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 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 people, 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.
The Basics Of Perimenopause
During perimenopause, the ovaries slow down production of essential reproductive hormones, like progesterone and estrogen. These hormones influence nearly every cell, organ, and function in the body, from menstruation and mood to body temperature and bone health. While a woman could get pregnant during perimenopause, it becomes less and less likely with each passing year.
This diminished production of necessary reproductive hormones can cause a range of uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms for women. Continue reading to learn more.
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
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Why Does Menopause Happen
Natural menopause menopause thats 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 such as hormonal birth control, overactive thyroid, high prolactin, radiation or surgical removal of the ovaries.
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, your 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.
Sleep Problems And Mood Swings
Try these options to avoid sleep problems:
- Avoid large meals, smoking, coffee, or caffeine after noon.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Avoid exercise or alcohol close to bedtime.
- Drink warm milk or warm caffeine-free tea before bed.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet, and cool room.
- Treat hot flashes to improve sleep.
Easing stress, eating right, and staying physically active can help with mood swings and sleeping problems. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help with mood swings.
You should talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms and to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms, like depression or asthma. Its also helpful to join a support group for women in menopause so you have a safe place to share your concerns and issues.
Your doctor may also prescribe menopausal hormone therapy to help treat your symptoms. MHT can ease:
- hot flashes
Studies show that women who take MHT are at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. The risks are similar for women using contraceptive pills, patches, and rings. However, women taking MHT are older, and the risks increase with age.
Many women cant take MHT because of a previous illness such as cancer or because they take other medications.
Additional research found that the risk of getting breast cancer can increase with five or more years of continuous MHT use .
Women who have had their uterus removed will use estrogen-only therapy.
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What Are The Risks Of Pregnancy During Perimenopause And Menopause
Pregnancy becomes riskier as you age above 35. Here are some of the risks for both you and the baby .
- IVF treatment could result in multiple fetuses. This is likely to cause preterm labor, low birth weight in babies and delivery complications.
- High blood pressure could lead to preeclampsia.
- Gestational diabetes.
- Placenta previa, in which the placenta lies low in the womb and causes problems during childbirth.
- Placental abruption in which the placenta is detached from the womb, causing fetal growth problems, stillbirth, and premature birth.
- Stillbirth or miscarriage.
So What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause
Well, these are the most common symptoms that you could be experiencing during this time:
- Breast tenderness
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
Oh wow! Lots to look forward to then, huh?!
So anyway, if youre experiencing any of these symptoms, congratulations, youre perimenopausal and moving towards menopause. And if you havent menstruated for 12 consecutive months, then youve reached menopause and any symptoms that might continue are then called postmenopause symptoms. And there endeth the lesson on pre/peri/post-menopause. Hahaha!
Oh, and dont forget youre awesome. Because wow, thats a lot of craziness to have to deal with and most women take it in their stride.
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Menopause And Bone Health
And then just when you thought it couldnt get any worse
- Eat calcium-rich foods
- Include Vitamin D supplements in your daily routine
- Regulate our alcohol and caffeine intake
- Do regular exercise that includes some weight training
- Avoid smoking
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Avoid unnecessary weight gain
- Reduce stress
And other than that, simply try to stay positive and marvel at the miracle of our awesome bodies. Because lets face it, theres no turning back now. Its onward and upward.
But seriously, women are such amazing creatures, arent we? These bodies of ours perform daily wonders and I guess we should continue to treat them well and look after them as best we can as we enter each new phase of our lives. Self-care FTW!
Do you have any other tips that youve found help to ease your perimenopause symptoms? Sleeping with a fan in your bedroom, cutting down on certain foods, avoiding spicy foods or maybe having a regular date night to spice up your life that way instead?
Please leave any tips and great ideas in the comments section below. I would love to hear what you have to say.
Can Early Menopause Contribute To Other Conditions
Infertility is often the most obvious concern when you start menopause 10 or more years early. Yet, there are other health concerns.
A steady stream of estrogen to your tissues has many uses. Estrogen increases good HDL cholesterol and decreases bad LDL cholesterol. It also relaxes blood vessels and prevents bones from thinning.
Losing estrogen earlier than normal can increase your risk of:
- premature death
Discuss your concerns about these symptoms with your doctor. Because of these risks, women who enter menopause early are often prescribed hormone replacement therapy.
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Hormonal Birth Control May Mask Your Symptoms Entirely
Hormonal IUDs like Mirena can make periods lighter. Some women with IUDs stop getting a period altogether. If your periods do stop, it can be hard to tell whether youre in menopause.
Mirena can also cause a few symptoms that look a lot like menopause, including mood swings and irregular periods.
But an IUD shouldnt affect other menopause symptoms. It only releases progesterone, not estrogen. As your estrogen level naturally drops, you can still expect to have menopause symptoms like hot flashes, trouble sleeping, and flushed skin.
A few other symptoms can pop up that make you wonder whether youre going through menopause or second puberty.
These symptoms can be due to the hormone progesterone in Mirena:
- tender breasts
Are There Nonhormonal Options For The Management Of Menopausal Symptoms
Hormone therapy may not be the right choice for you. Some medical conditions may prevent you from safely being able to use hormone therapy or you may choose not to use that form of treatment for your own personal reasons. Changes to your lifestyle may help you relieve many of your symptoms without need for hormonal intervention.
Lifestyle changes may include:
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How Will Menopause Affect Me
Symptoms of menopause may begin suddenly and be very noticeable, or they may be very mild at first. Symptoms may happen most of the time once they begin, or they may happen only once in a while. Some women notice changes in many areas. Some menopausal symptoms, such as moodiness, are similar to symptoms of premenstrual syndrome . Others may be new to you. For example:
- Your menstrual periods may not come as regularly as before. They also might last longer or be shorter. You might skip some months. Periods might stop for a few months and then start up again.
- Your periods might be heavier or lighter than before.
- You might have hot flashes and problems sleeping.
- You might experience mood swings or be irritable.
- You might experience vaginal dryness. Sex may be uncomfortable or painful.
- You may have less interest in sex. It may take longer for you to get aroused.
Other possible changes are not as noticeable. For example, you might begin to lose bone density because you have less estrogen. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Changing estrogen levels can also raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Talk to your doctor about possible treatment for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.
Sure Signs Of Menopause
“You’re in menopause.” My doctor said calmly and with almost a little smile-smirk on her face. “Your tests have all come back — and you’re healthy. Sure a little low on iron as you typically are, but now that those pesky periods are gone — that should just correct itself.”
“Menopause? But I’m only 45. Well now 45 and a half and rolling quickly downhill to 46, but surely right now I’m only 45.” I told my doctor – and not with a smirk-smile on my face but rather a more ‘are you fucking kidding’ me look, and my voice was less than quiet.
“Yes, menopause. I mean you might have one or two more periods but your test results show you should be done with them in about six months at the most.”
Menopause. But I’m still young. Right? The only person I could think of who reached menopause in their 40s was Ma Ingalls. Remember that episode when Laura announced her pregnancy and Caroline did too — but it turns out that Caroline was NOT pregnant — she was just in menopause. And then she fell into a deep depression. Yeah, that’s where my mind immediately went. Because I’m a child of the 70s — and children of the 70s just cannot be in menopause yet, right?
Who do you call when you hear the words that you’ve entered menopause? When in your mind menopause is the affliction of grandmothers and doesn’t look like a 45 year old with a four year old child.
Here are 12 signs that you might be menopausal…
Earlier on Huff/Post50:
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.
Home Menopause Test Kits
Home menopause test kits measure the levels of follicle stimulating hormone in your urine. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. Its levels increase each month to stimulate the ovarian follicles to release a mature egg. During menopause, your ovaries stop producing eggs and the levels of FSH rise.
Home menopause tests detect the amount of FSH in your urine, but they cant definitively detect whether you are in perimenopause or menopause. Whatever the results of the test may be, you should consult your doctor if you have menopausal symptoms.
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Easing The Transition To Menopause
A genetic test may one day determine a persons likelihood of early menopause. For now, though, only time will tell when youll start your transition.
See your doctor for regular checkups, and be proactive about your reproductive health. Doing so can help your doctor ease the symptoms or decrease your risk factors for early menopause.
Seeing a therapist can also help you cope with any pain or anxiety you may feel during menopause.
Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Menopause Symptoms
We take a comprehensive approach to managing menopausal symptoms. Depending on your health history and the severity of your symptoms, we often start by recommending lifestyle changes.
Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can minimize menopause symptoms and help you maintain a healthy weight. Your diet matters too. Strive to eat nutritious meals with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
If youre dealing with hot flashes and night sweats, prepare yourself by wearing light layers, and consider keeping washcloths in the freezer for quick cooling relief. Avoid spicy food and alcohol to keep hot flashes at bay.
Finding healthy ways to manage stress can also have a positive impact on menopausal symptoms. Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can keep stress in check. If you smoke, consider quitting because tobacco use can make menopause symptoms worse.
As you get older, your risk of other health conditions may go up. Regular exercise and healthy eating can help prevent some of these conditions, like osteoporosis and heart disease.
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Do Men Go Through Menopause
Andropause, or male menopause, is a term given to describe decreasing testosterone levels in men. Testosterone production in men declines much more gradually than estrogen production in women at about 1% per year. Healthcare providers often debate calling this slow decline in testosterone menopause since its not as drastic of a hormone shift and doesn’t carry the same intensity of side effects as menopause in women. Some men will not even notice the change because it happens over many years or decades. Other names for the male version of menopause are age-related low testosterone, male hypogonadism or androgen deficiency.
Will Hormone Therapy Help Prevent Long
The benefits and risks of hormone therapy vary depending on a womans age and her individual history. In general, younger people in their 50s tend to get more benefits from hormone therapy as compared to those who are postmenopausal in their 60s. People who undergo premature menopause are often treated with hormone therapy until age 50 to avoid the increased risk that comes from the extra years of estrogen loss.
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Will I Gain Weight When I Experience Menopause
Changes in your hormone levels may cause you to gain weight. However, aging can also contribute to weight gain.
Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and practicing other healthy habits to help control your weight. Being overweight can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.
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How To Get Your Menopause Symptoms Under Control
Menopause is a natural biological process that every woman experiences. But the symptoms from mood swings and insomnia to hot flashes and weight gain can make this time of your life downright unpleasant.
Menopause symptoms are triggered by changing hormone levels. Estrogen and progesterone levels begin declining as early as age 40, and symptoms can appear when you enter this phase preceding menopause known as perimenopause.
When all is said and done, many women live with menopausal symptoms for 10-plus years. The good news is that you dont have to suffer uncontrolled symptoms and let them affect your quality of life.
A. Michael Coppa, MD, and our team partner with you to help you get your menopausal symptoms under control. We monitor your health, recommend lifestyle adjustments, and offer hormone therapy, so you can feel like yourself again.
Is Hormone Replacement A Safe Option For Management Of Menopausal Problems
Several hormone therapies are FDA-approved for treatment of hot flashes and prevention of bone loss. The benefits and risks vary depending on the severity of your hot flashes and bone loss, and your health. These therapies may not be right for you. Talk to your doctor before trying any hormone therapies.
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