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How To Know If You Are Approaching Menopause

Menopause And Complementary Therapies

Pregnancy & Menopause : Know When Menopause Is Approaching

Some women can benefit from using complementary therapies for menopause. But it is important to remember that natural herb and plant medications can have unpleasant side effects in some women, just like prescribed medications. A registered naturopath may provide long-term guidance and balance through the menopausal years.Herbal therapies can often be taken in conjunction with hormone therapy. It is important to let both your doctor and naturopath know exactly what each has prescribed, and to consult your doctor before taking any herbal treatments or dietary supplements for menopause. Some natural therapies can affect or interact with other medications you may be taking.

Menopause Might Not Be The Cause

Heres a curveball: Your symptoms may not be due to menopause at all. Dr. Evans says, Just like Freud blamed mothers for everything, we tend to blame our ovaries and uterus for everything. But menopause isnt always to blame.

Many symptoms mimic the signs of menopause but there might be other causes. In midlife, there are plenty of factors affecting womens physical and mental health. Some of those can mimic the signs of menopause.

For example, juggling work, kids and aging parents can contribute to anxiety and depression. Weight gain, which is often blamed on menopause, has more to do with an aging metabolism. Thyroid disorders can mimic menopause as well. And though its not the norm, pseudo-hot flashes have even been caused by chronic sinus infections, Dr. Evans says.

Bottom line: Dont write off discomfort as, Well, I guess this is my life now. You dont need to live with uncomfortable symptoms, whatever the cause. See your doctor to figure out whats going on and how best to manage it.

Anxiety Or Mood Changes

Most of us feel anxious at times, but you might find that things that you can usually cope with make you feel overwhelmed with anxiety. You might also feel upset, sad or angry in situations thatwould not have bothered you before.

These increases in anxiety and mood changes can be caused by hormonal changes.

Read Also: Which Of The Following Best Describes Possible Symptoms Of Menopause

Your Mood Is All Over The Place

My patients often tell me they feel crazy and dont know whats wrong with them, says Dr. Allmen. It could be onset of new mood symptoms or worsening of existing anxiety or depression. In fact, during menopause, women are two to four times more likely to experience depression.

Hormones might be responsible for these changes in mood. However, issues women tend to face in their 40s and 50s, like stress over worsening health or kids moving out and parents getting older, can also play a role.

What To Expect When Youre Expecting Perimenopause

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There are commercials about it, ads in magazines about it, even skits on Saturday Night Live about it. We hear about menopause more often than wed like, especially if were fast approaching it. But what we dont often learn about is perimenopause, the period preceding menopause that lasts four years, on average.

Dr. Catherine Sundsmo, a family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy, recently took some time to explain perimenopause and all that comes with it. Here are her top five tips on what to expect when youre expecting perimenopause:

  • Expect to wait a while. Natural menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of menstrual periods, determined after a woman has experienced 12 months of no menstrual periods. The average age of menopause is 51. Once menopause is complete, a woman can no longer get pregnant. Perimenopause, now commonly known as menopausal transition, occurs during the approximately four years preceding menopause.
  • Expect that you might need a little help. Perimenopause and menopause are a normal part of a womans life and do not need to be treated medically. However, if symptoms are bothersome to you and disrupting your life, there are several treatments available. Some include anti-depressants, supplements, hormonal medications such as low-dose birth control or low-dose hormone therapy, and natural remedies such as black cohosh and soy.
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    Bleeding If You’re On The Pill

    If you’re taking the combined pill, you’ll have monthly period-type bleeds for as long as you keep taking the pill.

    If you’re taking the progestogen-only pill, your bleeds may be irregular or stop altogether for as long as you keep taking the pill.

    The combined pill may also mask or control menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats.

    These factors can make it hard to know when you’re no longer ovulating and therefore no longer fertile.

    How Is Low Estrogen Diagnosed

    Diagnosis and treatment of low estrogen can help prevent many health issues.

    If youre experiencing symptoms of low estrogen, talk with your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and make a diagnosis if needed. Early diagnosis may help prevent further complications.

    During your appointment, your doctor will discuss your family health history and assess your symptoms. Theyll also perform a physical exam. Blood tests will likely be needed to measure your hormone levels.

    Your follicle stimulating hormone levels may also be tested to determine whether your estrogen is low if youre experiencing:

    • hot flashes
    • insomnia
    • frequently missed periods

    Read Also: Can Getting Your Tubes Tied Cause Early Menopause

    Menopause Symptoms: Age 50

    Most women will have their last period around the age of 50. Twelve months without a period later, menopause is reached and post-menopause begins.

    As menopause gets closer, your estrogen and progesterone levels start to decline more rapidly. As a result, your symptoms will likely become more intense.

    Your periods will probably become more irregular. You may experience greater mood swings. And you might experience an increase in insomnia. Plus, youll likely start experiencing new symptoms that are common right around or right after reaching menopause, including:

    Hot flashes and chills

    Hot flashes can happen during pre-menopause, but theyre most often reported right around menopause and in the first few years of post-menopause. These are sensations of heat that develop around your face, neck and chest, and may spread to other areas of your body. They usually last for just a few minutes.

    Alongside the feeling of heat, your skin may redden, you may sweat, your heart rate might increase and your mood may change. Afterward, you may feel chills.

    Doctors arent sure why hot flashes happen but there are ways to lessen their impact. Some tips include:

    • Try to stay in cooler environments
    • Dress lightly or wear layers you can remove
    • Manage stress

    Hormone Replacement Therapy: It Can Bring Relief

    How to tell if youve started the menopause if youve had a hysterectomy or ablation

    If menopause symptoms are getting you down, medications can help. Talk to your doctor about low-dose birth control pills, which can regulate heavy or irregular periods during early perimenopause. Closer to menopause, hormone therapy can improve symptoms such as hot flashes.

    Treatment is especially helpful if hot flashes are interfering with a good nights sleep, Dr. Evans adds. Often, women find that anxiety and depression ease once hot flashes and night sweats are no longer making them toss and turn all night.

    At the end of the day, just remember: Menopause is a stage of life, not a disease in need of a cure. And you can continue to live your best life during these years.

    If youre feeling some distress, touch base with a healthcare provider, Dr. Evans reassures. No matter what you are going through, we can help.

    Recommended Reading: Can Woman Produce Milk After Menopause

    Dealing With The Symptoms Of Menopause

    You could argue that the physical and mental changes that occur during menopause aren’t really “symptoms.” The term is usually associated with a disease, which menopause is not. Also, it is often hard to say which changes are a direct result of a drop in hormone levels and which are natural consequences of aging. Some of the symptoms overlap or have a cascade effect. For example, vaginal dryness may contribute to a lower sex drive, and frequent nighttime hot flashes may be a factor in insomnia.

    Hot flashes and vaginal dryness are the two symptoms most frequently linked with menopause. Other symptoms associated with menopause include sleep disturbances, urinary complaints, sexual dysfunction, mood changes, and quality of life. However, these symptoms don’t consistently correlate with the hormone changes seen with menopause transition.

    What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy

    Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment for menopause symptoms. It involves taking synthetic hormones . HRT can involve taking estrogen alone or estrogen combined with another hormone, progestin. Some people have found that HRT can relieve menopause symptoms. These symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and some urinary problems. However, HRT is not for everyone. Recent studies suggest that for most people, the risks of using HRT may outweigh the benefits. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT.

    The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends against the use of combined estrogen and progestin for the prevention of chronic conditions in postmenopausal women. The AAFP also recommends against the use of estrogen for the prevention of chronic conditions in postmenopausal women who have had a hysterectomy.

    According to the AAFP, This recommendation applies to postmenopausal women who are considering hormone replacement therapy for the primary prevention of chronic medical conditions. It does not apply to women who are considering hormone therapy for the management of menopausal symptoms, or to women who have had premature menopause , or surgical menopause.

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    Your Vagina Will Undergo Some Changes

    While hot flashes will make you uncomfortable, there will also be some actual physical changes in your body including changes to your vagina. Due to a decrease in estrogen production, the lining in your vagina begins to thin. In addition to thinning, your body also produces fewer secretions, which will lead to vaginal dryness and possible inflammation. This may cause uncomfortable sexual intercourse, redness, and itchiness. This discomfort can lead to a loss of sexual desire. Over-the-counter remedies are available in the form of vaginal lubricants, and there are also prescription options available.

    Hair Skin And Nail Changes

    Pin on Gynecologists

    When your estrogen levels decrease, your hair can become dry, thin, and weak and prone to split ends and breakage.

    Your skin may also become dry and thin, and you might find you have sensations your skin is itchy or tingly, or you may experience a crawling feeling.

    Hormonal fluctuations can also lead to brittle fingernails. Symptoms of brittle nails include:

    • Changes in normal nail color
    • Ridges on nails
    • Dry cuticles and hangnails

    Recommended Reading: Heightened Sense Of Smell Perimenopause

    How Is Low Estrogen Treated

    Women who have low levels of estrogen may benefit from hormonal treatment. Hormonal treatment is the standard for low estrogen. There are non-hormonal options to help relieve symptoms. Non-hormonal options are preferred for women at high risk for breast cancer, blood clots, stroke, or liver disease.

    When Does Menopause Occur

    The timing of actual menopause is different for each person. The average age for a person to have their last period is about 51. But its normal for menopause to occur any time from age 40 to 59. A person often goes through menopause at about the same age as their mother.

    You may stop having periods early . If so, your doctor can do a blood test to see if youre actually going through menopause. If youre not, the doctor will look for another cause for your missed periods.

    Menopause is a gradual process that can take several years. Youre not really through menopause until you havent had a period for 12 months.

    People who have both ovaries removed during surgery will go through surgical menopause at the time of their surgery. If the uterus is taken out but the ovaries are not, a person will stop having periods, but they will not go through surgical menopause.

    Recommended Reading: Can You Go Into Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation

    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 .

    Can Menopause Affect My Sex Drive

    Perimenopause…What is it and how do you know you are in perimenopause? Signs, tests and help!

    Yes, menopause can affect your sex drive but it doesnt mean your sex life is over.

    Dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can make you feel less sexual desire. The symptoms can also affect your sleep and lower your energy which might make you not so into sex. Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation can also feel like a turn-off. Its also normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or loss while going through menopause.

    If you lose interest in sex during this time, itll probably come back when your symptoms stop.

    A pretty common symptom that can affect your sexual desire is vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.

    For symptoms that affect your sex life, trying one or more of these things can help:

    • Use water- or silicone-based lube when you have sex. You can buy lube at most drugstores or online.

    • Give your yourself more time to feel aroused. Moisture from being aroused protects sensitive tissues.

    • Have sex and/or masturbate more often. This increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep your vaginal tissue healthy.

    Some people may actually find that they want to have sex MORE after menopause, because they dont have to worry about getting pregnant. This may give you a sense of freedom to enjoy a renewed and exciting sex life.

    Menopause is a natural biological process. And while it marks the end of your ability to get pregnant, it definitely doesnt have to be the end of your sexuality.

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    Mood Swings And Depression

    Studies indicate that mood swings are more common during perimenopause, when hormonal fluctuations are most erratic, than during the postmenopausal years, when ovarian hormones stabilize at a low level. No direct link between mood and diminished estrogen has been proved, but it is possible that mood changes result when hormonal shifts disrupt the established patterns of a woman’s life. These changes can be stressful and may bring on “the blues.” Mood swings can mean laughing one minute and crying the next, and feeling anxious or depressed. These changes are transient, however, and do not usually meet the criteria for a diagnosis of clinical depression, a more profound dysfunctional emotional state.

    Over their lifespan, women have more depression than men. But there is no evidence that decreased estrogen alone causes clinical depression. Although women who have had previous episodes of depression may be vulnerable to a recurrence during perimenopause, menopause in and of itself does not cause clinical depression. The incidence of depression in postmenopausal women is not any higher than at any other time in life.

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    How To Tell If You Are Going Through Menopause

    All women will, at some point or another, go through menopause.

    It is a natural part of the female body’s ageing process and simply indicates the time that the finite supply of follicles in our ovaries dries up completely. Once this happens, the amount of oestrogen and progesterone floating around our bodies drops dramatically, triggering reactions around our bodies, particularly in our reproductive organs and brain cells.

    The average age that New Zealand women will have the menopause is 52, but the range is vast: a small number of women will experience “premature ovarian failure” , others will have what is termed an “early menopause” and the majority of us will fall into the 45-55 year age bracket. Some women will become menopausal earlier than their biology dictates this might be because their ovaries have been removed , or damaged .

    As the menopause is strictly defined as the moment from when you have your last menstrual period, it is only possible to diagnose it retrospectively you need to have been free of periods for 12 continuous months to be sure you are menopausal anything less than that and it is possible your periods will return and you aren’t yet menopausal. Obviously this is harder to detect in women who don’t get regular periods, for example because they have a mirena intrauterine device, or are on a hormonal pill for contraception.

    READ MORE: * Mystery of menopause before 40

    * Bladder frequency, and an increased tendency to get urinary tract infections

    Dr Sarah Jarvis Gp And Clinical Director Of Patientinfo

    Pin on Menopause

    The word for menopause comes from the Greek Menos Pausos or periods have paused or rather stopped. So the last day of your last period is the day technically you go through the menopause. But of course you don’t know until a year later that was your last period. In the years coming up to the menopause you can start getting more irregular periods and you can start getting the symptoms of the menopause.

    So hot flashes, mood swings, sometimes low mood even depression, vaginal dryness and so on. Some women go through all these without even noticing they sail through it- menopause. For some women those menopausal symptoms can be really debilitating. The answer is technically you won’t know until a year after your period stopped that you are menopausal because until then we say that it will be normal for you to have another period. But those hot flashes might give you a very good idea.

    Recommended Reading: Dizziness During Menopause


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