When To Seek Help
Its common and normal to experience irregular periods when youre perimenopausal.
- suddenly experience very heavy periods or periods with blood clots
- have periods lasting longer than usual
- spot or bleed after sex
- spot or bleed after your period
- have periods close together
Osteoporosis and heart disease are long-term health risks associated with menopause. Thats because estrogen plays a significant role in protecting your bones and your heart. Without estrogen, youre at an increased risk for both diseases.
Youre also at an increased risk of urinary tract infections because menopause can cause your urethra to become dry, irritated, or inflamed. Vaginal infections can also occur more frequently because your vagina has become dryer and thinner.
Report menopausal symptoms when visiting the doctor. Get assessed by your physician if you continue to have menopausal symptoms that are unbearable or last more than five years after your last menstrual period.
Although menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms for some women, this natural process has possible upsides, too. There are several potential benefits of menopause to consider:
You will still need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.
Do You Have Early Or Late Menopause
Figuring out if youre going through the transition early or late can help you gain a better understanding of how long menopause will last. If you start having irregular periods in your mid-40s, you may be experiencing early or premature menopause.
Heavy bleeding, spotting, a period after a year of no periods, or periods that are noticeably longer or shorter than normal can all signal early menopause, especially in combination with other common menopausal symptoms.;
If you are 55 or older and still havent noticed menopause symptoms, your doctor may diagnose you with late-onset menopause.
Late menopause may actually have some health benefits, while early menopause could potentially cause problems. During menopause, the production of estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries declines. In early-onset menopause, this cessation may cause problems such as osteoporosis. The longer your ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, the longer you can avoid osteoporosis.
If youre still having periods in your late 50s and 60s, see your doctor. Each womans reproductive system is different, so dont be alarmed until youve spoken to a doctor.
Why Does Menopause Happen
Natural menopause menopause that happens in your early 50s and is not caused by surgery or another medical condition is a normal part of aging. Menopause is defined as a complete year without menstrual bleeding, in the absence of any surgery or medical condition that may cause bleeding to artificially stop As you age, the reproductive cycle begins to slow down and prepares to stop. This cycle has been continuously functioning since puberty. As menopause nears, the ovaries make less of a hormone called estrogen. When this decrease occurs, your menstrual cycle starts to change. It can become irregular and then stop. Physical changes can also happen as your body adapts to different levels of hormones. The symptoms you experience during each stage of menopause are all part of your bodys adjustment to these changes.
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How Long Does A Woman Go Through Menopause
The entire process of menopause typically lasts between 7 and 11 years, though it may be more or less for some.
Disclaimer:The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Can Women Get Pregnant Even If Theyre Perimenopausal
Despite declines in fertility during perimenopause, ;it is still possible to become pregnant. Even when periods become less frequent, the body may be releasing more eggs. Furthermore, if a person with a uterus is currently taking birth control, they should continue to do so during perimenopause. If they are not on birth control, they should use an additional form of contraception for protection. It is also necessary to keep track of menstrual cycles in order to determine when it has been 12 months since the last cycle. Scheduling regular gynecological visits is a great way to help ensure that any rogue pregnancies will be detected early.
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When To See A Gp
It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.
What Is Hormone Therapy
During menopause, your body goes through major hormonal changes, decreasing the amount of hormones it makes particularly estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are produced by the ovaries. When your ovaries no longer make enough estrogen and progesterone, hormone therapy can be used as a supplement. Hormone therapy boosts your hormone levels and can help relieve some symptoms of menopause. Its also used as a preventative measure for osteoporosis.
There are two main types of hormone therapy:
- Estrogen therapy : In this treatment, estrogen is taken alone. Its typically prescribed in a low dose and can be taken as a pill or patch. ET can also be given to you as a cream, vaginal ring, gel or spray. This type of treatment is used after a hysterectomy. Estrogen alone cant be used if a woman still has a uterus.
- Estrogen Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy : This treatment is also called combination therapy because it uses doses of estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is available in its natural form, or also as a progestin . This type of hormone therapy is used if you still have your uterus.
Hormone therapy can relieve many of the symptoms of menopause, including:
- Hot flashes and night sweats.
- Vaginal dryness.
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When Does Menopause Start And How Long Does Menopause Last
Menopause is a word that describes our entire transition. Its acceptable to use the word, but whats more important is to know what goes on during this time.
I see menopause like going on a long road trip, you need to have a map and an itinerary to know where youre heading. And thats what were going to do here, familiarize menopauses map!
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How Does Menopause Affect My Bladder Control
Unfortunately, bladder control issues are common for women going through menopause. There are several reasons why this happens, including:
- Estrogen. This hormone plays several roles in your body. It not only controls your period and promotes changes in your body during pregnancy, estrogen also keeps the lining of your bladder and urethra healthy.
- Pelvic floor muscles. Supporting the organs in your pelvis your bladder and uterus are called the pelvic floor muscles. Throughout your life, these muscles can weaken. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth and from weight gain. When the muscles weaken, you can experience urinary incontinence .
Specific bladder control problems that you might have can include:
- Stress incontinence .
- Urge incontinence .
- Painful urination .
- Nocturia .
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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.
Can Menopause Be Treated
Menopause is a natural process that your body goes through. In some cases, you may not need any treatment for menopause. When treatment for menopause is discussed, its about treating the symptoms of menopause that disrupt your life. There are many different types of treatments for the symptoms of menopause. The main types of treatment for menopause are:
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider while you are going through menopause to craft a treatment plan that works for you. Every person is different and has unique needs.
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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.
What Is The Difference Between Menopause And Perimenopause
Perimenopause is the time when the reproductive hormones first start to change. While periods continue during this time, they typically become irregular as the production of estrogen and progesterone slows down. Additional symptoms may occur, though some individuals report feeling normal during perimenopause. With that said, it is always a best practice to consult with a doctor if you notice any abnormal changes in your body.
In contrast, menopause is marked by the final period a woman has. If a person with a uterus has gone 12 months without a period they have gone through menopause. Their life after that 12 months is considered postmenopausal.
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Symptoms Of The Menopause
Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.
Common symptoms include:
- reduced sex drive
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
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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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:
When Do Menopause Symptoms Start
The symptoms usually associated with menopause are actually a byproduct of the perimenopausal stage, or the years leading up to menopause. This is when estrogen and progesterone levels begin to erratically fluctuate as ovarian reproductive functions come to a halt.
Perimenopause usually starts in a womans mid-40s, although some women can enter it as young as their early 30s or even as late as their 50s .
As such, a woman is considered to have reached menopause when she has been period-free for 12 consecutive months, and the average age for menopause in the United States is 51.
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Can Menopause Cause Facial Hair Growth
Yes, increased facial hair growth can be a change related to menopause. The hormonal change your body goes through during menopause can result in several physical changes to your body, including more facial hair than you may have had in the past. If facial hair becomes a problem for you, waxing or using other hair removers may be options. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options to make sure you dont pick a product that could harm your skin.
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The Answer To The Question Of How Long Do Menopause Symptoms Last Varies
Some women will experience an abrupt cessation of their monthly cycle, which does not recur. In these cases, there are often very few symptoms during perimenopause. Following that, however, the onset of symptoms once menopause does begin can be rapid and intense in these cases. Many other women will experience a gradual shift from irregular cycles to no cycles, which will last for several years.;
This is the most common pattern, and it tends to be associated with a gradual onset of symptoms. Often, the severity of symptoms tends to fluctuate prior to and after menopause for a period of around 10 years. These fluctuations can be quite significant, and its common for women to feel fine on some days and experience intense hot flashes accompanied by sweating, mood changes, and other symptoms that are associated with menopause for others.;
In general, late-onset menopause is associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis and a longer life expectancy than women who go through it at a typical age. However, this depends on the individual and the medical conditions that theyre dealing with.;
However, early-onset menopause can be associated with health problems. Fortunately, it can be possible to delay early menopause if perimenopause has begun, but this depends on the cause of the condition. If youre wondering how long does menopause last on average, if you go through it early, the answer is usually that it lasts the same amount of time that it would otherwise.;
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Are My Perimenopausal Symptoms Normal Or Something To Be Concerned About
Irregular periods are common and normal during perimenopause. But other conditions can cause changes in menstrual bleeding. If any of the following situations apply to you, see a doctor to rule out other causes:
- Your periods are very heavy, or they have blood clots.
- Your periods last several days longer than usual.
- You spot between periods.
- You have spotting after sex.
- Your periods happen closer together.
Calcium And Vitamin D
A combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the bone loss associated with menopause. The best sources are from calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods.
Doctors are currently reconsidering the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that healthy postmenopausal women don’t need to take these supplements. According to the USPSTF, taking daily low-dose amounts of vitamin D supplements , with or without calcium supplements , does not prevent fractures. For higher doses, the USPSTF says there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation. In addition to possible lack of benefit, these supplements are associated with certain risks, like kidney stones.
However, calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients. Supplements may be appropriate for certain people including those who do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and those who do not consume enough calcium in their diet. They are also helpful for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take supplements.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones.
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How Is Menopause Diagnosed
There are several ways your healthcare provider can diagnose menopause. The first is discussing your menstrual cycle over the last year. If you have gone a full year without a period, you may be postmenopausal. Another way your provider can check if you are going through menopause is a blood test that checks your follicle stimulating hormone level. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland this gland is located at the base of your brain. However, this test can be misleading during the beginning of menopause when your body is transitioning and your hormone levels are fluctuating up and down. Hormone testing always need to be interpreted in the context of what is happening with the menstrual period.
For many women, a blood test is not necessary. If you are having the symptoms of menopause and your periods have been irregular, talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to diagnose menopause after your conversation.