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How Long Does It Take For Menopause To Go Away

Can Menopause Cause Joint Pain

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While aches and pains and joint stiffness are all inevitable as we age, as women approach menopause, typically between the age of 45 and 55, many are often surprised to discover that joint pain is one of the most common symptoms, alongside hot flushes, night sweats, period changes and mood swings.

The average age for menopause is between 45 and 55, so it is little wonder why many women put their aches and pains down to aging.

Joints which are involved in high impact movements such as the hips and knees tend to be most affected. The elbows, neck, shoulders, hands and fingers can also be affected by joint pain.

There are a number of causes of joint pain during menopause including:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Poor posture
  • Increased sensitivity to pain.

Below, I take a closer look at each of these causes and recommend ways to help prevent and treat joint pain during menopause.

Psychological Or Social Conditions

Numerous psychological and social theories have been proffered to explain why women may become depressed during perimenopause. Some of these are related to the following factors:

  • Change in the childbearing role

  • Loss of fertility, which may be associated with a loss of an essential meaning of life

  • Empty nest syndrome

  • The societal value of youth .

Does Anxiety Get Worse With Menopause

We do find that any kind of ongoing symptom or chronic condition that you have before the menopause tend to get magnified during the menopause as well. So, if you’ve been an anxious person, if you’ve been a bit of a worrier, or you’re just not sure about things before the menopause, then it’s certainly possible that these feelings will seem worse as you go through the menopause.

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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.

How Long Does The Transition To Menopause Last

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Perimenopause, the transition to menopause, can last between two and eight years before your periods stop permanently. For most women, this transition to menopause lasts about four years. You will know you have reached menopause only after it has been a full year since your last period. This means you have not had any bleeding, including spotting, for 12 months in a row.

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When To Seek Help

Its common and normal to experience irregular periods when youre perimenopausal.

However, other conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome or cervical cancer, can also cause irregular bleeding. See your doctor to rule out other causes if you:

  • 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.

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.

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How Does Menopause Affect Iron Levels In My Blood

If you are still having periods as you go through menopause, you may continue to be at risk of a low iron level. This is especially true if your bleeding is heavy or you spot between periods. This can lead to anemia. Talk with your doctor about the amount of iron thats right for you. Good sources of iron include spinach, beans, and meat. Your doctor may also suggest that you take an iron supplement.

What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause

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There are over 30 menopause symptoms, though some occur more frequently than others. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods, which are one of the first indications that menopause has come
  • Hot flashes, which happen when an estrogen deficiency deregulates hypothalamus functioning
  • Night sweats, nocturnal hot flashes that can leave a woman in a sweat
  • Weight gain that is caused by a slower metabolism and a redistribution of fat storage in the body
  • Mood swings due to drastic estrogen fluctuations that negatively impact healthy serotonin levels
  • Depression from major life stressors and hormonal imbalance
  • Vaginal dryness, which is a loss of lubrication in the vagina that can make sex painful

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Homeopathic Remedies For Menopause Brain Fog

I mention homeopathic remedies last because their use is controversial.

Critics say that there is no way they can work and, if they do work, its due to the placebo effect.

My take is that there is nothing wrong with that your mind is the most powerful healing tool youve got.

You might be shocked to learn that 50% of doctors admit to regularly prescribing placebos that, nonetheless, reliably bring about numerous measurable physical and psychological effects.

Being administered a placebo can alter your perception of pain, blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety level, energy, and brain activity.

It can trigger the release of feel-good endorphins.

Placebos work even when the user understands that she is taking a placebo and doesnt believe in them!

Here are some homeopathic remedies for the most common mood and memory symptoms of menopause:

  • Calcarea carbonica for feeling overworked, stressed out, or anxious
  • Graphites for concentration problems, indecision, weight gain, and waking up overly groggy
  • Ignatia for anxiety and mood swings
  • Lachesis for hot flashes

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 .

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When Do Most Women Go Through Menopause

Expert answer. About 90 percent of women undergo menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. Of the remaining 10 percent, about half have menopause early, between 40 and 45 years of age, while the other half experience late menopause, after the age of 55. The age at menopause depends on your genetics, race and ethnicity,

Menopause Symptoms At Age 45

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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.

Mood changes

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.

Sleeping problems

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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Increased Sensitivity To Pain

Sleeping poorly is notorious during menopause and research has proved that sleep deprivation increases our sensitivity to pain: a study from the University of California found that sleep deprivation can change the circuitry in the brain in ways that amplify pain.3

Low magnesium can also impact your pain perception,4 as well as causing sleeping problems. Poor levels of this essential nutrient are very common during menopause due to stress and digestive weakness.

Magnesium is also needed to keep your muscles relaxed, so low levels can cause them to tense up and become tight and stiff, which can impact the muscles that the control movement of the joints.

Is Menopause Joint Pain The Same As Arthritis

There are two main arthritic conditions: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and the onset of both of these conditions can coincide with menopause.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition also known as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis. It typically starts with one or two joints, and the large weight-bearing ones such as the hips and knees are usually the first to become painful as the proactive cartilage wears away and is not replaced as fast as it is worn away.

Wear and tear is a natural part of ageing so most people will experience this to some degree. However, cartilage degeneration can be exacerbated or caused by other factors such as our genes, multiple pregnancies, poor diet, obesity, injury and overuse. For example, this tends to be the case for athletes such as runners who are over-using weight-bearing joints, or for those whose jobs involve repetitive bending, heavy lifting and standing for long periods of time.

Osteoarthritis can be confused with menopause joint pain, due to it commonly occurring as people reach midlife, the same time that women are often starting to go through menopause. While joints can become less lubricated and flexible during menopause, often, as your hormones begin to balance out after menopause, your joint pain can begin to lessen. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint, which can worsen overtime.

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How Long Do Menopause

Even though menopause marks a point in time in which a woman has not menstruated for 12 months and is no longer ovulating , the symptoms of menopause may persist.

Two common menopause-related symptoms are hot flashes and vaginal dryness. These two symptoms occur as a result of the loss of estrogen in the body, normally produced by a woman’s ovaries.

Most women stop having hot flashes within five years following their final menstrual period. However, a report on the management of menstrual symptoms notes that the Penn Ovarian Aging Study found that more than one-third of women continued to have moderate to severe hot flashes for 10 years or more. Women who began having hot flashes as they entered perimenopause had them longer, for an average of 11.6 years. African-American women had a longer duration than white women.

Vaginal dryness, burning, and itchiness also occurs as a result of estrogen deficiency. The difference with this symptom is that it tends to get worse as women get older. In fact, only between one quarter and one third of women in perimenopause or early postmenopause experience vaginal dryness. But as women reach late postmenopause, about half report vaginal dryness.

There are other symptoms that may begin during perimenopause and persist throughout postmenopause. These include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Cognitive changes such as memory loss
  • Muscle and joint pains

What Can You Do

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Stay cool. At night, a “chill pillow” filled with water or other cooling material might help. Use fans during the day. Wear lightweight, looser-fitting clothes made with natural fibers such as cotton.

Try deep, slow abdominal breathing . Practice deep breathing for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening, and when a hot flash starts.

Exercise daily. Walking, swimming, bicycling, and dancing are all good choices.

Plant estrogens, found in soy products, may have weak estrogen-like effects that could cut hot flashes. Doctors recommend you get your soy from foods like tofu and edamame rather than supplements. Some studies suggest black cohosh may be helpful for 6 months or less. Botanicals and herbs may have side effects or change how other medications work, so ask your doctor first.

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What Does Menopause Joint Pain Feel Like

Any of your joints can be affected, from little joints such as fingers and toes, right up to the major joints such as hips and knees.

Feeling achy, stiff and creaky and sometimes experiencing a burning feeling around the joints are typical symptoms of menopausal joint pain. These may be worse in the morning, improving as the day continues. While pain can be localised to individual joints or a few joints, many women also describe a feeling of aching all over.

This is a bit of an unusual and surprising one but women have also reported instances where old injuries from childhood or more recently have been known to ache again. For example, a previously broken wrist feeling tender again or whiplash from a mild car crash 5 years ago returning.

So if a specific area is feeling tender, it is worthwhile thinking back to previous injuries or any instances of mild trauma which might have occurred to that area.

How Do I Stay Healthy After Menopause

It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially as you age and your risk for certain medical conditions increases. Some ways for people in postmenopause to stay healthy include:

  • Exercising regularly. Walking, doing yoga or strength training can help lower your risk for many medical conditions.
  • Weight-bearing exercises can strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Eating a healthy diet. Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains should make up the bulk of your diet. Avoid lots of salt or sugar and limit your consumption of alcohol.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Going through menopause can be uncomfortable and present new challenges and health concerns. Speak with your healthcare provider about any symptoms you feel or questions you have. They can help make sure you are supported through this time and get the care you need.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/05/2021.

References

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The Stages Of Menopause

Menopause occurs in three stages, and often, women do not know they have reached menopause until theyve experienced an entire year of missed periods. The three stages of menopause include:

If youre struggling with insomnia, hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms and are in need of relief, contact Bay Area Physicians for Women for skilled menopause treatment in Mobile, Alabama. Our board-certified physicians can help you overcome these issues and help you get back to enjoying life. Call 251-344-5900 to schedule an appointment.

How To Minimize Menopause Brain Fog Naturally

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Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC | Written by Deane Alban

Brain fog and memory problems are common symptoms of menopause. But these issues, and others, can be minimized naturally, without hormones. Learn how.

Brain fog is a common symptom of menopause.

Fortunately, these problems dont last forever and are not risk factors for more serious forms of mental decline later in life.

However, theres no need to struggle with foggy thinking while menopause is running its course.

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