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How Do You Know When You Start Menopause

How Long Do Menopause Symptoms Last

PERIMENOPAUSE AND MENOPAUSE: HOW DO YOU KNOW IT’S PERIMENOPAUSE?

One in every 10 women experiences menopause symptoms for up to 12 years. Most menopause symptoms will settle in time, but some may continue to affect you. These can include vaginal dryness, recurrent urinary tract infections and changes in how often you pee. Menopause treatments such as HRT and taking steps to stay healthy may help with ongoing menopause symptoms.

What Are The Stages Leading Up To Menopause

After puberty, there are three other phases of female fertility:

  • Pre-menopause: Women have full ovarian function, regularly produce estrogen and ovulate.
  • Perimenopause: The ovaries begin to fluctuate in their ovulation and production of estrogen, which can result in unpredictable menstrual cycles and symptoms.
  • Menopause: When the ovaries have shut down. Someone would be in menopause after 12 months without menses.

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.

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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

Should I Continue Using Birth Control During The Transition To Menopause

How Do You Know If You Are Starting Menopause

Yes. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, the transition to menopause, even if you miss your period for a month or a few months. During perimenopause you may still ovulate, or release an egg, on some months.

But it is impossible to know for sure when you will ovulate. If you dont want to get pregnant, you should continue to use birth control until one full year after your last period. Talk to your doctor about your birth control needs. Learn more about different .

You cant get pregnant after menopause, but anyone who has sex can get . If you are not in a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner have sex with each other and no one else, protect yourself by using a male condom or correctly every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. After menopause you may be more likely to get an STI from sex without a condom. Vaginal dryness or irritation is more common after menopause and can cause small cuts or tears during sex, exposing you to STIs.

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Vaginal Dryness And Discomfort

Vaginal dryness, itching, and discomfort may start during perimenopause and continue into menopause. A person with any of these symptoms may experience chafing and discomfort during vaginal sex. Also, if the skin breaks, this can increase the risk of infection.

Atrophic vaginitis, which involves thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal wall, can sometimes occur during menopause.

Various moisturizers, lubricants, and medications can relieve vaginal dryness and associated issues.

Learn more about atrophic vaginitis here.

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.

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Higher Risk Of Heart Disease

The end of menopause means that your age becomes solid. It causes certain health problems and heart disease is one out of the list of when is menopause over. This problem also derives from low levels of estrogen and so, induces various complications from the part of the cardiovascular system. Commonly, this issue can be averted if you follow a healthy lifestyle. Its vital to consult a specialist in this field to define the necessary preventive measures.

The Doctor Determines That You Have Finished

How you know you are in menopause

If you are unsure whether your menopause is over, then you should see a doctor who can give you a physical exam and a blood test and as a result will be able to tell you what stage of the menopause you are at. If you have not finished your menopause then a doctor might also be able to indicate roughly how long you might expect until it does finish.

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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.

What Can I Do About Hot Flashes

Hot flashes occur from a decrease in estrogen levels. In response to this, your glands release higher amounts of other hormones that affect the brain’s thermostat, causing your body temperature to fluctuate. Hormone therapy has been shown to relieve some of the discomfort of hot flashes for many women. However, the decision to start using these hormones should be made only after you and your healthcare provider have evaluated your risk versus benefit ratio.

To learn more about women’s health, and specifically hormone therapy, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health launched the Women’s Health Initiative in 1991. The hormone trial had 2 studies: the estrogen-plus-progestin study of women with a uterus and the estrogen-alone study of women without a uterus. Both studies ended early when the research showed that hormone therapy did not help prevent heart disease and it increased risk for some medical problems. Follow-up studies found an increased risk of heart disease in women who took estrogen-plus-progestin therapy, especially those who started hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause.

The WHI recommends that women follow the FDA advice on hormone therapy. It states that hormone therapy should not be taken to prevent heart disease.

Practical suggestions for coping with hot flashes include:

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Will Being Super Healthy Help Delay Menopause

Although maintaining good overall health is important for a variety of reasons, it wont necessarily translate to later menopause, says Streicher. I have women who tell me, I have a healthy diet, Im thin, I work out all the time, and I look young. Im sure Im not going to go through menopause early, and when I do, I wont have hot flashes and other symptoms. I wish I could say that was true, but its not, she says.

Body weight might matter, though. We do know that the extremes of weight, in someone who is very obese or someone with very low body weight, may impact the onset of menopause, but for the majority of women in the middle it doesnt seem to have a big impact, says Streicher.

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Conditions related to your heart may arise during menopause, such as dizziness or cardiac palpitations. Decreased estrogen levels can prevent your body from retaining flexible arteries. This can impact blood flow.

Watching your weight, eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising, and not smoking can reduce your chances of developing heart conditions.

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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
  • chemotherapy
  • 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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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.

Menopause Symptoms: Age 50

How to KNOW if you are having Menopause (or predict when you will have it)

Most women will have their last period around the age of 50. Twelve months without a period later, menopause is reached and post-menopause begins.

As menopause gets closer, your estrogen and progesterone levels start to decline more rapidly. As a result, your symptoms will likely become more intense.

Your periods will probably become more irregular. You may experience greater mood swings. And you might experience an increase in insomnia. Plus, youll likely start experiencing new symptoms that are common right around or right after reaching menopause, including:

Hot flashes and chills

Hot flashes can happen during pre-menopause, but theyre most often reported right around menopause and in the first few years of post-menopause. These are sensations of heat that develop around your face, neck and chest, and may spread to other areas of your body. They usually last for just a few minutes.

Alongside the feeling of heat, your skin may redden, you may sweat, your heart rate might increase and your mood may change. Afterward, you may feel chills.

Doctors arent sure why hot flashes happen but there are ways to lessen their impact. Some tips include:

  • Try to stay in cooler environments
  • Dress lightly or wear layers you can remove
  • Manage stress

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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.

How Can I Treat The Symptoms

There are a bunch of ways.

Lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and regular exercise program will help manage your symptoms and boost your health. This is a great time to finally kick any old, unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. To help with hot flashes, dress lightly and in layers. Avoid triggers like caffeine and spicy foods. And if you stay sexually active, that may help preserve your vaginal lining.

Prescription medication for hot flashes. If you still have your uterus, your doctor might prescribe treatment with estrogen and progesterone. This is called combination hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy . It helps with hot flashes and night sweats, and it may help prevent osteoporosis. If you donât have a uterus, you might get estrogen alone.

Hormone therapy isnât for everyone. Donât take it if you’ve ever had breast cancer, uterine or “endometrial” cancer, blood clots, liver disease, or a stroke. Also don’t take it if you might be pregnant or you have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.

If you can’t or don’t want to take hormones, other medications can ease symptoms. They include antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, or blood pressure medications to help with hot flashes and mood swings.

Prescription and OTC medication for vaginal dryness and sleep problems. You can try topical estrogen, lubricants, and non-estrogen prescriptions for dryness and painful sex. OTC or prescription sleep aids can help if you have trouble falling asleep.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause

Most women will experience symptoms of menopause and many women will experience early symptoms while still having periods.

Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and can last for years after.

If you go through the menopause because of surgical or medical treatments, you are likely to experience the symptoms of menopause much less gradually.

What Are The Stages Of Menopause

How To Tell if You Are In Menopause
  • Perimenopause typically occurs 3-5 years prior to the start of menopause. This stage occurs when your estrogen levels begin to drop and your body begins the transition towards menopause. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause.
  • Menopause is confirmed to have started after youve missed your period for 12 consecutive months. Though every woman is unique and will experience this transition differently, most women enter menopause when they are 51 or 52.
  • Postmenopause includes the time after menopause. Estrogen levels continue to decline during this stage, which can cause some menopausal symptoms to linger.

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Menopause Symptoms At Age 40

For the vast majority of women, menopause symptoms dont start this early. If menopause happens before age 40, its called premature menopause. If it happens between age 40 and age 45, its known as early menopause. Fewer than 10 percent of women experience premature or early menopause.

But if youre in your early 40s and are regularly experiencing symptoms such as changes to your periods timing or flow, hot flashes, mood changes or sleep problems, dont ignore them. Talk with a womens health specialist.

A specialist like an OB-GYN or certified nurse-midwife can work with you to determine whether your symptoms are related to menopause, or another reason such as hormonal disorders or other health conditions.

Your Mood Is All Over The Place

My patients often tell me they feel crazy and dont know whats wrong with them, says Dr. Allmen. It could be onset of new mood symptoms or worsening of existing anxiety or depression. In fact, during menopause, women are two to four times more likely to experience depression.

Hormones might be responsible for these changes in mood. However, issues women tend to face in their 40s and 50s, like stress over worsening health or kids moving out and parents getting older, can also play a role.

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