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.
Keeping An Active Sex Life
Menopause can reduce a persons sex drive and lead to vaginal dryness, but it also removes the need for birth control. For some, this can make sex more enjoyable.
Having sex often can increase vaginal blood flow and help keep the tissues healthy.
Some tips for maintaining sexual health and activity during menopause include:
- staying physically active
- avoiding tobacco products, recreational drugs, and alcohol
- taking the time to become aroused, which will improve lubrication
- doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
- not using any strong soaps around the vagina, as these can worsen irritation
Also, menopause symptoms lead some people to find satisfying forms of sex that do not involve the vagina as much or at all.
It is worth remembering that, while a woman cannot become pregnant once menopause starts, it is still important to use barrier protection during penetrative sex to protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Often, sexual partners will be getting older and may be experiencing menopause at the same time. They, too, may be feeling a drop in sex drive. Opening up about any concerns can help both partners feel better and explore new forms of intimacy.
Menopause is a stage in life, not an illness. Most women experience natural menopause during midlife. However, surgery and other factors can cause menopause to start earlier.
Changes To Your Periods
The first sign of the menopause is usually a change in the normal pattern of your periods.
You may start having either unusually light or heavy periods.
The frequency of your periods may also be affected. You may have them every 2 or 3 weeks, or you may not have them for months at a time.
Eventually, youâll stop having periods altogether.
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What Other Factors Influence When Perimenopause Starts Or When A Woman Reaches Menopause
New research published online on April 12 in Menopause, the journal of NAMS, looked at the various factors that may affect the age when natural menopause occurs.
They found that there are factors that do seem predictive of when a woman will approach menopause, such as higher estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone levels, which weve known for a while,” says Streicher. Irregular menstrual bleeding and hot flashes were also indicators of earlier menopause, she adds.
One new finding uncovered in the research was around alcohol consumption. The authors observed that participants tended to increase their alcohol consumption when approaching menopause, making it a potential clue that the change was coming.
That makes sense, says Streicher. This can be a time of added stress for women, and we know that any stressful situation can cause someone to drink more, she says.
Although this study didnt find a strong association with smoking, other research has indicated that smoking is related to early onset of menopause, says Streicher.
What Triggers A Hot Flash
There are quite a few normal things in your daily life that could set off a hot flash. Some things to look out for include:
- Tight clothing.
- Stress and anxiety.
Heat, including hot weather, can also trigger a hot flash. Be careful when working out in hot weather this could cause a hot flash.
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Healthy Diet And Menopause
Suggestions for maintaining good health through diet at the time of menopause include:
- Choose a wide variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, cereals, whole grains and small portions of lean meat, fish or chicken.
- Increase fluids and eat low-fat dairy foods with high calcium content.
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Life
After menopause, your body has less estrogen. This major change in your hormonal balance can affect your sex life. Many menopausal women may notice that theyre not as easily aroused as before. Sometimes, women also may be less sensitive to touch and other physical contact than before menopause.
These feelings, coupled with the other emotional changes you may be experiencing, can all lead to a decreased interest in sex. Keep in mind that your body is going through a lot of change during menopause. Some of the other factors that can play a role in a decreased sex drive can include:
- Having bladder control problems.
- Having trouble sleeping through the night.
- Experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.
- Coping with other medical conditions and medications.
All of these factors can disrupt your life and even cause tension in your relationship. In addition to these changes, the lower levels of estrogen in your body can actually cause a decrease in the blood supply to the vagina. This can cause dryness. When you dont have the right amount of lubrication in the vagina, it can be thin, pale and dry. This can lead to painful intercourse.
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Consult With A Naturopathic Doctor
Women who wonder, How long does menopause last? can explore natural remedies to find relief. Dr. Karen Threlkel is licensed in naturopathic medicine and offers a full range of treatments to patients in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Make an appointment with Dr. Threlkel today for a consultation to find out more about natural remedies and effective treatments for menopause.
About The Author:
Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
The Womans Clinic Is Here To Help
Although we cant stop menopause, there are ways to make it more comfortable and easy to manage. If youre approaching menopausal age and have begun feeling some physical or mental changes and are concerned about your health care, schedule an appointment with us to discuss your concerns and we can lend a hand in helping to determine coping strategies, treatment options, or other ways of managing the changes in your body.
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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.
Understand Your Bodys Changes At Menopause
It is important to understand the changes your body is going through before, during and after menopause. There are many different sources of information available. Make sure you seek out reputable websites and brochures that provide up-to-date, non-biased information from organisations that specialise in womens health.
Some examples include:
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Factors That Influence Menopause Duration And Symptoms
Like puberty and pregnancy, perimenopause begins and ends at different times for each woman. There are so many factors influencing the timing and experience of perimenopause that every woman will write her own story. Genetics, lifestyle, diet, stress, general health, and cultural perspective are all elements of when and how dramatically you will experience menopause-related symptoms.
That being said, the vast majority of women will experience their “menopause” in a two- to 10-year window of time, probably from their mid-forties to their mid-fifties.
But even if you begin much earlier or end later, you may still be having your own version of a healthy menopause. And whether you never feel a single hot flash, or continue to have them into your late 60s, it can be normal for you.
Menopause Symptoms At Age 45
Around the age of 45 many women enter pre-menopause and start to notice the first signs that menopause is coming. For some women, the symptoms are mild and short-lasting. For others, menopause symptoms can be disruptive and long-lasting.
Some of the earliest signs of menopause may include:
Changes to your period
Period changes are usually the first signs of menopause. For example, your period may start to happen every six to eight weeks. Or you may miss a couple months before it comes back again. You may also have a heavier flow or a lighter flow from time to time.
That said, its important to know you can still get pregnant during perimenopause. So, continue to use birth control in the lead up to menopause as you normally would. Also, if youve missed your period and youre not sure whether perimenopause has started, consider taking a pregnancy test as a first step.
As your hormone levels change, you may find yourself more irritable, anxious, sad or forgetful than usual. Your sex drive can also decrease or increase.
These changes are very typical as your body approaches menopause. So, be kind to yourself, practice self-care and ask for help if youre having trouble.
You may find it difficult to get to sleep, or you may wake up in the middle of the night. Sleep trouble can contribute to a constant feeling of tiredness, which can make you moodier.
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A Question Many Women Ask
Unfortunately, there isnt enough research to answer the question How long does menopause last? but we will do our best to clarify.
A new DNA test is being developed that can tell you when your menopause will happen, but there are still no tests showing how long menopause will last.
Psychological research shows that normalizing what is happening to your body and mind during perimenopause and menopause makes it easier to handle the problems you may face during that experience.
Knowing that you are not alone, that a billion women are going through the same thing at the same time as you, and that your experiences in menopause are normal makes a huge difference.
This knowledge will not make menopause shorter, but it can make it easier.
First, lets define the stages of menopause.
The Most Important Part Of Post
Along with the physical changes that occur after menopause, women may need to improve their health care routines.
Postmenopausal women are at greater risk for heart disease, so redirect your diet toward low-fat foods and lower your salt intake this reduces the risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up on the insides of the arteries.
As part of your routine check-ups, you should have a blood test at a minimum of every five years until age 50, and then at regular intervals. Your doctor will recommend what that interval should be based on how high your cholesterol is, if you are on cholesterol treatment, and on other cardiovascular risk factors that you may have, such as hypertension or obesity.
Women also should have their bone density checked once every two years to spot early signs of osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk for this condition: Research shows that up to 20 percent of bone loss can occur in the first five years of menopause.
Estrogen is one of the best stimulators of bone growth, Audlin says. The risk of osteoporosis is very low before menopause, but post-menopausally, fractured hips and problems related to bone density are very likely.
Women ages 50 and up should consume at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day to maintain bone health. This can be accomplished with supplements, by consuming calcium-rich foods like milk, or a combination of the two.
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How Long Do Symptoms Last
Perimenopausal symptoms can last four years on average. The symptoms associated with this phase will gradually ease during menopause and postmenopause. Women whove gone an entire year without a period are considered postmenopausal.
Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are a common symptom of perimenopause. One study found that moderate to severe hot flashes could continue past perimenopause and last for a
Researchers also found that Black women and women of average weight experience hot flashes for a longer period than white women and women who are considered overweight.
Its possible for a woman to experience menopause before the age of 55. Early menopause occurs in women who go through menopause before theyre 45 years old. Its considered premature menopause if youre menopausal and are 40 years old or younger.
Early or premature menopause can happen for many reasons. Some women can go through early or premature menopause because of surgical intervention, like a hysterectomy. It can also happen if the ovaries are damaged by chemotherapy or other conditions and treatments.
Hrt After Surgical Menopause: Pros And Cons
To give you a better sense of what to consider in your decision, heres a list of reasons you might lean toward getting HRT, along with a list of reasons against. Keep in mind that few if any of these pros or cons are definitive. Instead, you and your doctor have to consider them all and decide which apply.
Postmenopause Symptoms At Age 60 And Beyond
While some women may believe hormonal imbalance symptoms stop with menopause, it is not uncommon for women to experience them well into their postmenopausal years, even after the age of 60.
Continue reading to learn all about postmenopause symptoms over the age of 60, including which ones are more common and how to go about treating them for long-lasting relief.
Treating Postmenopause Symptoms Age 60+
Postmenopause treatments for symptom relief first revolve around the enactment of lifestyle adjustments alongside the use of alternative medicine for ideal effects.
Lifestyle adjustments. An improved diet rich in phytoestrogens and the three macronutrients – lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats – is key for postmenopausal nutrition. Also, aging women should aim for regular, weight-bearing exercise to encourage optimal muscle mass and weight as well as practicing wholesome habits for endocrine health.
Alternative medicine. Phytoestrogenic herbal supplements – such as black cohosh or red clover – as well as hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem, are two well-renowned options for promoting hormonal health well into a woman’s postmenopausal years.
Postmenopause women should work with their doctors to develop a treatment plan that works best for them. If non-invasive measures do not provide relief, HRT may be recommended.
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Reasons To Undergo Surgical Menopause
Surgical menopause is induced mainly for two reasons: either to treat an already diagnosed condition and prevent related complications or to reduce the odds of developing a serious condition in women at high inherited risk.
They include, but are not limited to, the following conditions:
- Extreme premenstrual dysphoric disorder
The Two Stages Or Phases Of The Perimenopause Transition
Scientists divide perimenopause into two stages. Early-stage perimenopause is when your menstrual cycle, which was regular before, starts to become erratic. You are in early-stage perimenopause when, in the course of several months, your period comes a week or more later than usual.
You enter late-stage perimenopause when there are at least 60 days between some periods. This can happen soon after the early stage begins or, more commonly, not for several years. The hormones in a womans system are in flux during this time, and the fluctuations may trigger symptoms such as hot flashes.
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Who Can I Talk To
Though theres still stigma and embarrassment around the menopause, its important to know that youre not alone and theres support out there.
Try to be open about your symptoms with your partner, family and friends it can help them to understand what youre going through and could reduce any embarrassment about symptoms.
Sharing experiences with other women going through the same thing could be reassuring. There are many websites, blogs and videos online where women have shared their stories of the menopause.
Sleep Problems And Mood Swings
Try these options to avoid sleep problems:
- Avoid large meals, smoking, coffee, or caffeine after noon.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Avoid exercise or alcohol close to bedtime.
- Drink warm milk or warm caffeine-free tea before bed.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet, and cool room.
- Treat hot flashes to improve sleep.
Easing stress, eating right, and staying physically active can help with mood swings and sleeping problems. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help with mood swings.
You should talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms and to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms, like depression or asthma. Its also helpful to join a support group for women in menopause so you have a safe place to share your concerns and issues.
Your doctor may also prescribe menopausal hormone therapy to help treat your symptoms. MHT can ease:
- hot flashes
Studies show that women who take MHT are at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. The risks are similar for women using contraceptive pills, patches, and rings. However, women taking MHT are older, and the risks increase with age.
Many women cant take MHT because of a previous illness such as cancer or because they take other medications.
Additional research found that the risk of getting breast cancer can increase with five or more years of continuous MHT use .
Women who have had their uterus removed will use estrogen-only therapy.
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