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How Many Stages Of Menopause Are There

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

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  • What is the cause of my hair loss?
  • How many strands of hair am I losing per day?
  • What type of hair loss do I have?
  • Will my hair loss be permanent?
  • Whats the best treatment for me?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Hair loss may cause you distress whether it happens because of genetics, a disease, or even stress. Know that there are some treatments you can try, and expert dermatologists are there to help you. Your hair loss may be able to be reversed. See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice something wrong because the sooner you start treatment, the better.

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.

How Long Does Perimenopause Last

The length of each stage of the menopause transition can vary for each individual. The average length of perimenopause is about four years. Some women may only be in this stage for a few months, while others will be in this transition phase for more than four years. If you have gone more than 12 months without having a period, you are no longer perimenopausal. However, if there are medications or medical conditions that may affect periods, it can be more difficult to know the specific stage of the menopause transition.

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Alternative And Complementary Menopause Treatments

Some studies have found that soy products relieve hot flashes, but researchers are still looking into it. There arenât many large studies on whether other supplements such as black cohosh or âbioidenticalâ hormones work for menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor before starting any herbal or dietary supplements.

Yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture are safer ways to manage menopause symptoms.

Antidepressants And Other Medications

PPT

Antidepressant medications: The class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and related medications has been shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes in up to 60% of women. Specifically, venlafaxine , a drug-related to the SSRIs, and the paroxetine , desvenlafaxine , citalopram , and escitalopram have all been shown to decrease the severity of hot flashes in some women. However, antidepressant medications may be associated with side effects, including or sexual dysfunction.

Other medications: Other prescription medications have been shown to provide some relief for hot flashes, although their specific purpose is not the treatment of hot flashes. All of these may have side effects, and their use should be discussed with and monitored by a doctor. Some of these medications that have been shown to help relieve hot flashes include the antiseizure drug gabapentin and clonidine , a drug used to treat high blood pressure.

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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the quantity and quality of bone that causes an increased risk of fracture. The density of the bone normally begins to decrease in women during the fourth decade of life. However, that normal decline in bone density is accelerated during the menopausal transition. Consequently, both age and the hormonal changes due to the menopause transition act together to cause osteoporosis. Medications to treat osteoporosis are currently available and pose less risk than hormone therapy. Therefore, hormone therapy is not recommended for prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.

Cardiovascular disease

Prior to menopause, women have a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke when compared with men. Around the time of menopause, however, a women’s risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S.

Coronary heart disease rates in postmenopausal women are two to three times higher than in women of the same age who have not reached menopause. This increased risk for cardiovascular disease may be related to declining estrogen levels, but in light of other factors, medical professionals do not advise postmenopausal women to take hormone therapy simply as a preventive measure to decrease their risk of heart attack or stroke.

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.

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What Are Menopause Symptoms And Signs

    It is important to remember that each woman’s experience is highly individual. Some women may experience few or no symptoms of menopause, while others experience multiple physical and psychological symptoms. The extent and severity of symptoms varies significantly among women. It is also important to remember that symptoms may come and go over an extended period for some women. This, too, is highly individual. These symptoms of menopause and perimenopause are discussed in detail below.

    Do All Menopausal Women Experience A Decrease In Sexual Desire

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    Not all women experience a decreased sexual desire. In some cases, its just the opposite. This could be because theres no longer any fear of getting pregnant. For many women, this allows them to enjoy sex without worrying about family planning.

    However, it is still important to use protection during sex if not in a monogamous relationship. Once your doctor makes the diagnosis of menopause, you can no longer become pregnant. However, when you are in the menopause transition , you can still become pregnant. You also need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections . You can get an STI at any time in your life.

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    Home Remedies: Vitamin E Black Cohosh And Herbs

    Vitamin E

    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.

    Black Cohosh

    Black cohosh is an herbal preparation promoted for the relief of hot flashes. Clinical trials show that black cohosh is actually no more effective than placebo in controlling hot flashes.

    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.

    What Are Hot Flashes And How Long Will I Have Them

    Hot flashes are one of the most frequent symptoms of menopause. It is a brief sensation of heat. Hot flashes arent the same for everyone and theres no definitive reason that they happen. Aside from the heat, hot flashes can also come with:

    • A red, flushed face.
    • Sweating.
    • A chilled feeling after the heat.

    Hot flashes not only feel different for each person they also can last for various amounts of time. Some women only have hot flashes for a short period of time during menopause. Others can have some kind of hot flash for the rest of their life. Typically, hot flashes are less severe as time goes on.

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    Will I Start Menopause If I Have A Hysterectomy

    During a hysterectomy, your uterus is removed. You wont have a period after this procedure. However, if you kept your ovaries removal of your ovaries is called an oophorectomy you may not have symptoms of menopause right away. If your ovaries are also removed, you will have symptoms of menopause immediately.

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    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.

    Antidepressants

    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 .

    Gabapentin

    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:

    • Drowsiness

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    What Can Be Done To Manage The Symptoms Of Menopause

    A woman may experience the symptoms of menopause due to the lack of estrogen and progesterone in the body. Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment in which the woman is provided with sex hormones that are not produced by the ovaries after menopause. However, due to the various side effects associated with this therapy, people prefer adopting other effective measures, which may help reduce the menopausal symptoms:

    • Consume a diet filled with whole grains, fruits, green vegetables, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils and healthy seeds to reduce the frequency of hot flashes.
    • Add calcium-rich foods such as low-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt in your diet to maintain bone health.
    • Reduce or avoid the consumption of hot beverages, caffeine, spicy food, alcohol and certain medications as they can trigger hot flashes.
    • Reduce the consumption of salt, to control blood pressure and to avoid bloating.
    • Cut down the consumption of caffeine and alcohol as they retain water in the body and increase the frequency of urination.
    • Quit smoking, for women who smoke
    • Get adequate calcium and vitamin D in food or supplements
    • Practice yoga, meditation and Tai chi to decrease anxiety and improve mental wellness.
    • Use estrogen-based vaginal lubricants to reduce vaginal dryness.
    • Use water-based lubricants during sexual intercourse to reduce pain.
    • Practice kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, thus improving the ability to hold urine.

    Can I Still Get Pregnant After Being Diagnosed With Premature Menopause Early Menopause Or Primary/premature Ovarian Insufficiency

    Unless the ovaries have been surgically removed, it can be difficult to diagnose a woman younger than age 45 with menopause as opposed to primary ovarian insufficiency . Women with POI can have intermittent ovulation, which may or may not be accompanied by a menstrual bleed. Other women may be able to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization with egg donation. It is important to work with a fertility specialist to explore options.

    Options available to you will vary depending on whether you have interest in having children in the future. In some cases, fertility may be restored and pregnancy could be possible. Assisted reproductive technology , including in vitro fertilization might be considered.

    If you do not want to get pregnant while on hormone-replacement therapy, your doctor will talk to you about contraceptive options.

    Talk to your healthcare provider about possible causes of premature or early menopause and your questions regarding fertility.

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    When Are You Most Likely To Experience Perimenopausal Symptoms

    Women in perimenopause experience a variety of symptoms. The most common are hot flashes, trouble sleeping , vaginal dryness, and mood changes, sometimes including depression. But women complain of a wide variety of symptoms that strike them during this time, including having an odd taste in the mouth or the feeling of zaps under their skin.

    One of the largest studies of women going through the menopause transition, the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation , found that the most common time for symptoms to occur is the late perimenopause stage. Of course, some women get them earlier.

    Prescription And Nonprescription Remedies

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    A number of non-hormonal remedies are available for the treatment of hot flashes. Some of these remedies are available over-the-counter but are not FDA-approved. Some prescription medications are used off label to help reduce hot flashes. Using a product “off label” means that it is not FDA-approved for the treatment of hot flashes, but is often used because it can be safe and effective for hot flash treatment.

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    Treatments For Menopausal Symptoms

    Your GP can offer treatments and suggest lifestyle changes if you have severe menopausal symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day life.

    These include:

    Your GP may refer you to a menopause specialist if your symptoms do not improve after trying treatment or if you’re unable to take HRT.

    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.

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    What Is The Relationship Between Hair Loss In Women And Menopause

    During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. You might start growing hair where you didnt before. Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased.

    During and after menopause, hair might become finer because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases.

    Your healthcare provider will do a thorough examination and take a detailed history to help you deal with changes in hair growth. You may be directed to have your iron levels or thyroid hormone levels tested. Your medications might be changed if what you take is found to affect hair loss or growth.

    What Happens After Menopause

    Difference Between Perimenopause and Menopause

    After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.

    You may experience any of the following after menopause:

    • Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop , including osteoporosis, .
    • Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from or menopause . However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.,
    • Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about for vaginal dryness.

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    How Long Does The Transition To Menopause Last

    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.

    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.

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