correct itself.”
“Menopause? But I’m only 45. Well now 45 and a half and rolling quickly downhill to 46, but surely right now I’m only 45.” I told my doctor – and not with a smirk-smile on my face but rather a more ‘are you fucking kidding’ me look, and my voice was less than quiet.
“Yes, menopause. I mean you might have one or two more periods but your test results show you should be done with them in about six months at the most.”
Menopause. But I’m still young. Right? The only person I could think of who reached menopause in their 40s was Ma Ingalls. Remember that episode when Laura announced her pregnancy and Caroline did too — but it turns out that Caroline was NOT pregnant — she was just in menopause. And then she fell into a deep depression. Yeah, that’s where my mind immediately went. Because I’m a child of the 70s — and children of the 70s just cannot be in menopause yet, right?
Who do you call when you hear the words that you’ve entered menopause? When in your mind menopause is the affliction of grandmothers and doesn’t look like a 45 year old with a four year old child.
Here are 12 signs that you might be menopausal…
Earlier on Huff/Post50:
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Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
One of the major symptoms of menopause, hot flashes can make your whole body uncomfortably warm for a minute or more. Your face flushes, you perspire, and it feels like your heart is racing. You may wake up hot and sweaty at night, even though your room is cool.
What to do: To reduce the discomfort of hot flashes, dress in layers during the day, and in light pajamas at night. Keep a cool bottle of water close at hand, and use an ice pack to cool your pillow at night.
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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
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Hormonal Imbalance Causes Perimenopause And Menopause Symptoms
As women, our hormone levels change throughout our lives, and for the most part, our bodies have the ability to adjust. But the shifts in your sex hormones may become too extreme or happen too quickly for your body to manage them, especially when youre in perimenopause and beyond.
You can then experience wide-ranging symptoms, from fatigue and moodiness to vaginal dryness and joint discomfort, to low libido and fuzzy thinking. You may just think these are signs of worsening PMS but in fact its the start of your menopause transition.
Emotional Impact Of Early Or Premature Menopause
Premature menopause can be emotionally devastating. Some of the common issues women may face include:
- grief at the prospect of not having children
- fear of ‘growing old before their time’
- concern that their partner wont find them sexually attractive anymore
- self-esteem problems.
Psychological counselling and support groups may help women come to terms with their experience of early or premature menopause.
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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 Happens After Menopause
After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.
You may experience any of the following after menopause:
- Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop , including osteoporosis, .
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from or menopause . However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.,
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about for vaginal dryness.
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Signs Of Menopause: What To Look Out For
Menopause is the natural decline of female hormones in the body. Menopausal women stop having periods because theyre no longer ovulating. Menopause happens at different ages for different women, but the average American woman goes through menopause between 45 and 55. According to the U.S. Office on Womens Health, the average age for menopause in the United States is 52. Symptoms of menopause may begin in the years before you stop getting a menstrual period, referred to as perimenopause. If you have any of the following signs of menopause, it may be time to talk to your OB/GYN about how to treat your symptoms and protect your health.
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.
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What Are Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be a pretty unpleasant symptom of perimenopause and menopause. We dont totally understand the cause of hot flashes.
Most people describe a hot flash as a sudden hot feeling that spreads all over your body but mostly the upper body, like your arms, chest, and face. You may also get sweaty, and your fingers may tingle and your heart may beat faster. A typical hot flash usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes.
Hot flashes at night are called night sweats. Sometimes they can get so severe that you soak your sheets with sweat.
Hot flashes are super common. More than 3 out of 4 people have them while going through perimenopause and menopause.
Nothing will make hot flashes stop completely, but there are some things you can do to help get some relief. Wearing light, loose clothes, keeping your room cool, drinking cold liquids, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine can help you stay cool.
Prescription hot flash treatments can be helpful, too. Hormone therapy works best to treat hot flashes, but other medicines like SSRIs and SNRIs and clonidine may also help. Research shows that herbs, vitamins, acupuncture, and reflexology dont help with hot flashes.
Vaginal Lubricants For Menopause Symptoms
In women for whom oral or vaginal estrogens are deemed inappropriate, such as breast cancer survivors, or women who do not wish to take oral or vaginal estrogen, there are varieties of over-the-counter vaginal lubricants. However, they are probably not as effective in relieving vaginal symptoms as replacing the estrogen deficiency with oral or local estrogen.
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How To Manage Perimenopausal Symptoms
A combination of a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and managing stress is associated with fewer perimenopausal symptoms. Limiting consumption of processed foods and drinks, alcohol intake, refined sugars and unhealthy fats is encouraged.
Following a Mediterranean diet may also offset symptoms and has shown to contribute to a healthy heart during perimenopause. Learn more here: Nutrition recommendations for easing menopause symptoms.
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How Long Is This Going To Last
Now, I then get asked, “Well, how long is this going to last?” On average, from the minute your hormones start to change until you would have been two years without a period when you are considered through the menopause, is roughly about five years. So if you’re in this situation, you would have a normal menopause lasting the normal length of time as well.
So from the moment that you start to see any significant changes, you’re going to be counting roughly five years, and that would be you postmenopausal. Again, it’s one of these things. It’s going to be different for absolutely every single one of you.
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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.
What Is The Right Age For Menopause
There is no right age for the menopause. The onset of menopause can happen as early as a womans thirties , or as late as her sixties.
Unfortunately, theres no way of knowing what age you will be when it happens to you and it is unrelated to how soon you had your first period .
Typically, menopause tends to occur between the ages of 45 and 55. Today, the average age for women to experience menopause is 51 years old. Approximately 5% of women will start late and a further 5% will start early .
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Hot Flushes And Night Sweats
Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause and are characterised by feelings of intense heat spreading through your chest, face and neck, accompanied by sweating, rapid heartbeat and a flushed appearance. Learn more in our blog: 12 most common symptoms of menopause.
How to stop hot flushes and night sweats
Reducing intake of caffeine, alcohol and spicy food, and regular physical activity has been shown to help manage and reduce the intensity of hot flushes. These stimulants can also aggravate PMS symptoms and interfere with sleep.
Plant oestrogens , which are naturally occurring plant compounds that act similarly to human oestrogen, have been shown in studies to relieve perimenopausal symptoms, particularly hot flushes. Foods containing plant oestrogens include linseeds, flaxseeds, oats, chickpeas, and soy-based foods such as tofu, tempeh, miso and edamame.
When Does Menopause Usually Happen
Menopause happens when you have gone 12 months in a row without a period. The average age of menopause in the United States is 52. The range for women is usually between 45 and 58. One way to tell when you might go through menopause is the age your mother went through it.
Menopause may happen earlier if you:
- Never had children. Pregnancy, especially more than one pregnancy, may delay menopause.
- Smoke. Studies show smoking can cause you to start menopause up to two years earlier than women who dont smoke.
can also cause you to start menopause earlier.
Menopause usually happens on its own. However, you may enter menopause earlier than you normally would if you have had chemotherapy or surgery to remove both ovaries. Learn more about early menopause on our page.
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