Is Having A Hard Time Concentrating And Being Forgetful A Normal Part Of Menopause
Unfortunately, concentration and minor memory problems can be a normal part of menopause. Though this doesnt happen to everyone, it can happen. If youre having memory problems during menopause, call your healthcare provider. Several activities have been shown to stimulate the brain and help rejuvenate your memory. These activities can include:
- Doing crossword puzzles and other mentally stimulating activities like reading and doing math problems.
- Cutting back on passive activities like watching TV.
- Getting plenty of exercise.
Keep in mind that depression and anxiety can also impact your memory. These conditions can be linked to menopause.
Antidepressants And Other Medications
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.
Emotional Impact Of Early Or Premature Menopause
Premature menopause can be emotionally devastating. Some of the common issues women may face include:
- grief at the prospect of not having children
- fear of ‘growing old before their time’
- concern that their partner wont find them sexually attractive anymore
- self-esteem problems.
Psychological counselling and support groups may help women come to terms with their experience of early or premature menopause.
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What Is Premature Menopause
Menopause, when it occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, is considered “natural” and is a normal part of aging. But, some people can experience menopause early, either as a result of surgical intervention or damage to the ovaries . Menopause that occurs before the age of 45 is called early menopause. Menopause that occurs at 40 or younger is considered premature menopause. When there this no medical or surgical cause for premature menopause it’s called primary ovarian insufficiency.
Emotional And Cognitive Symptoms
Women in perimenopause often report a variety of thinking and/or emotional symptoms, including fatigue, memory problems, irritability, and rapid changes in mood. It is difficult to determine exactly which behavioral symptoms are due directly to the hormonal changes of menopause. Research in this area has been difficult for many reasons.
Emotional and cognitive symptoms are so common that it is sometimes difficult in a given woman to know if they are due to menopause. The night sweats that may occur during perimenopause can also contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue, which can have an effect on mood and cognitive performance. Finally, many women may be experiencing other life changes during the time of perimenopause or after menopause, such as stressful life events, that may also cause emotional symptoms.
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Can Menopause Affect Sleep
Some people may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.
If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:
- Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
- Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.
Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.
When Do Symptoms Begin
Menopause is defined as a point in time when a woman has gone twelve consecutive months without a menstrual period. The average age of menopause is 51 years old.1
The phase of life leading up to menopause is known as perimenopause, although it is commonly referred to as menopause. Several studies have identified factors that may predict or influence women’s age at menopause, including their lifestyle habits or reproductive histories.
During perimenopause, it is common for women to experience a myriad of symptoms, most common being irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido, and more. They are colloquially referred to as menopause symptoms.
Perimenopause lasts an average of four years, but it can also last just a few months or as long as 10 years.2,3 Doing the math, this means that perimenopause symptoms can begin in a woman’s early 40s and last well into her 50s and beyond
Then, after the last period, when menopause has been officially declared, a woman is considered to be in postmenopause. This menopause stage lasts for the rest of her life.
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When Does Perimenopause Start
The average age of menopause is 51, and perimenopause symptoms typically begin about four years before your final period. Most women start to notice perimenopause symptoms in their 40s. But perimenopause can happen a little earlier or later, too. The best predictor of when your final period will be is the age at which your mother entered menopause .
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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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 people experiencing menopause may notice that theyre not as easily aroused as before. Sometimes, people 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 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.
Diet And Age At Menopause
Its not clear why this was the case, but researchers speculated that the antioxidants in legumes and the omega-3 fatty acids in certain fish might have a protective effect on a womans eggs, essentially helping to preserve them for longer and delaying the start of menopause.
On the other hand, refined carbohydrate sources in the diet could hasten menopause, suggested the study authors, because these foods boost the risk of insulin resistance, which could interfere with hormone production.
The message from this study is pretty much consistent with the recommendations for chronic disease prevention and cardiovascular disease prevention, says Dr. Sylvia Ley, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. That is, eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet provides health benefits in addition to potentially holding off menopause for a few years.
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Facts You Should Know About Menopause
- Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It is the time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases.
- The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman.
- The average age of menopause is 51 years old, but menopause may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s. There is no reliable lab test to predict when a woman will experience menopause.
- The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is not related to the age of menopause onset.
- Symptoms of menopause can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, hot flashes, vaginal and urinary symptoms, and mood changes.
- Complications that women may develop after menopause include osteoporosis and heart disease.
- Treatments for menopause are customized for each woman.
- Treatments are directed toward alleviating uncomfortable or distressing symptoms.
What Can I Do To Help Myself
To help you manage hot flushes, simple things like wearing light clothing, using a fan and keeping your bedroom cool could help.
If youre struggling with your mood, consider trying self-help measures like relaxation, getting enough sleep and staying active. Regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet can also help to improve menopausal symptoms.
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What Are The Stages
The process happens slowly over three stages:
Perimenopause. Your cycles will become irregular, but they havenât 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 youâll have your final menstrual period. You wonât know for sure itâs happened until youâve 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, youâll 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 isn’t normal, so tell your doctor if you have any ASAP.
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.
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Are There Any Other Emotional Changes That Can Happen During Menopause
Menopause can cause a variety of emotional changes, including:
- A loss of energy and insomnia.
- A lack of motivation and difficulty concentrating.
- Anxiety, depression, mood changes and tension.
- Aggressiveness and irritability.
All of these emotional changes can happen outside of menopause. You have probably experienced some of them throughout your life. Managing emotional changes during menopause can be difficult, but it is possible. Your healthcare provider may be able to prescribe a medication to help you . It may also help to just know that there is a name to the feelings you are experiencing. Support groups and counseling are useful tools when dealing with these emotional changes during menopause.
What Are The Complications And Effects Of Menopause On Chronic Medical Conditions
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.
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.
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What About Menopause Symptoms In Their 60s
At this age, any symptoms of hormonal imbalance are most likely postmenopause symptoms, although it is still possible for women to enter menopause in their 60s.
Postmenopause symptoms may include those experienced during perimenopause, like hot flashes and night sweats, but this stage also presents its own list of health complications due to consistently low hormone levels, including osteoporosis, incontinence, dyspareunia, and more.
What Hormonal Changes Happen During Menopause
The traditional changes we think of as “menopause” happen when your ovaries no longer produce high levels of hormones. The ovaries are the reproductive glands that store eggs and release them into the fallopian tubes. They also produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as testosterone. Together, estrogen and progesterone control menstruation. Estrogen also influences how your body uses calcium and maintains cholesterol levels in the blood.
As menopause nears, your ovaries no longer release eggs into the fallopian tubes, and youll have your last menstrual cycle.
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Women’s Health Topics We Need To Talk About In 2020
Mood problems like depression can spike during perimenopause, especially among women who have previously experienced them. Many of our listeners wrote in to say that during perimenopause, they felt incredibly irritable and quick to anger in a way that they had never experienced before.
And of course, many â but not all â women experience hot flashes, though they may not recognize them. “It’s hard, because no one sits us down and teaches us, ‘Here’s what a hot flash feels like,’ ” Stuenkel says. “I’ve seen women who think they’re having panic attacks, or heart palpitations. That can be frightening.”
Other common symptoms include more frequent urinary tract infections, difficulty sleeping through the night, vaginal dryness that can make sex painful, night sweats and a decrease in libido.
What treatments are there for symptoms?
Some symptoms, like heavy or irregular periods, can be managed with an oral contraceptive, which can “shut down the body’s own erratic hormonal fluctuations,” says Stuenkel.
“This can kind of be a lifesaver,” she says. Such medication may help with hot flashes, too.
Do All Menopausal People Experience A Decrease In Sexual Desire
Not all people 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, this allows them to enjoy sex without worrying about family planning.
However, it’s 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 by wearing a condom. You can get an STI at any time in your life . STIs like HPV can lead to cervical cancer.
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Common Signs Of Menopause
Menopause is a natural biological process, and although it ends fertility, women can stay healthy, vital, and sexual. Even so, the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy orfor some womentrigger anxiety or feelings of sadness and loss.
What Can Be Done
A healthy lifestyle can minimize the effects of the menopause, helping to keep the heart and bones strong. Many women feel that this is a good time to review the way they treat their body. Here are some tips to consider:
Complementary & alternative therapies
These have become a popular choice and many women use them, although limited scientific research has been done to support their effect or indeed their safety. They may sometimes help with troublesome symptoms, but they are unlikely to have a significant impact on bone strength, the heart or blood vessels.
Choosing a complementary or alternative therapy can be a challenge so many different ones exist. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal treatments, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, yoga and reflexology have all been reported as being helpful in the menopause.
To find out more about available therapies, please consult the WHC fact sheet Complementary/alternative therapies for menopausal women.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective and widely used treatment for menopausal symptoms. As its name suggests, it is simply a way of replacing the hormone oestrogen that is lost during the menopause.
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