Will I Gain Weight When I Experience Menopause
Changes in your hormone levels may cause you to gain weight. However, aging can also contribute to weight gain.
Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and practicing other healthy habits to help control your weight. Being overweight can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.
At What Age Do Most Women Reach Menopause
The medical definition of menopause is no menstrual bleeding for a year, according to Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the medical director of the Northwestern Center for Menopause and the Northwestern Center for Sexual Medicine in Chicago.
Most women experience menopause between age 40 and 58, and the average age at menopause is 51, according to the North American Menopause Society.
Many women are surprised when they go through menopause in their forties because they think theyre too young, but its not unusual, says Dr. Streicher.
How To Know When Menopause Is Over
If youre lucky, youll be able to recognize the end of menopause by the decline in the symptoms mentioned above. You should start sleeping better, feeling like your old self, and your overall mood should improve.
Unfortunately, many women wont experience this right away. Your estrogen levels remain low after menopause, so some of the symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes, might last for a long time. So how do you know when menopause is over?
Well, aside from the subjective feeling of wellness, there are many tests you can undergo to see whether youre postmenopausal. Follicle-stimulating hormone test has proven itself to be very reliable. It has been confirmed that high FSH levels indicate the end of menopause. For example, a study was able to make a clear distinction between menopausal women, whose median FSH level was 21 mIU/mL, and postmenopausal women, whose value was 57.2±1.4 mIU/mL.
So to sum up: if you havent had a period in 12 months and have high FSH levels, youre very likely done with menopause. Other signs are primarily subjective, but you should notice the symptoms of menopause start to subside.
If this doesnt happen, you should check with your physician to see whether everything is going the way it should.
Don’t Miss: Menopausal Apron Belly
Menopause Vs Pregnancy Symptoms
There are many symptoms that may accompany pregnancy and menopause. Symptoms in one pregnancy may differ from another pregnancy, even in the same woman. Likewise, menopause symptoms differ from person to person, and they also can change over time. The following are some general symptoms that you may have in perimenopause and pregnancy.
General Tips For Mirena Coil Use
The Mirena coil requires very little maintenance. A doctor inserts it in the uterus in an outpatient procedure. Likewise, a doctor removes it when it expires. IUDs often expire after about 5 years.
In some cases, IUDs shift or fall out. Anyone who suspects that this has happened should see a doctor, who will replace the device.
Some people notice bleeding and cramping following the insertion of an IUD. Light bleeding could last for up to several months, while the body adjusts to the device.
You May Like: Sweet Potato Hormone Therapy
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Drive
Yes, menopause can affect your sex drive but it doesnt mean your sex life is over.
Dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can make you feel less sexual desire. The symptoms can also affect your sleep and lower your energy which might make you not so into sex. Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation can also feel like a turn-off. Its also normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or loss while going through menopause.
If you lose interest in sex during this time, itll probably come back when your symptoms stop.
A pretty common symptom that can affect your sexual desire is vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
For symptoms that affect your sex life, trying one or more of these things can help:
Use water- or silicone-based lube when you have sex. You can buy lube at most drugstores or online.
Give your yourself more time to feel aroused. Moisture from being aroused protects sensitive tissues.
Have sex and/or masturbate more often. This increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep your vaginal tissue healthy.
Some people may actually find that they want to have sex MORE after menopause, because they dont have to worry about getting pregnant. This may give you a sense of freedom to enjoy a renewed and exciting sex life.
Menopause is a natural biological process. And while it marks the end of your ability to get pregnant, it definitely doesnt have to be the end of your sexuality.
More Frequent Visits To The Bathroom
More frequent visits to the bathroom could be a sign that your wife has entered perimenopause. There are two menopause symptoms that can cause a woman to visit the bathroom more regularly: The first being that she has experienced a shift in menstruation patterns and is experiencing irregular bleeding, the second that she is suffering from one of the urinary infections, or incontinence, associated with menopause.
Also Check: Tubal Ligation And Early Menopause
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do my symptoms indicate that I might be going through menopause?
- My menstrual cycle is irregular. Could it be caused by something other than menopause?
- Im uncomfortable and/or dont feel well. Is there a way to safely treat my symptoms?
- Ive heard that soy products or herbal supplements may help. Are these effective? Are they good options for me?
- Am I a candidate for hormone replacement therapy?
- What are the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy?
- Am I at risk for heart disease or osteoporosis?
- Do I need any tests, such as bone density screening?
- Now that Im going through menopause, what changes, if any, should I make to my diet and exercise?
What Symptoms Are Caused By The Reduced Levels Of Estrogen In My Body
About 75 percent of women experience hot flashes during menopause, making them the most common symptom experienced by menopausal women. Hot flashes can occur during the day or at night. Some women may also experience muscle and joint pain, known as arthralgia, or mood swings.
It may be difficult to determine whether these symptoms are caused by shifts in your hormones, life circumstances, or the aging process itself.
Recommended Reading: Tubal Ligation Early Menopause
Common Signs Of Menopause
Menopause is a natural biological process, and although it ends fertility, women can stay healthy, vital, and sexual. Even so, the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy orfor some womentrigger anxiety or feelings of sadness and loss.
Understanding The Menopausal Transition
Menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition or perimenopause.
The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about seven years but can be as long as 14 years. The duration can depend on lifestyle factors such as smoking, age it begins, and race and ethnicity. During perimenopause, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly.
The menopausal transition affects each woman uniquely and in various ways. The body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily. You may experience changes in your bone or heart health, your body shape and composition, or your physical function.
Is Having A Hard Time Concentrating And Being Forgetful A Normal Part Of Menopause
Unfortunately, concentration and minor memory problems can be a normal part of menopause. Though this doesnt happen to everyone, it can happen. If youre having memory problems during menopause, call your healthcare provider. Several activities have been shown to stimulate the brain and help rejuvenate your memory. These activities can include:
- Doing crossword puzzles and other mentally stimulating activities like reading and doing math problems.
- Cutting back on passive activities like watching TV.
- Getting plenty of exercise.
Keep in mind that depression and anxiety can also impact your memory. These conditions can be linked to menopause.
Talking To Your Doctor About Menopause
However old you are, or whatever your circumstances, if you are concerned about your menstrual cycle or think you may be experiencing symptoms of the peri-menopause and are worried, you should talk to your doctor. Before your consultation with you doctor, think about the following questions they may ask you:
- When was your last period?
- Are you sexually active or could you be pregnant?
- Do you use contraception/birth control?
- What are your symptoms and how often do you experience them?
- Does anything improve or make your symptoms worse?
- How often and what type of exercise do you do?
- Do you have any other medical conditions
Another good idea is to keep a menstrual diary documenting your menstruation cycle, how long a period is, how frequently or infrequently your periods occur, what the color of the menstrual bleeding is and how thin or thick it is. Placing any symptoms you are experiencing into the Isabel Symptom Checker and discussing the results with your doctor will also help you both rule out anything more sinister and determine the cause of your symptoms.
Peri-menopausal symptoms vary from woman to woman but can take up a long period in a womans life before they resolve. This can be a very challenging part of the aging process especially as other disorders can be developing at the same time. Know your symptoms and what is normal, and this will help you manage this period in your life. You can access our free Isabel Symptom Checker below:
Recommended Reading: Intrarosa Pros And Cons
Do All Menopausal People Experience A Decrease In Sexual Desire
Not all people experience a decreased sexual desire. In some cases, its just the opposite. This could be because theres no longer any fear of getting pregnant. For many, this allows them to enjoy sex without worrying about family planning.
However, it’s still important to use protection during sex if not in a monogamous relationship. Once your doctor makes the diagnosis of menopause, you can no longer become pregnant. However, when you are in the menopause transition , you can still become pregnant. You also need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections by wearing a condom. You can get an STI at any time in your life . STIs like HPV can lead to cervical cancer.
Can My Diet Affect How Well I Sleep
The following tips can help reduce sleep problems:
- Eat regular meals at regular times.
- Avoid late-night meals and heavy late-night snacks.
- Limit caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola drinks. Caffeine stays in the bloodstream for up to 6 hours and can interfere with sleep.
- Avoid alcohol. It may make you feel sleepy, but it actually affects the cycle of REM and non-REM sleep. This may cause you to wake up throughout the night.
Recommended Reading: Estrogen Dizziness
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.
How Is Menopause Diagnosed
If you believe you are going through menopause and have concerns, talk to your doctor. Menopause does not require an official diagnosis unless you want to confirm it. Your doctor may order a blood test to check your hormone levels. They will check for estrogen as well as a follicle-stimulating hormone .
Recommended Reading: How To Increase Breast Size After Menopause
What Hormonal Changes Happen During Menopause
The traditional changes we think of as “menopause” happen when your ovaries no longer produce high levels of hormones. The ovaries are the reproductive glands that store eggs and release them into the fallopian tubes. They also produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as testosterone. Together, estrogen and progesterone control menstruation. Estrogen also influences how your body uses calcium and maintains cholesterol levels in the blood.
As menopause nears, your ovaries no longer release eggs into the fallopian tubes, and youll have your last menstrual cycle.
Early Signs I Am Going Through Menopause
Women may begin experiencing symptoms of menopause one to two years before menstruation actually stops. This period, called perimenopause, is when estrogen levels start to drop, sending the body through several changes. If youre experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may mean the beginning of menopause:
1. Changes in periods: Your period may not be as regular as it used to be. It may be heavier or lighter than normal, or short or longer in duration. Occasional spotting is also common.
2. Hot flashes and night sweats: Most menopausal women experience hot flashes, which are indicated by a sudden feeling of heat either in your upper body or all over your body. The sense of heat may cause you to sweat or feel flushed. Intensity level varies, but most hot flashes last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. Many women experience them while sleeping, which is what causes them to wake up sweating in the middle of the night.
3. Vaginal Dryness, Painful Sex: Decreased hormone production can affect the thin layer of moisture that coats the vaginal walls. This can cause vaginal dryness, which may result in itching, burning, pain with intercourse, light bleeding and the urge to urinate often. Using a vaginal moisturizer or a water-based lubricant with sex can help to reduce the unpleasant side effects.
Also Check: Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation
Cholesterol Changes And Increased Risk Of Heart Disease
A loss of estrogen can cause an increase in LDL cholesterol, sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol. It can also lead to a decrease in HDL, or good cholesterol. This increases your risk of heart disease.
increased six-foldTrusted Source for women ages 35-44, on average. Birth rates have also increased for women over 45. Additionally, birth rates in this age range have increased by 5 percent in 2015. At the same time, many women start to experience menopause symptoms between 45 and 55 years old. The average age for perimenopause is 51, and an estimated 6,000 women in the United States reach menopause every day.
If youre still having menstrual periods, its possible to become pregnant.
How Long Do Menopause Symptoms Last
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.
Also Check: Menopause After Tubal Ligation
Mirena As Contraception During Perimenopause
Anyone who has been using birth control to prevent pregnancy should continue to do so until they enter menopause.
While fertility typically starts to decline in a womanâs mid-30s, it is possible for some women to get pregnant into their 50s.
According to the standard definition, menopause has begun if 12 months have passed without a period. However, because the Mirena coil can stop periods from occurring, it is important to use another method of determining when menopause has begun.
A doctor may do a blood test to check for follicle-stimulating hormone and estrogen levels. During perimenopause, FSH levels typically rise as estrogen levels fall. The doctor may need to run the test more than once, since these levels can naturally fluctuate.
There is no set time to remove the Mirena coil, unless it expires.
Womenâs Health Concern recommend waiting for 1 year after the last period before stopping birth control.
Anyone who removes the Mirena coil before they enter menopause should switch to another form of birth control if they wish to prevent pregnancy.
Some people choose to wait until their coils expire, even after menopause has begun. A doctor can provide specific guidance.
Hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate some symptoms of menopause. It is not a form of birth control.
HRT injections, pills, or patches may ease some menopause symptoms, such as:
- night sweats
- lower bone density
- vaginal dryness
How Does Menopause Affect My Bone Health
The decline in estrogen production can affect the amount of calcium in your bones. This can cause significant decreases in bone density, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis. It can also make you more susceptible to hip, spine, and other bone fractures. Many women experience accelerated bone loss the first few years after their last menstrual period.
To keep your bones healthy:
- Eat foods with lots of calcium, such as dairy products or dark leafy greens.
- Take vitamin D supplements.
- Exercise regularly and include weight training in your exercise routine.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Avoid smoking.
There are prescription medications you may want to discuss with your doctor to prevent bone loss as well.
Recommended Reading: What Helps With Dizziness During Menopause
General Recommendations For Ht
Current guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of severe hot flashes that do not respond to non-hormonal therapies. General recommendations include:
- HT may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
- HT should not be used in women who have started menopause many years ago.
- Women should not take HT if they have risks for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
- Currently, there is no consensus on how long HT should be used or at what age it should be discontinued. Treatment should be individualized for a woman’s specific health profile.
- HT should be used only for menopause symptom management, not for chronic disease prevention.
Before starting HT, your doctor should give you a comprehensive physical exam and take your medical history to evaluate your risks for:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
While taking HT, you should have regular mammograms and pelvic exams and Pap smears. Current guidelines recommend that if HT is needed, it should be initiated around the time of menopause. Studies indicate that the risk of serious side effects is lower for women who use HT while in their 50s. Women who start HT past the age of 60 appear to have a higher risk for side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or breast cancer. HT should be used with care in this age group.
Women who should not take hormone therapy include those with the following conditions: