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Is It Menopause Or Something Else

Benefits And Risks Of Hormone Replacement Therapy

A Doctor Explains the Symptoms of Menopause

The main benefit of HRT is that it can help relieve most menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, brain fog, joint pains, mood swings and vaginal dryness.

It can also help prevent thinning of the bones, which can lead to fractures . Osteoporosis is more common after the menopause.

Some types of HRT can slightly increase the risk of breast cancer and blood clots in some women. You need to discuss whether you have any risk factors with a doctor or nurse.

Evidence says that the risks of HRT are small and usually outweighed by the benefits.

Your GP can give you more information about the risks and benefits of HRT to help you decide whether or not you want to take it.

Q: What Causes Hot Flashes

A:;The exact causes of hot flashes are still unknown, but they are thought to be related to changes in the brains thermoregulatory center, which controls heat production and loss, and is influenced by your hormones. During perimenopause, hormones start acting like a rollercoaster, with progesterone and estrogen levels changing in wide variations. These ups and downs dont settle down until almost 10 years after menopause.

You Feel Beyond Your Years

Hormone interruption has many women suffering joint pain, which really adds insult to injury, leaving you feeling like you cant enjoy the activities you like to do.

Many women are concerned that this is not normal but perimenopause actually affects most women at some stage in their lives. If you are suffering, youre not alone and it is worth asking for help. It may be as simple as revisiting contraception choices or it may be worth exploring gentle and appropriate hormone replacement therapy . Talking about it is the first step to taking back control of your quality of life.

Contact us about perimenopause treatment

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Vaginal Dryness And Discomfort

If;your vagina becomes dry, painful or itchy as a result of the menopause, your GP can prescribe oestrogen treatment that’s;put directly into your vagina as a pessary, cream or vaginal ring.

This can safely be used alongside HRT.

You’ll usually need to use vaginal oestrogen indefinitely, as your symptoms are likely to return when treatment stops. However, side effects are very rare.

You can also use over-the-counter vaginal moisturisers or lubricants in addition to, or instead of, vaginal oestrogen.

Read more about;vaginal dryness and sex as you get older.

Changes In Your Sex Life

Menopause or Something Else? Here

Hormonal fluctuation can also impact your sex life. Many women experience vaginal dryness, which may lead to pain with sexual intercourse. Another common symptom of menopause is low sex drive or disinterest in sex.

While these are some of the most common symptoms, theyre not the only ways menopause can affect your life. Some women experience other physical changes like headaches, tender breasts, dry skin, thinning hair, and weight gain.

After menopause, lingering health issues can include lower bone density, stiff joints, and increased urinary tract infections . Keeping up with your regular well-woman visits ensures youre getting the care you need as you navigate lifes changes.

Many women find that their symptoms are short-lived or manageable with lifestyle adjustments, but thats not always the case. If your quality of life is severely affected, Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson offer hormone optimization therapy to keep your most bothersome symptoms at bay.

Learn how hormone therapy could help you get through the toughest seasons of perimenopause and menopause. Contact us online or on the phone to schedule a consultation at OB/GYN Specialists.

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Living Well With Menopauseconditions That Can Be Mistaken For Menopause

Your menopausal symptom could actually be due to illness

Menopause is associated with a number of different symptoms. Many women complain about a general malaise, saying that they don’t quite feel themselves or that they feel sluggish. However, it is extremely risky to self-diagnose and assume that menopause is the cause of the fatigue that you are feeling. This is because menopause generally occurs during the time of life when a woman can develop a number of lifestyle diseases.

Menopause is not the only cause of menstrual irregularities. Irregular periods may indicate other unidentified conditions. Women whose menstrual cycle has become irregular or are experiencing general malaise should visit their OB/GYN or family doctor for an examination. Symptoms that are assumed to be caused by menopause could, in fact, be masking other conditions.

Q When Should I Call A Doctor About My Perimenopausal Symptoms

  • If you are experiencing hot flashes and night sweats under the age of 45, contact your OBGYN to see what else might be causing them. When you have abnormal uterine bleeding, it is important to alert us regardless of age as we may recommend an ultrasound or endometrial biopsy to rule out abnormal changes in the uterus.
  • If you have not had a period for 12 months and then experience vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor. It is not normal for bleeding to recur after this period of time. Read our article about when you should see your OBGYN.

    Remember, perimenopause and menopause are natural and normal transitions, but they can be stressful. Many symptoms can be managed which can help you regain a sense of control, well-being, and confidence to thrive in your next stage of life.

    We want you to feel supported, heard, and cared for as you go through this change.

    Sometimes, the biggest help is simply confirmation that what youre experiencing is normal!

    Dr. Ashley Durward;has been providing healthcare to women in Madison since 2015 and joined Madison Womens Health in 2019, specializing in high and low risk obstetrics, contraception and preconception counseling, management of abnormal uterine bleeding, pelvic floor disorders, and minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.

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    Hot Flashes: Is It Due To Menopause Or Something Else

    Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when the menstruation ceases, bringing an end to a woman’s childbearing years. There are a number of symptoms that mark this stage, including hot flashes, which are very commonly experienced in such cases. Hot flashes are like a feeling of a red hot flush that may wash over the body and lead to excessive sweating. It occurs in the blood vessels that are closest to the surface of the skin. Yet, menopause is not the only reason why one may experience these hot flashes.

    Here are some of the reasons that may trigger these hot flashes:

    1. Carcinoid syndrome: This is a disease that may cause hot flashes as a symptom. In this condition, a tumour will usually release varied chemicals into the body, which can create varied symptoms that seem like hot flashes.

    2. Hyperthyroidism: Overheating of the body and the system from within is something that many patients suffering from hyperthyroidism may experience. This usually happens when the thyroid glands end up producing too much of the thyroid hormone that brings about many symptoms ranging from depression to weight loss and even hot flashes. In hyperthyroidism, the body goes into a hyper mode, which usually leads to overheating of the same. This gives rise to frequent and often severe hot flashes.

    Other Causes For Hot Flashes

    The biggest mistake women in menopause make!

    When someone experiences hot flashes, a doctor can tell with a simple blood test if the problem is related to menopause or due to some other reason. Menopause usually occurs in the 50s, so when someone much younger has hot flashes, physicians will often look for additional causes. Some of the most common ones include:

    • Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, which causes an overabundance of thyroid hormone, can increase the bodys metabolism and lead to hot flashes and sweating. While hypothyroidism is the usual culprit in these cases, non-menopausal hot flashes can also be due to thyroid cancer.
    • Food and drink, including spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, can trigger hot flashes. While the symptoms appear after a meal or a few drinks, this type of hot flash can often be stopped by eating lighter and limiting or eliminating caffeine and alcohol.
    • Medication can bring on flushing and continue as long as you are taking them; changing medications often makes the condition go away.
    • Stress accompanied by a rush of adrenaline can produce a feeling of warmth like a hot flash, so if you live a stress filled life, you may set off this reaction.
    • Hormone-secreting tumors such as pancreatic tumors override the organs ability to help the body function properly and can lead to hot flashes and sweating.
    • Other conditions such as HIV and tuberculosis can produce symptoms similar to hot flashes and night sweats.

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    Calcium And Vitamin D

    A combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the bone loss associated with menopause. The best sources are from calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods.

    Doctors are currently reconsidering the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that healthy postmenopausal women don’t need to take these supplements. According to the USPSTF, taking daily low-dose amounts of vitamin D supplements , with or without calcium supplements , does not prevent fractures. For higher doses, the USPSTF says there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation. In addition to possible lack of benefit, these supplements are associated with certain risks, like kidney stones.

    However, calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients. Supplements may be appropriate for certain people including those who do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and those who do not consume enough calcium in their diet. They are also helpful for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take supplements.

    The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:


    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones.

    Symptoms Of The Perimenopause

    Most women will experience some form of perimenopausal symptoms prior to the menopause.

    Brar recommends keeping a record of the symptoms related to menopause. She suggests documenting changes to your periods and any other bothersome symptoms you are experiencing. This will help your doctor develop an individualised treatment plan.

    Perimenopausal symptoms can include:

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    An Early First Menstrual Period May Lead To Premature Menopause

    How do you know if you’re starting perimenopause?

    The most telling symptom is changes in your menstrual cycle, says psychiatrist Hadine Joffe, the executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

    “It’s the menstrual cycle pattern that really defines this lead-up to menopause,” she says. During perimenopause, periods “might be shorter, then a long one, or then a skipped one, or then the flow might be different,” says Joffe.

    There’s no blood or hormone test that can “diagnose” perimenopause. Joffe says a hormone test isn’t helpful because hormonal cycles become erratic and unpredictable during this stage.

    “There’s not really one point in time when a hormone test is done that can be definitive,” she says. Even if you took several tests over time, “you might get a very different readout.”

    Surprisingly, sometimes doctors aren’t prepared to help women recognize the start of this life phase. Edrie was upset at her doctors’ responses â or lack thereof. “I felt so disappointed in the medical industry. How many women has my OB/GYN seen and not recognized the symptoms of perimenopause?”

    What symptoms to expect

    Menopause Might Not Be The Cause

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    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.

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    Q What Can I Do About Perimenopausal Weight Gain

  • As you age, your metabolism naturally slows down. You may also lose muscle mass and gain unwanted fat. Its important to maintain a healthy diet and shoot for 30 minutes of exercise each day. Carrying excess weight increases your risks of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and even various types of cancers. Talk to your doctor about ways you can obtain a healthy body weight.
  • Why Is Perimenopause Still Such A Mystery

    Over 1 billion women around the world will have experienced perimenopause by 2025. But a culture that has spent years dismissing the process might explain why we dont know more about it.

    Angie McKaig calls it peri brain out loud, in meetings. Thats when the 49-year-old has moments of perimenopause-related brain fog so intense that she will forget the point she is trying to make in the middle of a sentence. Sometimes it will happen when shes presenting to her colleagues in digital marketing at Canadas largest bank in Toronto. But it can happen anywhere she has forgotten her own address. Twice.

    Ms. McKaigs symptoms were a rude surprise when she first started experiencing them in 2018, right around when her mother died. She had an irregular period, hot flashes, insomnia and massive hair loss along with memory issues she describes as like somebody had taken my brain and done the Etch A Sketch thing, which is to say, shaken it until it was blank.

    Ms. McKaig is aggressively transparent about her peri brain at work, because she realized how few people actually talk about this, and how little information we are given. So I have tried to normalize it, she said.

    If the experience of perimenopause is this universal, why did almost every single layperson interviewed for this article say something along the lines of: No one told me it would be like this?

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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.

    Understand The Impact Of Weight Changes And Nutrition

    Age of Menopause

    Studies on weight change in menopause vary,;and often conclude that weight does not change pre- and post-menopause.;But;many women disagree.;;

    We understand that,;over time, we tend to lose lean muscle mass and gain fat, which;can;accumulate in the central abdominal area, so the end result is no change in weight.;But:;Abdominal fat or a waist circumference greater than 35 inches is associated with an increased risk of;conditions such as;type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.We suspect that one of the culprits of the change in body composition is;due to;the general reduction in activity as we;age.;

    When it comes to nutrition, no;specific diet has been proven to “balance hormones” in menopause. Women;may;find that certain foods or beverages, like spicy foods or red wine, can;worsen some menopausal;symptoms,;such as;hot flashes. We do advise women in menopause;to be mindful of;their;dietary calcium and vitamin D intake, because;the loss of estrogen causes bones to weaken and increase;the;risk;of;fracture.;

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    If Its Not Menopause What Is It

    Its hard to believe, but the first landmark study of womens perceptions of menopause found that, Not knowing what to expect was midlife womens greatest concern. Since that time there has been an explosion in scientific, and popular, publications pertaining to menopause. Women now are well acquainted with menopausal signs and symptoms. They know what to expect. So the question has shifted to If its not menopause, then what is the cause of my menopause-like symptoms? Lets examine some of the more common symptoms and see what else might be at fault.

    Irregular or absent menstrual periods

    While a few women will suddenly reach menopause, or the last natural period, most will have sign posts for the upcoming change. The most common sign is marked menstrual changes. The official definition of perimenopause is the four to five years before last menstrual period. Perimenopause also includes the first year of no periods following the last menstrual flow. Marked menstrual changes are considered to be: cycle length between flows more than seven days different from normal, and/or more than 60 days of no periods.

    Hot flashes

    Flashes are the second most often reported symptom by perimenopausal women. Hot flashes and night sweats can onset during perimenopause, and generally peak during the first two years after the last menstrual period.

    Sleep disturbances

    Mood swings

    Vaginal dryness

    Heart palpitations

    Is There a False Negative on a Test for Menopause?


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