Stick To A Routine Or Establish A New One
Beyond working out to maintain weight, regular, routine workouts help stabilize hormone levels, according to Dr. Richardson. When you stay in a fitness routine, the adrenal glands, which control our stress pathways, stay calm. I know a lot of routines have been disrupted by this pandemic so you may even need to create a new routine to stay healthy.
Beyond regular movement, your routine should also include self-care and drinking loads of water, she says. Water is the fuel the body runs on. I suggest taking your body weight and dividing it in half. Thats how many ounces per day you need.”
What Is The Emotional Impact Of Poi
Early menopause and POI is medically defined as the cessation of menstruation, but it can be so much more than that. The symptoms of early menopause and the impact on fertility can be upsetting and have a serious impact on mental well-being.
“A woman who finds herself with the symptoms of POI who hasn’t had a family, that’s a big issue. The loss of fertility and the psychological impact of that can be huge. Even for a woman who has had a family. Having the decision taken away from her is difficult,” says Spowart.
The potential impact on sexual function can also be distressing too. “Vaginal dryness and symptoms like that can make sex uncomfortable and it can create distress and anxiety for women,” he adds.
Although menopause is natural, stigma and the taboo about revealing menopausal symptoms can have an impact on women too.
“Some people are aware of POI in their families, but some families don’t talk about it,” Spowart says. “Having people talk about it and getting the right information out there are important.”
Jennifer*, who began the menopause at 38, says she struggled with stigma associated with POI. “My symptoms, physically, were pretty standard – cessation of periods, sore breasts,” she says.
“However, I was not in a great marriage at the time and my then father-in-law and to some extent my husband, had always enjoyed talking about women in this part of their lives as ‘dried up’.
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.
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What Is Premature & Early Menopause
‘Premature menopause’ is when the final menstrual period occurs before a woman is 40. ‘Early menopause’ is when the final menstrual period occurs between 40 and 45 years. Up to 8% of women have had their final period by the time they are 45. The number of women reaching menopause by this time may be increased in relation to treatment after cancer, or removal of the ovaries.
This may happen because:
- periods stop spontaneously due to primary ovarian insufficiency this affects up to 1% of women
- menopause is induced by a secondary cause such as:
- surgery when ovaries are removed surgically
- chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
This video explains the causes of and treatments for premature and early menopause.
Lifestyle Factors In Controlling The Symptoms And Complications Of Menopause
Many of the symptoms of menopause and the medical complications that may develop in postmenopausal women can be lessened or even avoided by taking steps to lead a healthy lifestyle.
- Regular exercise can help protect against cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Exercise also has proven mental health benefits.
- Stop smoking
Which types of doctors treat menopausal symptoms?
The symptoms of menopause are often treated by a womanâs gynecologist. Primary care providers, including family medicine specialists and internists, may also treat the symptoms of menopause.
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Diagnosis Of Premature Or Early Menopause
Premature and early menopause is diagnosed using a number of tests including:
- medical history, family history and medical examination
- investigations to rule out other causes of amenorrhoea , such as pregnancy, extreme weight loss, other hormone disturbances and some diseases of the reproductive system
- investigations into other conditions associated with premature or early menopause, such as autoimmune diseases
- genetic tests to check for the presence of genetic conditions associated with premature or early menopause
- blood tests to check hormone levels.
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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Another routine youll want to adopt? A healthy bedtime. When women go into menopause and their hormones are out of balance, they may have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, Dr. Richardson says. Study after study shows that sleep really helps your metabolism, so not getting the right amount and type of sleep can really affect your ability to lose or maintain weight as you age and in times of stress.
Get into bed early, aim for seven hours, and make your bedroom a place where you can achieve undisturbed sleep, if possible. She recommends taking L-theanine in the evening to calm you down and achieve deep sleep, but check with your doctor first. Try to think of your bedtime as a respite from the daily anxiety of a global pandemic.
Can Early Menopause Protect Me From Other Conditions
Starting menopause early can actually protect you from other diseases. These include estrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer.
Women who enter menopause late are at greater risk of breast cancer than those who enter the transition earlier. This is because their breast tissue is exposed to estrogen for a longer time.
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How Long Does The Menopause Last
Symptoms of the menopause can start months or even years before periods stop completely. They usually continue for around 4 years after your last period, though some womens symptoms continue for much longer.
The menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55, but its very difficult to predict when it will take place in an individual.
What Happens If I Have A Hysterectomy
Women may experience menopause for reasons other than as a natural transition. With surgical menopause, via a total hysterectomy, you will experience an immediate and significant change in your hormonal balance. Women whove had partial hysterectomy, when only the uterus is removed, are still likely to go through normal perimenopause and menopause. However, because their periods stop, it may be more difficult to know when these transitions are starting. Surgical removal of the ovaries or significant disruption of the blood supply to the ovaries from surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or certain medications will most likely result in menopause.
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When Do Menopause And Perimenopause Start
The average age for women to experience menopause is 52, but some women may begin early menopause between the ages of 40-45. Other common questions are what is perimenopause and how is it different? If youre experiencing symptoms but still menstruating, youre in perimenopause. Perimenopause symptoms can start months or years before menopause, often when a woman is in her 40s.During this time, your periods may become irregular and you may even skip several months. Irregular periods are a key symptom of perimenopause as hormonal changes may cause you to ovulate on a less regular basis. But keep in mind, until you havent menstruated for 12 full months, you havent started menopause yet.
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:
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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 7 years but can last as long as 14 years. During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly. Bones become less dense, making women more vulnerable to fractures. During this period, too, the body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily.
Menopause may be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries, which produce hormones. If you have surgery to remove your ovaries or uterus and are not taking hormones, you will experience the symptoms of menopause immediately.
This time in a woman’s life is often full of other transitionsnot just physical ones. Women may be caring for aging parents or relatives, supporting their children as they move into adulthood, or taking on new responsibilities at work.
Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
Estrogen deficiency throws off how the brain regulates body temperature, and this may lead to hot flashes. A hot flash is a sudden, intense feeling of heat or burning in the face, neck, and chest, often accompanied by redness.
A night sweat refers to a hot flash that occurs during sleep. Night sweats can negatively impact your sleep cycle, which may lead to tiredness during the day.
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Easing The Transition To Menopause
A genetic test may one day determine a persons likelihood of early menopause. For now, though, only time will tell when youll start your transition.
See your doctor for regular checkups, and be proactive about your reproductive health. Doing so can help your doctor ease the symptoms or decrease your risk factors for early menopause.
Seeing a therapist can also help you cope with any pain or anxiety you may feel during menopause.
How Is Premature Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Treated
Management of the condition can vary depending on why menopause started earlier than normal. Given the health risks associated with early menopause, hormone replacement therapy is routinely recommended to all women with premature menopause or primary ovarian insufficiency, unless there is a compelling reason it cant be used. There is a lot of confusion about the safety of hormone therapies. Many of the risks of hormone therapy used after natural menopause are not thought to apply to women who have premature menopause. It is important to discuss the pros and cons of hormone therapy with your doctor. Some healthcare providers have additional certification in the management of menopause, and these providers will be a valuable resource when receiving conflicting information about the safety of hormone therapy.
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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 .
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.
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.
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What Happens And How Does It Feel
For some women this loss of reproductive ability may be deeply felt, and for all women the menopause is a personal experience, not just a medical condition. However, the diminishing release of oestrogen from the ovary as women advance into their 40s is often the cause of symptoms which can be distressing and may need medical attention.
Hot flushes are the most common symptom of the menopause, occurring in three in every four menopausal women. Other common symptoms include night sweats, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, irritated skin, more frequent urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections, low mood and a reduced interest in sex. Symptoms vary hugely in duration, severity and what impact they have on women.
All the common symptoms of the menopause are associated with a decrease in the bodys production of oestrogen. Oestrogen lack can affect many parts of the body, including the brain, causing changes in emotional well-being, and the skin, influencing its elasticity and thickness.
There is also some evidence that oestrogen deficiency is the cause of some chemical changes in the body which make women after the menopause especially vulnerable to heart disease and stroke.
What Is Perimenopause
Perimenopause occurs during the 40s for most women, but some notice changes as early as their mid-30s. As estrogen hormones rise and fall, periods grow longer or shorter and women experience menopause-like symptoms. Perimenopause is a natural part of the aging process, although some medications, cancer treatments and ovary surgery can speed up the process or cause menopause sooner.
“Your ovaries are shutting down, but the process takes some time. That process is called perimenopause,” explains Kourtney Morris, MD, a Franciscan Physician Network Obstetrics & Gynecology in Lafayette, Indiana. “For some women, perimenopause is barely noticeable, but for others, the symptoms make them miserable.”
Perimenopause lasts for four years on average but sometimes only a few months. In the last one or two years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen speeds up, and women experience menopause symptoms while still having a period.
Dr. Morris discusses this stage of life and how to deal with uncomfortable perimenopausal symptoms.
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What Is The Menopause
Menopause consists of three stages:
- The menopause transition . These are the years leading up to the final menstrual period and the year after the final menstrual period. During this time, changes in your hormones may lead to symptoms such as hot flushes and changes in menstrual bleeding patterns. Night sweats can cause sleep disturbances and affect your mood and concentration during the day. Some women are still able to conceive during the menopause transition so you should continue to use contraception until at least twelve months after your final period if you dont wish to become pregnant.
- Natural menopause is the spontaneous, permanent end to menstrual periods that is not caused by medical treatment or surgery. It is confirmed by twelve consecutive months of no menstrual bleeding.
- Postmenopause is the time beyond one year after your final menstrual bleeding and lasts for the rest of your life.