When Should You See A Doctor About Perimenopausal Symptoms
While experiencing some symptoms is normal and common, a person with a uterus should consult a doctor if their daily life is negatively impacted. It is possible that their experience is solely related to perimenopause, but it could also be the result of other, more serious conditions such as fibroids, pregnancy, blood clotting disorders, or even cancer. Furthermore, speaking with a doctor is necessary in order to ensure that symptoms are caused by menopause and not something else.
The following symptoms may warrant a trip to the doctor
- Very heavy periods with blood clots.
- Periods that last much longer than usual.
- Periods that occur more frequently than normal
- Breakthrough bleeding between periods.
- Spotting and/or pain after intercourse.
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.
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 follicle-stimulating hormone . 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 .
Read Also: Intrarosa Pros And Cons
What Happens If You’ve Had An Ablation
Now, if you’ve had an ablation, and this is where the lining of the womb has been removed, this is often done for women who may well be approaching the menopause.
You might have already started to get some menopause symptoms, and one of those has been really, really heavy periods or prolonged periods or flooding, or you may have had fibroids or other issues like that. So very often in this situation, they would do an ablation, and that then stops your periods.
What Are Common Menopause Symptoms
Some common menopause symptoms are:
Irregular periods: Periods becoming shorter, longer, heavier, lighter. Skipping periods.
Hot flashes: A hot flash is a sudden, sometimes intense feeling of heat that rushes to your face and upper body. Hot flashes can be really uncomfortable, but they usually only last a few minutes. They can happen a few times a day, a few times a week, or a few times a month.
Night sweats: Hot flashes that wake you up in the middle of the night.
Sleep problems: You may have insomnia trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. You may also start to wake up much earlier than you used to.
Vaginal changes: The lining of your vagina may become thinner, drier, or less stretchy. This can cause dryness or discomfort during sex.
Urinary or bladder infections: You may have to pee more often or get more frequent urinary tract or bladder infections.
Mood changes: Hormone changes can make you feel anxious, irritable, and tired. Your sex drive might change, too.
Weaker bones: Your bones will probably weaken during menopause. If its really bad, it can lead to osteoporosis after menopause. Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week can help you maintain bone health.
Some people may have a long and difficult perimenopause, up to 1012 years. But most people find that the common menopause symptoms are temporary and only last 35 years.
Recommended Reading: Menopause Dizziness Treatment
Can I Get Pregnant If I Have Gone Through Menopause
No, you cant get pregnant after menopause because ovulation is no longer occurring. Once you have gone 12 months without a period, you are considered to have reached menopause.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Menopause is a natural and normal part of the aging process. Once you are in menopause, you have gone 12 months without a menstrual period. It is common to experience symptoms like vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Be open with your healthcare provider about the symptoms youre experiencing and how they impact your quality of life. They can recommend treatments to manage your symptoms and make you more comfortable.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/05/2021.
Will My Hot Flashes Stop After Menopause
Some people still experience hot flashes after menopause. Postmenopausal hot flashes are caused by decreased estrogen levels. It is not uncommon to experience a random hot flash for years after menopause. If your hot flashes are bothersome or intensify, speak with your healthcare provider to rule out other causes.
Also Check: Sweet Potato Hormone Therapy
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.
Can Menopause Affect Sleep
Some people may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.
If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:
- Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
- Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.
Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.
Don’t Miss: Tubal Ligation Early Menopause
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Safe
A common question is if hormone therapy is safe and whether it can cause it cancer. Hormone Replacement Therapy can increase the risk of Estrogen-dependent Cancer. Its important to see your provider so they can take a thorough history and help determine your risk and whether estrogen is safe for you. There are alternatives such as hormone creams, etc. Theres a lot more options on the market now than there used to be. Everyone is different and your provider can help guide you through this process.
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 .
Don’t Miss: What Causes Hot Flashes Besides Menopause
When Should Women Not Take Birth Control Pills For Perimenopause
While hormonal birth control can be extremely beneficial, it can increase the risk of blood clots in some individuals with a uterus. More specifically, it is recommended that those with a history of blood disorders, heart disease, and/or cancer stop taking hormonal contraceptives as they enter their late forties. This also applies to individuals who smoke.
Instead of using high-dose hormonal birth control to alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause, individuals with a uterus can try hormone therapies or low-dose birth control pills. With that said, there are pros and cons to these methods, so individuals should consult a doctor in order to determine the best path for their lifestyle.
How Does Menopause Affect Iron Levels In My Blood
If you are still having periods as you go through menopause, you may continue to be at risk of a low iron level. This is especially true if your bleeding is heavy or you spot between periods. This can lead to anemia. Talk with your doctor about the amount of iron thats right for you. Good sources of iron include spinach, beans, and meat. Your doctor may also suggest that you take an iron supplement.
Recommended Reading: Menopause Dizzy Spells
How Long Does The Transition To Menopause Last
Perimenopause, the transition to menopause, can last between two and eight years before your periods stop permanently. For most women, this transition to menopause lasts about four years. You will know you have reached menopause only after it has been a full year since your last period. This means you have not had any bleeding, including spotting, for 12 months in a row.
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.
Don’t Miss: Tubal Ligation And Early Menopause
Hot Flashes During Perimenopause
Most women don’t expect to have hot flashes until , so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes sometimes called hot flushes and given the scientific name of vasomotor symptoms are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. They’re also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire “from the inside out.” A major hot flash can induce facial and upper-body flushing, sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion. Having one of these at an inconvenient time can be quite disconcerting. Hot flash frequency varies widely. Some women have a few over the course of a week others may experience 10 or more in the daytime, plus some at night.
Most American women have hot flashes around the time of menopause, but studies of other cultures suggest this experience is not universal. Far fewer Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian women report having hot flashes. In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, women appear not to have any at all. These differences may reflect cultural variations in perceptions, semantics, and lifestyle factors, such as diet.
What’s The First Sign Of Perimenopause
The first perimenopause sign is typically a disruption of your menstrual cycle. For many women, your period starts earlier or later than normal. For example, if your menstrual cycle has always been 28 days, during perimenopause, your period could come as early as 21 or as late as 35 days. Some women start skipping months entirely and then experience heavier-than-normal periods when they do have them.
Also Check: Menopause After Tubal Ligation
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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause
Although menopause is a normal, healthy part of life for individuals with a uterus, it typically entails symptoms that can become unpleasant. Some individuals may not notice any significant changes, but many will likely experience one or more of the following:
- Hot flashes and night sweats = a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads over the body
- Breakthrough bleeding and spotting = bleeding when not on your period
- Irregular periods = inconsistent timing and heaviness of periods
- Headaches and/or migraines = pain that occurs in one or more regions of your head
- Mood swings = intense and sudden changes in mood
- Insomnia = persistent difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Urine urgency and/or leakage = constantly feeling the need to go pee
- Vaginal dryness = lack of lubrication in the vagina
- Acne = blemishes that pop up on the skin
- Fatigue = feeling more tired than usual
- Breast tenderness = sore and/or swollen breasts
- Lower sex drive = lack of desire to have sex and/or pain during sex
Sometimes, the symptoms of perimenopause can cause significant problems in day-to-day functioning. Fortunately, there are various treatments that can be implemented to help provide some relief.
Don’t Miss: Does Menopause Cause Dizzy Spells
Are You Going Through Menopause
The dictionary defines menopause as the time in a womans life when menstruation diminishes and ceases, usually between the ages of 45 and 50. It is identified as not having a period for one year. Perimenopause is the time prior to the cessation of menstruation when you experience hormonal changes and you are still having periods. Many doctors now refer to perimenopause as the menopausal transition. So I will also refer to it as the same. Postmenopause is the time after menopause when the symptoms of estrogen absence appear.
Going through the menopause transition is the reverse of puberty. Puberty was the transition in your life when your hormones were gearing up for your reproductive years to come. Remember your first period? Emotional outbursts, swollen breasts, restless nights, and feeling bloated? Now, at the menopausal transition you may experience many of the same symptoms, but for different reasons. Instead of turning on your hormones, your body is now turning off your hormones. Many women who had difficult puberties have challenging menopause. Women who got through adolescence easily often have the same experience with menopause. We are all different and menopause is no exception.
So how do you know you are going through menopause?
Do you experience any of these symptoms?
Weight gain Hair and Skin changes
These are all messages from your body.
How Do I Manage Symptoms Of Postmenopause On My Own
Certain lifestyle or at-home changes can help you manage symptoms of postmenopause. Some of these include:
- Using a water-based vaginal lubricant during sex to make it more pleasurable. Lubricating the vagina helps with dryness and pain.
- Regular exercise, meditation and other relaxing activities can help with depression and other side effects of postmenopause.
- Eating a diet rich in phytoestrogens such as whole-grain cereals, flaxseed, chickpeas and legumes. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake has also been shown to help.
Don’t Miss: Sweet Potatoes And Menopause
How Long Will Menopausal Transition Symptoms Last
Menopause is technically one full year without bleeding, and perimenopause is the stage before the final menstrual period, also known as the menopausal transition. Puberty and perimenopause are similar in that they both involve hormonal changes, and the transitions can take place over several years. Some medical organizations, such as the American Osteopathic Association, refer to perimenopause as reverse puberty in women.
According to NAMS, this phase can last four to eight years, and it comes with symptoms caused by hormone fluctuations, such as mood swings, poor sleep, and hot flashes.
The age at which a woman begins perimenopause can help predict how long the transition to menopause will last, according to research published in the journal Menopause in February 2017. The authors found that perimenopause lasted longer in women who started the transition at a younger age, and the women had more symptoms, such as hot flashes.
How Long Does Menopause
The problem is that this is another one of those really difficult questions to answer. And what I get asked a lot about in this situation is “How long does the menopause last?” Because if you know how long it’s going to last, that will give you a rough idea when it’s coming to an end for you. But the problem here is that every single woman will have a different menopause.
Every single one of you sitting out there tonight will have a unique menopause that’s just yours and yours alone. There is no one size fits all. Now, we could have 10 women all squashed up on the settee sitting here, all the same age, all going through the menopause, and they would each have a completely different experience, and this is why it’s so difficult to answer these types of questions.
So roughly, I mean, all I can say here is this is a very rough guide, and normally, the average length of time for the perimenopause is about three years. So from the moment that you notice your hormones are changing, that you’re getting some kind of menopausal symptom or symptoms, until your periods stop for good, the average length of time is about three years.
Now, for some women, it’s going to be very quick. They might not even really notice much going on until they suddenly realise they haven’t had a period for a few months. For other women, this perimenopausal phase could last up to seven or eight years. So again, this is going to be unique for you.