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.
A Word On Perimenopause
Medically, menopauseis defined as a time when a woman has not had her menstrual period for at least12 consecutive months . The period before menopause, when you beginnoticing signs of hormonal changes, is defined as perimenopause. During thisphase, the ovaries gradually produce lesser estrogen, and your periods may movebecome farther apart from each other. On the other hand, some women may noticeirregular periods that come closer together and do not follow their previouspattern of being 25-40 days apart. To put it simply, when you experienceperimenopause, your periods become difficult to predict. You may alsoexperience heavier or lighter flow, or notice more blood clots duringperimenopause.
Menopause will kick in when your ovaries produce so little estrogen than it no longer leads to the release of a healthy egg from your ovaries, to trigger menstruation after 14-16 days. Remember, if your last period was less than a year ago, you are not fully menopausal yet, ;and could still become pregnant. We discuss the various symptoms of perimenopause in a different article, so give that a read too.
When Does Menopause Occur
Although the average age of menopause is 51, menopause can actually happen any time from the 30s to the mid-50s or later. Women who smoke and are underweight tend to have an earlier menopause, while women who are overweight often have a later menopause. Generally, a woman tends to have menopause at about the same age as her mother did.
Menopause can also happen for reasons other than natural reasons. These include:
Premature menopause. Premature menopause may happen when there is ovarian failure before the age of 40. It may be associated with smoking, radiation exposure, chemotherapeutic drugs, or surgery that impairs the ovarian blood supply. Premature ovarian failure is also called primary ovarian insufficiency.
Surgical menopause. Surgical menopause may follow the removal of one or both ovaries, or radiation of the pelvis, including the ovaries, in premenopausal women. This results in an abrupt menopause. These women often have more severe menopausal symptoms than if they were to have menopause naturally.
Don’t Miss: Sweet Potato Menopause
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.
Natural Remedies For Menopausal Symptoms
Some people like to use natural remedies to treat their symptoms.
While HRT is the most successful and effective treatment option for reducing symptoms like hot flushes, there are some natural remedies that are thought to provide some relief.
Here are some natural remedies for menopause:
- Black cohosh
- Evening primrose oil
- St Johns Wort
As with all natural remedies and herbal therapies, the above are not regulated or medically proven to help with menopause, so there may be risks involved. Should you choose to use herbal remedies, use them with caution.
There are also some lifestyle changes you can make that may alleviate some of your symptoms. Eliminating caffeine from your diet and eating a healthy, high-fibre, plant-rich diet can be beneficial. Regular exercise such as yoga or swimming can also help ease symptoms.
There is no way to get over the menopause, but you can find ways to alleviate your symptoms and make yourself more comfortable.
Recommended Reading: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Can I Get Pregnant During Menopause
The possibility of pregnancy disappears once you are postmenopausal, you have been without your period for an entire year . However, you can actually get pregnant during the menopause transition . If you dont want to become pregnant, you should continue to use some form of birth control until you have gone fully through menopause. Ask your healthcare provider before you stop using contraception.
For some women, getting pregnant can be difficult once theyre in their late 30s and 40s because of a decline in fertility. However, if becoming pregnant is the goal, there are fertility-enhancing treatments and techniques that can help you get pregnant. Make sure to speak to your healthcare provider about these options.
Perimenopause: Rocky Road To Menopause
What are the signs of perimenopause? You’re in your 40s, you wake up in a sweat at night, and your periods are erratic and often accompanied by heavy bleeding: Chances are, you’re going through perimenopause. Many women experience an array of symptoms as their hormones shift during the months or years leading up to menopause that is, the natural end of menstruation. Menopause is a point in time, but perimenopause is an extended transitional state. It’s also sometimes referred to as the menopausal transition, although technically, the transition ends 12 months earlier than perimenopause .
Don’t Miss: Is Lightheadedness A Symptom Of Menopause
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 .
What Factors Influence How Long Menopause Lasts
Although there is a usual range for how long menopause symptoms;last, each woman’s journey is unique. The transition often takes about four years, but some symptoms may last longer. There are no hard and fast rules as menopause begins and ends on its own schedule.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
What Are Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be a pretty unpleasant symptom of perimenopause and menopause. We dont totally understand the cause of hot flashes.
Most people describe a hot flash as a sudden hot feeling that spreads all over your body but mostly the upper body, like your arms, chest, and face. ;You may also get sweaty, and your fingers may tingle and your heart may beat faster. A typical hot flash usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes.
Hot flashes at night are called night sweats. Sometimes they can get so severe that you soak your sheets with sweat.
Hot flashes are super common. More than 3 out of 4 people have them while going through perimenopause and menopause.
Nothing will make hot flashes stop completely, but there are some things you can do to help get some relief. Wearing light, loose clothes, keeping your room cool, drinking cold liquids, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine can help you stay cool.;
Prescription hot flash treatments can be helpful, too. Hormone therapy works best to treat hot flashes, but other medicines like SSRIs and SNRIs and clonidine may also help. Research shows that herbs, vitamins, acupuncture, and reflexology dont help with hot flashes.
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.
You May Like: Menopause And Dizzy Spells
Changes You May Notice
Your periods become irregular.
This is the classic sign that you are on your way to menopause. Your periods may come more often or less often, be heavier or lighter, or last longer or shorter than before.
When you’re in perimenopause, it can be hard to predict when, or if, your next period may come. It’s also harder to gauge how long your period will last or if your flow will be heavy or light. It’s harder to get pregnant during this phase, but it’s still possible as long as you have periods.
You have hot flashes and night sweats.
Like so many symptoms of menopause, hot flashes and night sweats can vary a lot from woman to woman. They can last 1 minute or 5 minutes. They can be mild or severe. You can have several an hour, one a week, or never have them.
For some women, these symptoms go on for years or decades after they’ve stopped their periods — into the time called postmenopause.
Home Remedies: Vitamin E Black Cohosh And Herbs
Some women report that vitamin Esupplements can provide relief from mild hot flashes, but scientific studies are lacking to prove the effectiveness of vitamin E in relieving symptoms of menopause. Taking a dosage greater than 400 international units of vitamin E may not be safe, since some studies have suggested that greater dosages may be associated with cardiovascular disease risk.
Other alternative therapies for menopause symptoms
There are many supplements and substances that have been advertised as “natural” treatments for symptoms of menopause, including licorice, dong Quai, chaste berry, and wild yam. Scientific studies have not proven the safety or effectiveness of these products.
Don’t Miss: Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation
How Should I Prepare For Menopause
Menopause is one of womens many important natural life-stages. For some, it is a challenging period of difficult physical and emotional changes. For others, it is a time of personal growth and renewal. And for many women, it is both at the same time. They don’t call it “Menopausal Zest” for nothing!
Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy your menopausal years to their fullest:
- Learn about menopause through recent books, articles and other reading materials.
- Talk to friends and relatives who have already gone through menopause.
- Join a menopause or midlife support-group in your area.
- Have a nutritious diet and enjoy regular exercise.
- Manage your stress by balancing your work and social life.
- Talk with your health care practitioner about your personal health concerns.
- Know that you have choices and can take charge of your health.
What Are The Stages
The process happens slowly over three stages:
Perimenopause. Your cycles will become irregular, but they havenÃ¢t stopped. Most women hit this stage around age 47. Even though you might notice symptoms like hot flashes, you can still get pregnant.
Menopause. This is when youÃ¢ll have your final menstrual period. You wonÃ¢t know for sure itÃ¢s happened until youÃ¢ve gone a year without one. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are common in this stage.
Postmenopause. This begins when you hit the year mark from your final period. Once that happens, youÃ¢ll be referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that after more than 1 year of no menstrual periods due to menopause, vaginal bleeding isnât normal, so tell your doctor if you have any ASAP.
Read Also: What Antidepressant Is Best For Menopause
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.
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
Hrt Treatments For Menopausal Symptoms
Hormone replacement therapy is very effective at treating menopausal symptoms.
There are a few different types of HRTs that can help treat your symptoms. The right one for you will depend on a few things, such as whether or not youve had a period in the last year and still experience some type of menstrual cycle, or whether youve had a hysterectomy.
The HRT treatments available at The Independent Pharmacy are:
If youre not sure which is the right treatment for you, you can speak to one of our qualified pharmacists for guidance.
You can also visit our menopause HRT treatments page for further information or if youd like to learn more about each type of HRT.
Read Also: What Causes Vaginal Odor After Menopause
Will I Still Enjoy Sex After Menopause
You should still be able to enjoy sex after menopause. Sometimes, decreased sex drive is related to discomfort and painful intercourse. After treating the source of this pain , many women are able to enjoy intimacy again. Hormone therapy can also help many women. If you are having difficulties enjoying sex after menopause, talk to your healthcare provider.
Tips On Coping With Menopausal Symptoms
There are methods of treating the difficulties that often accompany menopausal symptoms through naturopathic medicine and holistic means. Simple lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in mood, energy, hot flashes, and other symptoms. Here are a few tips on how women can deal with their menopausal symptoms through alternative means and holistic medicine:
Peri Meno & Post: When Does The Change Happen
Your hormones can begin decreasing in your 30s and may continue well into your 40s and 50s. This is called perimenopause or the transition to menopause for most women.
The average age of menopause for US women is 51. Most women reach this milestone somewhere between ages 45 and 55.
Once your period has stopped for 12 months, you are considered in menopause and enter the postmenopause stage of life.
What Happens After Menopause
Will the hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms of menopause come to a halt when your periods are finally finished? Find out what to expect in the years after menopause.
Though you may have some idea of whats in store for you as you head toward menopause, the stage of life when the ovaries stop producing eggs and menstrual cycles dwindle, you may not quite know what to expect when your periods are officially over.
A woman is medically defined as being in menopause when she has not had a menstrual cycle for at least 12 months, says Kevin Audlin, MD, a gynecologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
At that point, the transition into your non-child-bearing years is complete.
Don’t Miss: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause