Your Skin Suddenly Gets Hot And Splotchy
Chances are that if you go through menopause, youre going to get hot flashes . And they can last way longer than you might expect.
The average time for a woman to have hot flashes is seven years, but some can get them for 20 years, says Dr. Allmen. They are exactly what they sound like: You all of a sudden feel a surge of heat and might see red splotches on your skin. You then might notice heavy sweating or even cold shivering, kind of like when you have the flu.
The exact cause of hot flashes isnt clear, but it is partly due to the drop in estrogen and other hormone changes that happen during menopause.
What Can I Do To Help Myself
To help you manage hot flushes, simple things like wearing light clothing, using a fan and keeping your bedroom cool could help.
If youre struggling with your mood, consider trying self-help measures like relaxation, getting enough sleep and staying active. Regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet can also help to improve menopausal symptoms.
How Long Does The Menopause Last
Symptoms of the menopause can start months or even years before periods stop completely. They usually continue for around 4 years after your last period, though some womens symptoms continue for much longer.
The menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55, but its very difficult to predict when it will take place in an individual.
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Peri Meno & Post: When Does The Change Happen
Your hormones can begin decreasing in your 30s and may continue well into your 40s and 50s. This is called perimenopause or the transition to menopause for most women.
The average age of menopause for US women is 51. Most women reach this milestone somewhere between ages 45 and 55.
Once your period has stopped for 12 months, you are considered in menopause and enter the postmenopause stage of life.
What Are The Stages
The process happens slowly over three stages:
Perimenopause. Your cycles will become irregular, but they havenât stopped. Most women hit this stage around age 47. Even though you might notice symptoms like hot flashes, you can still get pregnant.
Menopause. This is when youâll have your final menstrual period. You wonât know for sure itâs happened until youâve gone a year without one. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are common in this stage.
Postmenopause. This begins when you hit the year mark from your final period. Once that happens, youâll be referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that after more than 1 year of no menstrual periods due to menopause, vaginal bleeding isn’t normal, so tell your doctor if you have any ASAP.
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What Are The Signs Of Approaching The End Of Menopause
When it comes to menopause, theres a big question that comes up for all of us: When will it end? Recognizing the signs of menopause ending is just as important as understanding the signs of its beginning. Menopause doesnt necessarily end abruptly, the same way it doesnt begin abruptly. It is a nuanced, personal, and perhaps surprisingly manageable shift into a new era of you.
Not sure if youre even in menopause let alone what phase or when it will end? Kindra created a special quiz to help you prepare for, manage, and embrace your body’s natural hormonal shifts. Once you share a little about your personal experience, Kindra is able to shed some light on your personal journey and provide a custom plan tailored to you and designed to help you thrive in this season of life.
What is menopause and why does it happen?
Not so fun fact while menopause is normal, healthy, and manageable, the transition is unique to each woman and can consist of any of the 34 signs and symptoms of menopause. From hot flashes to vaginal dryness, there are many ways to ease the journey, but most people in their menopause transition do not seek out help. Understanding what to expect is the key to proactive self-care throughout your menopause experience.
What happens after menopause?
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What Do You Need To Know About The Menopause
The menopause is the natural process women go through as they reach a certain age and signals the point when a womans monthly periods have come to an end.
Although reaching the menopause technically means you have had your last ever period, we often use this phrase to describe the lead up to your periods stopping. Periods rarely just stop suddenly, many women experience irregular periods for some time. This might include heavier, more painful periods or lighter, less frequent ones these patterns can go on for a number of years. Every woman is different but you are generally considered to be fully through the menopause after not having a period for at least two years.
Alongside the often irregular periods, many women often experience a whole number of symptoms in the lead up to the menopause as oestrogen begins to drop, this can be anything from hot flushes to joint pain.
On this page I give a quick overview of what the menopause involves and specifically the effects it can have on the menstrual cycle. Visit A.Vogel Talks Menopause for more in-depth information and video blogs from our menopause expert Eileen.
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Hormone Levels Fluctuate Leading To Menopause
As you approach menopause, the production of female hormones by the ovaries starts to slow down. Hormone levels tend to fluctuate, and you may notice changes in your menstrual cycle such as:
- period cycles may become longer, shorter or totally irregular
- bleeding may become lighter
- bleeding may become unpredictable and heavy .
Eventually, your hormone levels will fall to a point where your ovaries stop releasing eggs, your periods stop and menopause is reached.Although fertility after the age of 45 is low, you still need to use contraception to prevent pregnancy. Its recommended to continue contraception until you have had one year without a natural period if youre over 50 years old, or two years without a natural period if youre under 50.
Use Caution With Herbal Supplements
Dr. Urrutia cautions patients about using herbal supplements to treat symptoms.
Herbal supplements like black cohosh and evening primrose have been studied in menopausal women, and none have shown a benefit for hormonal symptoms, Dr. Urrutia says. In addition, many herbal supplements actually have plant-type estrogens in them, which can have medicinal effects. With herbals, we know even less about whether they can be harmful in the long term.
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How Will I Know When I Am Postmenopausal
Women are considered to be postmenopausal when they have not had their period for an entire year. Having your doctor measure your follicle stimulating hormone level is another way to see if you are near menopause. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland . Your FSH levels will dramatically rise as your ovaries begin to shut down these levels are easily checked through one blood test. FSH levels can fluctuate during perimenopause, so the only way to know you are definitely postmenopausal is when you have had no period for a year.
When To See A Doctor
At the onset of perimenopause, a person may wish to schedule regular doctor visits for preventive healthcare.
Around perimenopause, doctors may recommend certain health screenings that sometimes include a colonoscopy, mammogram, and blood tests.
An individual should not hesitate to seek a doctors care and advice to deal with disruptive menopausal symptoms. If vaginal bleeding occurs after menopause, a person should also seek medical attention.
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Why Am I Still Getting Symptoms After Being Menopausal
Many women also write in wanting to know why they’re still getting symptoms well through menopause. Remember that once your periods have stopped for one year, you’re officially menopausal. But your hormones just don’t suddenly stop changing after this year has elapsedyour hormonal balance can continue to fluctuate for a good number of years after that.And for some women, this ongoing hormonal change will continue to trigger menopause symptoms. But if it’s been over four or five years since your periods stopped, you should get things checked out by your doctor just in case.Other health issues can creep in and menopause is often blamed for it. A lot of women will try menopausal remedies and find that they don’t really work, but it’s often because, unbeknownst to them, these menopause-like symptoms are being triggered by other health issues. In this situation, it’s really important to get yourself checked out by your doctor because if the issues are being caused by something else, your doctor will help you sort it out, which will make you feel better in the long run.
How Will Menopause Affect Me
Symptoms of menopause may begin suddenly and be very noticeable, or they may be very mild at first. Symptoms may happen most of the time once they begin, or they may happen only once in a while. Some women notice changes in many areas. Some menopausal symptoms, such as moodiness, are similar to symptoms of premenstrual syndrome . Others may be new to you. For example:
- Your menstrual periods may not come as regularly as before. They also might last longer or be shorter. You might skip some months. Periods might stop for a few months and then start up again.
- Your periods might be heavier or lighter than before.
- You might have hot flashes and problems sleeping.
- You might experience mood swings or be irritable.
- You might experience vaginal dryness. Sex may be uncomfortable or painful.
- You may have less interest in sex. It may take longer for you to get aroused.
Other possible changes are not as noticeable. For example, you might begin to lose bone density because you have less estrogen. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Changing estrogen levels can also raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Talk to your doctor about possible for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.
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Can Treatments Be Used To Reduce Menopause Symptoms
In some cases, it is possible to reduce the time that menopause symptoms last through treatment. If these symptoms are recurring for an extended period of time and are bothersome, you may consider HRT . This is considered to be a safe and effective option for postmenopausal women.
Essentially, this therapy is used to increase your estrogen levels, which will reduce or eliminate the symptoms of menopause in many cases. However, HRT will not reverse the process of menopause, but some types of treatment can bring back certain aspects of monthly cycles for some women . However, fertility does not return after menopause, even if a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy.
There are two main types of hormone replacement therapy . The most common type of HRT involves taking both estrogen and progestin taken daily. Another regimen involves taking estrogen daily and supplementing that with progestin taken daily but only during a two week period each month. A combination of estrogen and progestin taken daily will generally not cause a return of monthly cycles, but alternating estrogen and progestin may for some women. However, this typically only occurs for a few months. Rarely, this reaction to the treatment will last for a longer period of time, but it is uncommon.
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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What Causes The Menopause
The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases there’s no clear cause.
Sometimes it’s caused by a treatment such as surgery to remove the ovaries , some breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or it can be brought on by an underlying condition, such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
Keep Your Body And Mind Healthy
Maintaining a healthy weight helps mitigate symptoms of perimenopause, as women who are overweight and obese often have worse symptoms.
Dr. Urrutia says cognitive behavioral therapy can help alleviate symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy emphasizes the important role of thinking in how you feel and what you do. In other words, the way you perceive a situation is more closely connected to your reaction to it than to the situation itself.
However, Dr. Urrutia says that if you have a mental health disorder, its important to get treatment because hormonal changes may worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Make sure you take care of yourself from a mental health perspective, she says.
Dr. Urrutia also encourages women to remember that perimenopause is natural, even if its not pleasant. She points out the positive outcomes of nearing the end of menstruation.
If you are a parent, you may be adjusting to new routines at home. The kids are growing up, and maybe you start to have a little more time to yourself, so that is something positive you can focus on, Dr. Urrutia says.
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How Long Do Menopause
Even though menopause marks a point in time in which a woman has not menstruated for 12 months and is no longer ovulating , the symptoms of menopause may persist.
Most women stop having hot flashes within five years following their final menstrual period. However, a report on the management of menstrual symptoms notes that the Penn Ovarian Aging Study found that more than one-third of women continued to have moderate to severe hot flashes for 10 years or more. Women who began having hot flashes as they entered perimenopause had them longer, for an average of 11.6 years. African-American women had a longer duration than white women.
Vaginal dryness, burning, and itchiness also occurs as a result of estrogen deficiency. The difference with this symptom is that it tends to get worse as women get older. In fact, only between one quarter and one third of women in perimenopause or early postmenopause experience vaginal dryness. But as women reach late postmenopause, about half report vaginal dryness.
There are other symptoms that may begin during perimenopause and persist throughout postmenopause. These include:
- Sleep problems
- Cognitive changes such as memory loss
- Muscle and joint pains
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.
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Lifestyle Factors To Support You During The Menopause
There are a number of easy self-help tips that you can try at home to help keep the symptoms of menopause under control:
- Diet During the menopause even very small changes in lifestyle factors can make a big difference for better or for worse! Try to reduce refined carbohydrates and sugary sweet treats as you can risk throwing your hormones off further, exacerbating cravings and encouraging weight gain. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, opt for whole grain sources of carbohydrates, up your intake of omega-3 with lots of oily fish and include a source of protein in every meal
- Think about drinks Its not just what you eat, but also what you drink that matters. Ensure you drink at least 1.5 litres of plain, still water a day to keep you hydrated and your bowels moving regularly. Also, try to avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and caffeine as much as possible as these can put a strain on the endocrine system and make you feel anxious or jittery
- Stress Stress can be exacerbated during the menopause so its important to not let it get on top of you. Practice breathing exercises, or try taking part in a yoga class after work, above all else make sure you take time out to do things you enjoy and take your mind off the stresses of modern life
- Exercise – Regular moderate exercise can help with many of the symptoms of menopause. It can help support your mood, sleep, body weight and often helps to keep pesky food cravings under control too!