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.
Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms
Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used “off-label” and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .
Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed “off-label” for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:
Menopause And Weight Gain
According to a 2017 article, most people experience some weight gain around menopause, but those who did not have overweight before entering menopause can usually manage this with lifestyle measures.
The Office for Womens Health note that many people gain an average of 5 pounds after menopause.
Reasons for weight gain may include:
- increased hunger due to changes in the hormones that control hunger
- changes to metabolism, due to hormonal factors
- eating less healthfully
- factors relating to midlife
Anyone who has concerns about weight gain should speak to a dietitian or doctor about suitable options, which will likely include dietary and exercise choices. Avoiding excess weight can help reduce the risk of various health problems in the long-term.
People who have obesity before or during menopause are more likely to experience hot flashes and other symptoms. Losing weight can help a person manage some of these challenges.
Click here for some tips on how to manage weight gain around menopause.
Many people say they have difficulty focusing and remembering things during menopause. Some call this brain fog. Stress is a significant factor.
Reasons for stress may include:
- the impact of physical changes
- domestic, professional, and other pressures
- concerns about aging
Ways of managing stress and thinking problems include:
What is brain fog, and who can have it? Find out here.
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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.
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.
Oral Contraceptives And Vaginal Treatments
Oral contraceptive pills
Oral contraceptive pills are another form of hormone therapy often prescribed for women in perimenopause to treat irregular vaginal bleeding. Women in the menopausal transition tend to have considerable breakthrough bleeding when given estrogen therapy. Therefore, oral contraceptives are often given to women in the menopause transition to regulate menstrual periods, relieve hot flashes, as well as to provide contraception. They are not recommended for women who have already reached menopause, because the dose of estrogen is higher than that needed to control hot flashes and other symptoms. The contraindications for oral contraceptives in women going through the menopause transition are the same as those for premenopausal women.
Local hormone and non-hormone treatments
There are also local hormonal treatments for the symptoms of vaginal estrogen deficiency. Local treatments include the vaginal estrogen ring , vaginal estrogen cream, or vaginal estrogen tablets. Local and oral estrogen treatments are sometimes combined for this purpose.
Vaginal moisturizing agents such as creams or lotions as well as the use of lubricants during intercourse are non-hormonal options for managing the discomfort of vaginal dryness.
How Can I Tell If I’m Beginning Menopause
Menopause, the end of a womans monthly ovulation and monthly menstrual periods, occurs on average at about the age of 51. This is an average number, which doesnt take into account great variance. Some women begin menopause much sooner, and others much later. One of the predicting factors is the age your own mother began menopause. While menopause itself, when periods and ovulation truly stop is usually easy to recognize, its not so easy to recognize whether youre beginning menopause, and going through the stage called perimenopause or premenopause, which can occur as early as 15 years before your periods actually stop. There are some signs and symptoms you may be beginning menopause, in addition to medical tests that can help you decide if this change of life is on its way.
As early as their thirties, some women may feel they are starting menopause because of changes to their monthly cycle. Periods may become heavier or lighter. If youve had a predictable cycle in the past, this can change, and periods may happen either more or less frequently, and occur unexpectedly. Just as when you began your period, its a good idea to keep maxi pads or tampons with you in case an unexpected period occurs.
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Whats The Difference Between Perimenopause And Menopause
Perimenopause refers to the period of time right before menopause begins.
During perimenopause, your body is beginning the transition into menopause. That means that hormone production from your ovaries is beginning to decline. You may begin to experience some symptoms commonly associated with menopause, like hot flashes. Your menstrual cycle may become irregular, but it wont cease during the perimenopause stage.
Once you completely stop having a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months, youve entered menopause.
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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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.;
Can I Get Pregnant During Perimenopause
Potentially, yes. If youre aged over 50, you may be able to get pregnant until a year after your last period. If youre aged under 50, it may be two years after your last period. So, if you need to use contraception, you should continue using it during this time. However, if youre taking a hormonal contraceptive, it can be difficult to tell when your last period has happened. If this is the case for you, youll need to use contraception until the age of 55. Your GP can give you advice about different contraception options. They can also help you with any of the menopause symptoms Ive outlined here I do encourage you to talk to them.
If youre struggling with menopause symptoms, or want to support someone who is, were here to help. Theres lots of information, expert advice and signposting on the menopause pages;within our Womens Health Hub, and you dont need to be a Bupa customer to access any of it.
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Will I Start Menopause If I Have A Hysterectomy
During a hysterectomy, your uterus is removed. You wont have a period after this procedure. However, if you kept your ovaries removal of your ovaries is called an oophorectomy you may not have symptoms of menopause right away. If your ovaries are also removed, you will have symptoms of menopause immediately.
What Are The Effects Of Early Or Premature Menopause
Women who go through menopause early may have or similar to those of regular menopause.
But some women with early or premature menopause may also have:
- Higher risk of serious health problems, such as and , since women will live longer without the health benefits of higher estrogen levels. Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps to lower your risk for these health problems.
- More severe menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor or nurse about to help with symptoms if they affect your daily life.
- Sadness or over the early loss of fertility or the change in their bodies. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression, including less energy or a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed that lasts longer than a few weeks. Your doctor or nurse can recommend specialists who can help you deal with your feelings. Your doctor or nurse can also discuss options, such as adoption or donor egg programs, if you want to have children.
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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.
Most People Experience Symptoms
Menopause is not an illness, but the hormonal changes that occur can trigger symptoms.
These can range from mild to severe, leading, in some cases, to discomfort and distress. Treatment can help manage symptoms.
Common symptoms include:
Hot flashes: Sudden sensations of heat in the upper body affect up to 75% of people.
Night sweats: These are hot flashes that occur at night.
Difficulty sleeping: Night sweats, mood changes, and anxiety can make it hard to sleep.
Vaginal dryness: Sex can be painful as a result.
Reduced libido: Sexual desire can fall as hormone levels drop, but vaginal dryness can also make sex uncomfortable.
Mood changes: Fluctuating hormone levels and environmental factors can contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Hormonal changes can also contribute to osteoporosis. When a person has osteoporosis, their bone density decreases, and bones are more likely to break. The risk of osteoporosis rises during and after menopause.
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What Happens At Menopause
Women are born with about a million eggs in each ovary. By puberty about 300,000 eggs remain, and by menopause there are no active eggs left.
On average, a woman in Australia will have 400-500 periods in her lifetime. From about 35-40 years of age, the number of eggs left in your ovaries decreases more quickly and you ovulate less regularly until your periods stop. Menopause means the end of ovulation.
Bleeding If You’re On The Pill
If you’re taking the combined pill, you’ll have monthly period-type bleeds for as long as you keep taking the pill.
If you’re taking the progestogen-only pill, your bleeds may be irregular or stop altogether for as long as you keep taking the pill.
The combined pill may also mask or control menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats.
These factors;can make it hard to know when you’re no longer ovulating;and;therefore no longer fertile.
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Do Phytoestrogen Treatments Reduce The Number And Severity Of Hot Flushes And Are They Safe And Acceptable
Cochrane evidenceCochrane Reviews are systematic reviews. In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question . The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. More: A Cochrane review includes 43 randomisedRandomization is the process of randomly dividing into groups the people taking part in a trial. One group will be given the intervention being tested and compared with a group which does not receive the intervention . ;Morecontrolled trialsA trial in which a group is given a intervention being tested is compared with a group which does not receive the intervention . More with over 4000 women, but many were small, brief and poor quality, and looked at many different types of phytoestrogens.
There is no conclusive evidence to show that phytoestrogen supplements effectively reduce the frequency or severity of hot flushes and night sweats in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.
Why Am I Still Having A Period At 50
If you are still having periods past age 50, you are probably only ovulating sporadically, she said. But pregnancy can happen. And, when it does at this age, you have a higher chance of hypertension, gestational diabetes and miscarriage. The best predictor for your age of menopause, said Deighan, is your genes.
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How Do I Know If Im Going Through Menopause
| ; June 21, 2019 ; | ;Menopause
There comes a time in all womens lives when a hormonal switch occurs in the body, causing you to stop menstruating. The transition is a slow one, with;the process taking between 1 and 10 years, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, and is a unique aspect of womens health. The final phase of the hormonal transition occurs when youve gone 12 months without having a period. Although it happens to everyone, with some women going through it earlier than others, there are some common experiences that most women have. Here are six symptoms of menopause to expect once your body begins this important transition.;;
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