Oral Contraceptives And Vaginal Treatments
Oral contraceptive pills
Oral contraceptive pills are another form of hormone therapy often prescribed for women in perimenopause to treat irregular vaginal bleeding. Women in the menopausal transition tend to have considerable breakthrough bleeding when given estrogen therapy. Therefore, oral contraceptives are often given to women in the menopause transition to regulate menstrual periods, relieve hot flashes, as well as to provide contraception. They are not recommended for women who have already reached menopause, because the dose of estrogen is higher than that needed to control hot flashes and other symptoms. The contraindications for oral contraceptives in women going through the menopause transition are the same as those for premenopausal women.
Local hormone and non-hormone treatments
There are also local hormonal treatments for the symptoms of vaginal estrogen deficiency. Local treatments include the vaginal estrogen ring , vaginal estrogen cream, or vaginal estrogen tablets. Local and oral estrogen treatments are sometimes combined for this purpose.
Vaginal moisturizing agents such as creams or lotions as well as the use of lubricants during intercourse are non-hormonal options for managing the discomfort of vaginal dryness.
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Predicting Natural Menopause: Why Does Age Matter
If theres not a lot that women can do to change when theyll experience menopause, why does predicting it even matter?
It would be helpful for every woman to know exactly when menopause will arrive. Beyond recognizing and addressing issues such as increased cardiovascular disease risk and risks related to bone health, if a woman knows her age of menopause and how long the perimenopause transition will last, it could help her make important health decisions, says Faubion.
If youre bleeding like crazy it would be helpful to know, she says.
As of now, research hasnt uncovered a way to determine when a women will go into menopause, but having that information could be useful in making decisions such as whether to have a hysterectomy or other invasive procedures, says Faubion. If menopause is going to be a few months or a year from now, you may choose to wait it out if its going to be five years from now, you might want to go ahead and have an invasive procedure, she says.
The ability to predict when menopause will occur could also help with managing menopause symptoms or deciding which type of birth control to use, adds Faubion.
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Immunity Boosters To Incorporate Today
Relax Studies show that stress weakens the immune system if you notice that you get a cold sore or a sinus infection after a big work project or emotional upheaval, take note. Your immune system is likely struggling, leaving you open for a host of not-fun symptoms.
Reality check: In this day and age, who doesnt worry every day? The trick is to carve out me time, even if youre not used to taking care of yourself. Yes, we are even suggesting that you put yourself above others, for the greater good. The time invested will be way worth it as you avoid sick days, and just that tired, lethargic feeling that can haunt you from season to season. Dont be embarrassed to put yourself first for even a few minutes. Try meditation (we like the relaxation app Calm. Other immunity-boosting activities include yoga, walking outside and listening to music. Each of these are proven to lessen your stress level.
Exercise Even three hours a week of moving your body will have positive effects on your health. Begin a weight-lifting program , amp up your heartbeat with light cardioand try to do it outside when possibleits been proven that working out outdoors produces more powerful antibodies than staying in. Not to mention working out in the fresh air is free, and exposes you to necessary Vitamin D through sun exposure Regular workouts help stabilize hormone levels and keep your adrenal glands in top form. Youll feel so much better in a manner of weeks, you may become addicted!
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How Can I Treat The Symptoms
There are a bunch of ways.
Lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and regular exercise program will help manage your symptoms and boost your health. This is a great time to finally kick any old, unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. To help with hot flashes, dress lightly and in layers. Avoid triggers like caffeine and spicy foods. And if you stay sexually active, that may help preserve your vaginal lining.
Prescription medication for hot flashes. If you still have your uterus, your doctor might prescribe treatment with estrogen and progesterone. This is called combination hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy . It helps with hot flashes and night sweats, and it may help prevent osteoporosis. If you donât have a uterus, you might get estrogen alone.
Hormone therapy isnât for everyone. Donât take it if you’ve ever had breast cancer, uterine or “endometrial” cancer, blood clots, liver disease, or a stroke. Also don’t take it if you might be pregnant or you have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.
If you can’t or don’t want to take hormones, other medications can ease symptoms. They include antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, or blood pressure medications to help with hot flashes and mood swings.
Prescription and OTC medication for vaginal dryness and sleep problems. You can try topical estrogen, lubricants, and non-estrogen prescriptions for dryness and painful sex. OTC or prescription sleep aids can help if you have trouble falling asleep.
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 Other Life Changes Affect Menopause
Menopause can be a rough time. In addition to the symptoms that may be tough to deal with, a lot of stressful life changes can happen around the same time as perimenopause and menopause.
Some changes you may go through during this time in your life include:
anxiety about illness, aging, and death
anxiety about the future, getting older, and losing independence
anxiety about being disabled
changes in family, social, and personal relationships
changes in identity or body image
children leaving home
getting divorced or losing a partner
having a partner become ill or disabled
more responsibility for grandchildren
Menopause Symptoms At Age 45
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.
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.
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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Are There Any Tests For Menopause
The most accurate way to tell if it’s happening to you is to watch your menstrual cycles for 12 months in a row. It helps to keep track of your periods and chart them as they become irregular. Menopause has happened when you have not had any period for an entire 12 months.
Your doctor can check your blood for follicle stimulating hormone . The levels will jump as your ovaries begin to shut down. As your estrogen levels fall, youâll notice hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and less lubrication during sex.
The tissue in and around your vagina will thin as estrogen drops, too. The only way to check for this is through a Pap-like smear, but itâs rarely done. As this happens, you might have urinary incontinence, painful sex, a low sex drive, and vaginal itching.
Why Your Body Needs It
Progesterone wears many hats.
As well as helping prepare your body for pregnancy and its role in the regulation of your menstrual cycle, the hormone also helps with sexual desire so its important that levels of progesterone remain at the right balance. Well look at what happens when you have unbalanced hormones in due course, whether thats too much progesterone or a lack of it.
Long before youre worrying about babies or the menopause transition, progesterone helps with the development of your breasts.
When you reach your childbearing years, progesterone is produced alongside estrogen when an egg follicle develops. This bulks up the lining of your uterus. After ovulation, progesterone levels continue to rise. This is necessary to nourish fertilized eggs.
So, aside from the way it influences sexual development and pregnancy, how about progesterone when youre menopausal?
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Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms
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.
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 .
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:
Are There Treatments For The Menopause
If your symptoms are severe, theres treatment available which could help. This includes hormone replacement therapy , which replaces oestrogen to alleviate symptoms, creams for vaginal dryness, and cognitive behaviour therapy to help with mood changes. Speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of different treatments.
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Testing For Menopause & Early Menopause
Is it possible to test for and diagnose if you are in menopause?
The answer is yes.
The changes in your hormones cause several changes to other hormones in your body which can be picked up with routine blood tests.
What you need to realize is that all of the systems in your body are connected in some way.
If you drop your estrogen, for instance, then that will alter other hormones that are normally produced by your brain to stimulate the release of estrogen.
These hormones and prohormones can be picked up and used to help draw a picture of what is happening in your body.
So which blood tests do you need to diagnose menopause?
I’ve included a list below that every woman who is going through menopause should ask their doctor for:
It’s also helpful to understand what happens to these values during menopause so that you can understand where you are at in your transition.
I’ve included some of the general ranges to look for with these lab tests below:
What Medications Are Used To Treat Postmenopausal Symptoms
Hormone therapy could be an option, although healthcare providers often recommend using it for a short amount of time and in people under the age of 60. There are health risks associated with hormone therapy like blood clots and stroke. Some healthcare providers do not recommend using hormone therapy after menopause has ended or if you have certain medical conditions.
Some medications your healthcare provider may consider helping with postmenopausal symptoms are:
- Antidepressants for mood swings or depression.
- Vaginal creams for pain related to sexual intercourse and vaginal dryness.
- Gabapentin to relieve hot flashes.
Oftentimes your provider will recommend lifestyle changes to help manage your symptoms.
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What Are Birth Control Options For Women Over 40
After the age of 40, the same birth control methods you used when you were in your 20s and 30s may not be your best options anymore, depending on changes in your health. However, if you are healthy and dont smoke, you may be able to continue using the same method youve relied on in the past. Its best to review your contraceptive options with your doctor.
If you are perimenopausal, you should avoid trying to use natural birth control methods such as tracking ovulation and periodic abstinence, because during this time your periods may be irregular and your ovulation unpredictable.
Birth control options for women over 40 include:
Barrier methods of birth control involve the use of physical barriers to block sperm. Different types of barriers include male or female condoms, diaphragms and spermicides. Condoms also provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Hormonal methods of contraception involve taking hormones on a regular basis and are a safe and reliable way to prevent pregnancy for many people. Hormonal birth control options use a combination of the two female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone . The synthetic form of progesterone is known as progestin.
Hormonal contraceptive options include:
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Signs Of Nearing Menopause
Since you cant measure your hormone levels at home, there are several signs that indicate that you may be approaching menopause. Not every woman experiences these signs, and every woman experiences a different mix of these. In the few years approaching menopause, women will typically experience many symptoms which worsen as true menopause approaches.
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How Long Does The Menopause Last
Symptoms of the menopause can start months or even years before periods stop completely. They usually continue for around 4 years after your last period, though some womens symptoms continue for much longer.
The menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55, but its very difficult to predict when it will take place in an individual.
What Causes Postmenopausal Bleeding
Vaginal bleeding during postmenopause isn’t a normal side effect of decreasing hormone levels. In some cases, the dryness in your vagina could cause some light bleeding or spotting after sex. In other cases, it could indicate a condition like endometrial hyperplasia or uterine fibroids, infections like endometritis, or cancer. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any vaginal bleeding so you can be evaluated.
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Why Am I Still Getting Symptoms After Menopause
But we also get a large number of women wanting to know why theyre still getting symptoms well through the menopause. Now, remember, once your periods have stopped for two years, thats you postmenopausal, but your hormones just dont suddenly stop changing after the two years. Your hormonal balance can continue to change and fluctuate for a good number of years after that.
And for some women, this continual hormonal change will continue to trigger menopause symptoms. But what we do tend to say is if you are still getting menopausal symptoms after about four or five years or longer after your periods have finally stopped, then we advise you just to get things checked out by your doctor.
Other health issues can creep in. The poor menopause can get the blame. And, you know, a lot of women will try menopausal remedies and find that they dont really work because other health issues have taken over the role, if you like, and are continuing to trigger menopause-like symptoms. So its really important, in this situation, just ask for a health check from your doctor because if it is anything else, very often, it can be sorted, and that will make you feel better in the long run.
How To Tell If You Have Early Menopause
To diagnose early menopause correctly women should seek help from their doctor. While the symptoms of early menopause can be very telling, your doctor or gynaecologist will have to perform medical tests to confirm if this is the case. If you suspect you might have early menopause it is advisable to visit a doctor so he/she can perform a diagnose. However, in this OneHowTo article we explain you the symptoms of this condition and the different methods used to determine if you have early menopause.
The symptoms of early menopause are similar to those of normal menopause. Among the most common symptoms are these:
- Changes in your periods
- Lower sex drive
If you experience any of these symptoms and think that youre still young to have menopause you should call your doctor or gynaecologist and make an appointment.
At your appointment, explain the reasons why you think you have early menopause. Your doctor may perform a physical examination and a pregnancy test to rule out other possible conditions with similar symptoms.
A thyroid condition or pregnancy have similar symptoms of early menopause, but if the doctor rules out these symptoms, he/she might do a blood test to check your levels of estradiol, a form of estrogen. The results of this test may indicate an ovarian insufficiency, which will point as early menopause as the most likely cause.
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