How Does Natural Menopause Occur
Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that is not brought on by any type of medical treatment. For people undergoing natural menopause, the process is gradual and is described in three stages:
Perimenopause or “menopause transition”: Perimenopause can begin eight to 10 years before menopause when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts when you’re in your 40s. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last one to two years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many people may experience menopause symptoms. But you are still having menstrual cycles during this time and can get pregnant.
Menopause: Menopause is the point when you no longer have menstrual periods. At this stage, your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing most of their estrogen. Menopause is diagnosed when you’ve gone without a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
Postmenopause: This is the name given to the time after you have not had a period for an entire year . During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, may ease for many people. However, some people continue to experience menopausal symptoms for a decade or longer after the menopause transition. As a result of a lower level of estrogen, those in the postmenopausal phase are at increased risk for several health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
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.
Antidepressants And Other Medications
Antidepressant medications: The class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and related medications has been shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes in up to 60% of women. Specifically, venlafaxine , a drug-related to the SSRIs, and the paroxetine , desvenlafaxine , citalopram , and escitalopram have all been shown to decrease the severity of hot flashes in some women. However, antidepressant medications may be associated with side effects, including or sexual dysfunction.
Other medications: Other prescription medications have been shown to provide some relief for hot flashes, although their specific purpose is not the treatment of hot flashes. All of these may have side effects, and their use should be discussed with and monitored by a doctor. Some of these medications that have been shown to help relieve hot flashes include the antiseizure drug gabapentin and clonidine , a drug used to treat high blood pressure.
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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.
How Do You Know When Menopause Is Over
Going through menopause is anything but easy. All the hormonal changes your body will go through are likely to put you on a physical and emotional roller-coaster.
In the US, women typically enter menopause at the age of 52, but this can vary according to a variety of factors. Theres a chance youll notice that youre entering it, but how do you know when menopause is over?
Well, simply put, youll know that the menopause is over once the symptoms start subsiding or even disappear. So to realize that the symptoms are disappearing, its important to know what those symptoms are in the first place.
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Ht Forms And Regimens
HT comes in several forms:
- Oral tablets or pills
- Vaginal ring
- Topical gel or spray
HT pills and skin patches are considered “systemic” therapy because the medication delivered affects the entire body. The risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers is higher with hormone pills than with skin patches or other transdermal forms.
Vaginal forms of HT are called “local” therapy. Doctors generally prescribe vaginal applications of low-dose estrogen therapy to specifically treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex. This type of ET is available in a cream, tablet, or ring that is inserted into the vagina.
“Bioidentical” hormone therapy is promoted as a supposedly more natural and safer alternative to commercial prescription hormones. Bioidentical hormones are typically compounded in a pharmacy. Some compounding pharmacies claim that they can customize these formulations based on saliva tests that show a woman’s individual hormone levels.
The FDA and many professional medical associations warn patients that “bioidentical” is a marketing term that has no scientific validity. Formulations sold in these pharmacies have not undergone FDA regulatory scrutiny. Some of these compounds contain estriol, a weak form of estrogen, which has not been approved by the FDA for use in any drug. In addition, saliva tests do not give accurate or realistic results, as a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day.
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.
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Can I Have An Orgasm After Menopause
Yes, you can still have an orgasm after menopause. An orgasm may feel hard to achieve once you have reached menopause, but there is no physical reason to prevent you from having an orgasm. Using lubricants and increasing foreplay can help with discomfort. Try to be open with your partner about your feelings and talk to them about what feels good.
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.
What Are The Stages Of 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.
How Will I Feel After The Menopause
And the last question, and probably a really, really important one is “How will you feel when it’s all over?” Now, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t feel as good, if not better than you did before the menopause because the monthly cycle takes quite a lot of energy out of you.
So once your hormones have stopped this cycle completely and you’re through the menopause, you can very often have a lot more energy. You can become much more focused. You can be more energetic. So there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t have a great life after the menopause.
But, and this is a real big but, it can take a lot of hard work. If you think about it, if you’ve gone through the average five years, for five whole years, your body has been under a huge amount of stress from all the hormonal changes that have been going on.
Your body has had to work really hard. It’s maybe had to really struggle. And once your hormone levels have balanced off, your body still has to recuperate and, you know, as women today, we tend to really push our bodies. So you need to realise that especially, once your periods stop, that this is the point when you have to take care of yourself really well.
You have to have a good diet. You have to have good nutrition. You have to have that rest and relaxation because the better that you look after yourself now, the better that your postmenopausal years are going to be, and that is a really great incentive.
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Do Men Go Through Menopause
Andropause, or male menopause, is a term given to describe decreasing testosterone levels in men. Testosterone production in men declines much more gradually than estrogen production in women at about 1% per year. Healthcare providers often debate calling this slow decline in testosterone menopause since its not as drastic of a hormone shift and doesn’t carry the same intensity of side effects as menopause in women. Some men will not even notice the change because it happens over many years or decades. Other names for the male version of menopause are age-related low testosterone, male hypogonadism or androgen deficiency.
Should I Continue Using Birth Control During The Transition To 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 birth control methods.
You cant get pregnant after menopause, but anyone who has sex can get sexually transmitted infections . 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 dental dam 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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Are There Treatments For The Menopause
If your symptoms are severe, theres treatment available which could help. This includes hormone replacement therapy , which replaces oestrogen to alleviate symptoms, creams for vaginal dryness, and cognitive behaviour therapy to help with mood changes. Speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of different treatments.
What Are The Early Signs Of Menopause
There are many possible menopause symptoms. Each womens experience is very personal to her, but typical perimenopause symptoms might include:
- unusually heavy, light or irregular periods
- vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
- a drop in libido
- mood swings which could include stress, irritability, anxiety or depression
- putting on weight
- joint and muscle aches
Around 1 in every 10 women find their periods stop abruptly without any noticeable changes in their cycle before that point. This might be ideal for some women. However, its a problem if youre trying to get pregnant and dont realise that youre going through the menopause.
One in four women will have severe menopause symptoms. This might mean recurrent urinary tract infections caused by vaginal dryness, hot flushes that leave you unable to cope, or unpleasant psychological symptoms. Its best to see your doctor, because a range of treatments is available.
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How To Know When Menopause Is Over
When you are going through the menopause it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but its important to know that there is an end to it. So, this week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause I thought I would take a look at how to know when menopause is over, including how long it lasts, what are the signs that menopause is finally over and how you can feel afterwards.
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.
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An Early First Menstrual Period May Lead To Premature Menopause
How do you know if you’re starting perimenopause?
The most telling symptom is changes in your menstrual cycle, says psychiatrist Hadine Joffe, the executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“It’s the menstrual cycle pattern that really defines this lead-up to menopause,” she says. During perimenopause, periods “might be shorter, then a long one, or then a skipped one, or then the flow might be different,” says Joffe.
There’s no blood or hormone test that can “diagnose” perimenopause. Joffe says a hormone test isn’t helpful because hormonal cycles become erratic and unpredictable during this stage.
“There’s not really one point in time when a hormone test is done that can be definitive,” she says. Even if you took several tests over time, “you might get a very different readout.”
Surprisingly, sometimes doctors aren’t prepared to help women recognize the start of this life phase. Edrie was upset at her doctors’ responses â or lack thereof. “I felt so disappointed in the medical industry. How many women has my OB/GYN seen and not recognized the symptoms of perimenopause?”
What symptoms to expect
Home Remedies: Vitamin E Black Cohosh And Herbs
Some women report that vitamin Esupplements can provide relief from mild hot flashes, but scientific studies are lacking to prove the effectiveness of vitamin E in relieving symptoms of menopause. Taking a dosage greater than 400 international units of vitamin E may not be safe, since some studies have suggested that greater dosages may be associated with cardiovascular disease risk.
Other alternative therapies for menopause symptoms
There are many supplements and substances that have been advertised as “natural” treatments for symptoms of menopause, including licorice, dong Quai, chaste berry, and wild yam. Scientific studies have not proven the safety or effectiveness of these products.
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Are You Headed For Menopause
You won’t know exactly when your menopause will hit. All you can do is pay attention to how you’re feeling and notice changes. Keep in mind that symptoms vary greatly from woman to woman. Some women have no symptoms at all.
When Do I Know That Im Having A Hot Flash
During a hot flash, youll likely feel your body temperature rise. Hot flashes affect the top half of your body, and your skin may even turn red in color or become blotchy. This rush of heat could lead to sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of dizziness. After the hot flash, you may feel cold.
Hot flashes may come on daily or even multiple times a day. You may experience them over the course of a year or even several years.
Avoiding triggers may reduce the number of hot flashes you experience. These can include:
- consuming alcohol or caffeine
Being overweight and smoking may also make hot flashes worse.
A few techniques may help reduce your hot flashes and their symptoms:
- Dress in layers to help with hot flashes, and use a fan in your home or office space.
- Do breathing exercises during a hot flash to try to minimize it.
Medications such as birth control pills, hormone therapy, or even other prescriptions may help you reduce hot flashes. See your doctor if youre having difficulty managing hot flashes on your own.
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