What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause
You may be transitioning into menopause if you begin experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes .
- Night sweats and/or cold flashes.
These symptoms can be a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen, or a sign of increased fluctuation in hormone levels. Not all women get all of these symptoms. However, women affected with new symptoms of racing heart, urinary changes, headaches, or other new medical problems should see a doctor to make sure there is no other cause for these symptoms.
Is It Normal To Have Longer And Heavier Periods During Perimenopause
Excessive bleeding and long periods are fairly common during perimenopause. Many women experience an increased flow and extended perimenopause periods before entering menopause.;
In fact, one in four women say that their periods are heavy enough to interfere with day-to-day activities, such as going to work or attending social events. According to University of Michigan researchers, 91 percent of women aged 4252 surveyed reported heavy menstruation for 10 or more days during their transition to menopause. This phenomenon occurred one to three times within a three-year period.;
There are various other health factors which come into play, including body mass index , use of hormones, and the presence of uterine fibroids.;
Why You Should See A Gynecologic Oncologist
When postmenopausal bleeding is diagnosed as endometrial cancer, most cases can be cured with a hysterectomy. However, because endometrial cancer can spread into the lymph nodes, many patients also should have a lymph node dissection at the time of hysterectomy. Gynecologic oncologists are specifically trained to perform this procedure when it is indicated.If only a hysterectomy is performed and it turns out the lymph nodes are at risk, were left with difficult decisions. Should the patient start radiation therapy, or should she go back into the operating room to perform the lymph node dissection? Seeing a gynecologic oncologist immediately after diagnosis can avoid these complications, simplifying care and improving the chance of survival.Its not always easy to travel to a gynecologic oncologists office. Dallas-Fort Worth residents are lucky in this respect, as there are a number of us in the area. I have patients who come from several hours away because were the closest available clinic. While making the trip to see a gynecologic oncologist may be inconvenient, its important for your care.
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When Should I Contact My Doctor
Contact your healthcare provider if you experience vaginal bleeding:
- More than a year after your last menstrual period.
- More than a year after starting hormone replacement therapy .
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Its normal to have irregular vaginal bleeding in the years leading up to menopause. But if you have bleeding more than a year after your last menstrual period, its time to see your healthcare provider. It could be the result of a simple infection or benign growths. But in rare cases, bleeding could be a sign of uterine cancer.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/26/2021.
Bleeding After Menopause: Its Not Normal
Too often I see women with advanced endometrial cancer who tell me they experienced postmenopausal bleeding for years but didnt think anything of it. This shows we need to do a better job educating our patients about what to expect after menopause.
Women need to know postmenopausal bleeding is never normal, and it may be an early symptom of endometrial cancer. Any bleeding, even spotting, should trigger a visit to your doctor as soon as possible. Dont wait to make an appointment until after the holidays or even next week. Do it today.
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What Is Menopause And Perimenopause
Most women think of menopause as the time of life when their menstrual periods end. This usually occurs during middle age, when women are also experiencing other hormonal and physical changes. For this reason, menopause is sometimes called the “change of life.”
A woman is said to be in menopause after she has gone for one full year without periods. While most women in the United States go through menopause around the age of 51, a small number will experience menopause as early as age 40 or as late as their late 50s. Rarely, menopause occurs after age 60. When menopause is diagnosed before age 40, it is considered to be abnormal or premature menopause.
In women, the ovaries produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone control a woman’s periods and other processes in her body. As a woman approaches menopause, her ovaries gradually makes less and less of these hormones.
As hormone levels fall, a woman’s pattern of menstrual bleeding usually becomes irregular. Many women experience light, skipped or late periods for several months to a year before their periods stop altogether. Some women may experience heavier-than-normal bleeding. Heavier-than-normal bleeding should be evaluated by a doctor to exclude problems in the genital tract.
It is important to realize that until menopause is complete, a woman still can become pregnant even when periods are light or missed.
Spotting On The Birth Control Pill: Should You Be Worried
Having breakthrough bleeding is quite common if youre taking birth control pills.
The reasons for spotting while on birth control vary from person to person and also depend on the type of pills you use.
If you have just started taking the pill, you may bleed between periods as your body adjusts to the changing hormone levels. Spotting between periods should stop after a few months and is not dangerous.
Skipping a pill or two can also lead to spotting. This is normal and nothing to worry about. Remember that its important to take oral contraceptives consistently and correctly in order for them to be effective at preventing pregnancy.
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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 menopausal women may notice that theyre not as easily aroused as before. Sometimes, women 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 actually 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.
What Are Hot Flashes And How Long Will I Have Them
Hot flashes are one of the most frequent symptoms of menopause. It is a brief sensation of heat. Hot flashes arent the same for everyone and theres no definitive reason that they happen. Aside from the heat, hot flashes can also come with:
- A red, flushed face.
- A chilled feeling after the heat.
Hot flashes not only feel different for each person they also can last for various amounts of time. Some women only have hot flashes for a short period of time during menopause. Others can have some kind of hot flash for the rest of their life. Typically, hot flashes are less severe as time goes on.
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How Does The Perimenopause Impact Your Periods
In your peak reproductive years, levels of your reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone rise and fall somewhat consistently throughout your menstrual cycle. When you enter the perimenopause, however, your ovaries stop ovulating regularly.Since ovulation is more infrequent than before, circulating levels of oestrogen and progesterone become unpredictable and erratic, which can result in unusual bleeding patterns.
Spotting During Menopause: Is It Normal
Menopause and perimenopause are a time in a womans life marked by endings and beginnings.;
While menopause technically starts 12 months after a womans last menstrual cycle, there are other factors to consider. As San Diego-based OB-GYN Dr. Diana Hoppe explains, menopause is when a woman goes from a reproductive stage to a non-reproductive one, with the average age around 51.;
Perimenopause, Dr. Hoppe notes, is the 2-8 years before menopause when a woman is still experiencing a menstrual cycle. During this time cycles can become more irregular, i.e. they can happen twice a month or they can skip altogether.;
She says both perimenopausal and menopausal women can experience shared symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, and . So, how exactly does spotting factor in when it comes to menopause, and when should there be cause for concern?;
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What Are Causes Of Spotting During Menopause
Spotting during menopause can be defined as episodes of light bleeding that occur in the ten to fifteen years leading up to true menopause or after complete cessation of menstrual periods many months. Generally, a few days of midcycle bleeding when periods are still ongoing is less concerning and may be due to a variety of factors, though frequent episodes of breakthrough bleeding should be reported to a gynecologist. Any type of bleeding after period cessation may indicate serious health concerns and should be discussed with a doctor.
One of the features of perimenopause is period irregularity, and fluctuations in hormone levels can lead to spotting. Women who have never noticed midcycle bleeding before may notice it occasionally or often, as hormone levels continue to decline. Sometimes the cause of spotting isnt really related to the perimenopausal state. Use of birth control pills may result in it, intrauterine devices without hormones are associated with breakthrough bleeding, and early pregnancy could create this condition. Other potential causal factors include injuries to the vagina, stress, early miscarriage, hypothyroidism, infections of the vagina, ovulation, polyps, fibroids, and some forms of cancer.
Why Does Menopause Happen
Natural menopause menopause that happens in your early 50s and is 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 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, the 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.
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 .
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. Doctors arent sure why this happens. If youre having memory problems during menopause, call your healthcare provider. There are several activities that 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.
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Heavy Periods And Flooding During Perimenopause
Alongside changes in regularity, you may notice your period is heavier than usual. Before the perimenopause, your ovaries secreted oestrogen to thicken the lining of the womb. Once the ovaries released the egg, they produced progesterone.The synergetic relationship between oestrogen and progesterone ensured your periods werent too heavy or light. However, as you enter the menopause, ovulation becomes more sporadic, even though your ovaries continue to secrete oestrogen. Since there isnt enough progesterone to stabilise the effects of oestrogen, you may experience heavier periods.Some perimenopausal women can experience extremely heavy periods with flooding, medically known as Perimenopausal Dysfunction Bleeding . In this, bleeding can be so heavy that sheets or seating become soaked with blood when lying or sitting down.1 Naturally, this can interfere with your everyday life.Though heavy bleeding is common during the menopause, you shouldnt ignore it. We recommend discussing this with your GP.
Classic Menopause Signs And Symptoms
The most obvious signal indicating you’re officially in menopause is the absence of a period for 12 consecutive months.
Once your period has officially stopped, the estrogen levels in your body will gradually decline; also, you will no longer produce another female hormone called progesterone. Such hormonal changes may intensify the hot flashes, mood swings, or other symptoms you may have been experiencing throughout perimenopause, or they may trigger symptoms you have yet to experience.
In addition to no longer having a period, the following are the most common signs of menopause for the great majority of women:
- Absence of a period for one full year
- Mood swings and irritability
- Vaginal/vulvar itching
- Generalized itching
Another physical sign of menopause is bone loss . And although Hoppe says that hot flashes usually subside, she adds that “some women experience hot flashes for the rest of their life.”
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When Spotting Happens During Perimenopause
Irregular bleeding and spotting are very common when it comes to perimenopause. This is because there are usually 1-3 years of irregular periods during this time, which can include spotting, explains Houston-based OB-GYN Dr. Susan Hardwick-Smith.;
During perimenopause, many women experience changes in their bleeding patterns, which can include spotting around ovulation, says Dr. Yael Swica, a womens health doctor from New York City. This spotting can occur leading up to their periods, or afterward.;
Dr. Swica says women can also experience heavier periods or changes in cycle length during this time as well.;
This is not normal, however, during menopause. When it comes to menopause, Dr. Hoppe puts it simply: a woman should not have any bleeding or spotting.;
Vaginal Or Endometrial Atrophy
As hormone levels decrease during menopause, the vaginal lining or the uterine cells may become thinner. This thinning is called vaginal atrophy or endometrial atrophy.
Vaginal atrophy often causes the vagina to become drier, less flexible, and more susceptible to inflammation or infection than before menopause. Vaginal atrophy may lead to:
- brown spotting
- bleeding after sex
The vagina may feel continuously uncomfortable, so a woman with these symptoms should speak to a doctor. A doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy, as well as the use of water-soluble lubricants during sexual activity.
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Can Menopause Affect Sleep
Some women 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.
Will I Start Menopause If I Have A Hysterectomy
During a hysterectomy, your uterus is removed. You wont have a period after this procedure. However, if you kept your ovaries removal of your ovaries is called an oophorectomy you may not have symptoms of menopause right away. If your ovaries are also removed, you will have symptoms of menopause immediately.
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Perimenopausal Bleeding And Spotting: What’s Normal
During the perimenopause, your oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, which has a knock-on effect on ovulation and your menstrual cycle. As hormone levels vary month-on-month, youll likely notice that your periods become irregular, heavier or lighter than usual, or that you sometimes miss a period.This is a normal part of the process of reaching the menopause, and while it will be different for every woman, there are certain things to be aware of when it comes to perimenopausal bleeding and spotting.