Should I Be Worried About Late
Posted4 years agobyAndreas Obermair
At what age do you expect menopause to occur? How does it affect your health and cancer risk?
Menopause occurs when a womans ovaries stop releasing hormones. Naturally, a womans production of estrogen and progesterone hormones decrease in her late forties, which may cause menstrual periods eventually stopping. The age where most women become menopausal is between 50 and 54 years. In this context menopause is defined as not having a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. As the hormone levels decrease, this may come with symptoms such as hot flushes, headaches, insomnia, mood swings and depression. Some women dont have symptoms at all. Others may have symptoms at varying severity for 5 to 10 years.
Keeping An Active Sex Life
Menopause can reduce a persons sex drive and lead to vaginal dryness, but it also removes the need for birth control. For some, this can make sex more enjoyable.
Having sex often can increase vaginal blood flow and help keep the tissues healthy.
Some tips for maintaining sexual health and activity during menopause include:
- staying physically active
- avoiding tobacco products, recreational drugs, and alcohol
- taking the time to become aroused, which will improve lubrication
- doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
- not using any strong soaps around the vagina, as these can worsen irritation
Also, menopause symptoms lead some people to find satisfying forms of sex that do not involve the vagina as much or at all.
It is worth remembering that, while a woman cannot become pregnant once menopause starts, it is still important to use barrier protection during penetrative sex to protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Often, sexual partners will be getting older and may be experiencing menopause at the same time. They, too, may be feeling a drop in sex drive. Opening up about any concerns can help both partners feel better and explore new forms of intimacy.
Menopause is a stage in life, not an illness. Most women experience natural menopause during midlife. However, surgery and other factors can cause menopause to start earlier.
How Does Menopause Affect Iron Levels In My Blood
If you are still having periods as you go through menopause, you may continue to be at risk of a low iron level. This is especially true if your bleeding is heavy or you spot between periods. This can lead to anemia. Talk with your doctor about the amount of iron thats right for you. Good sources of iron include spinach, beans, and meat. Your doctor may also suggest that you take an iron supplement.
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Is There A Difference Between Premature Ovarian Failure Andmenopause
Menopause usually occurs on average around age 51. Premature ovarian failure can occur at any age before 40, usually on average around age 27. When a woman experiences menopause, she no longer has follicles to produce into eggs and therefore no longer gets her menstrual period.
A woman with premature ovarian failure, or premature menopause, may still have follicles, but there may be a depletion or dysfunction of these. Therefore, she can still get her period however, most of the time her period is irregular. Irregular periods are one of the signs for POF. Keep in mind that there may be other explanations for an irregular period. Always discuss any irregularity in your menstrual cycle with your healthcare provider.
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:
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What Is Perimenopause Or The Transition To Menopause
Perimenopause , or the menopausal transition, is the time leading up to your last period. Perimenopause means around menopause.
Perimenopause is a long transition to menopause, or the time when your periods stop permanently and you can no longer get pregnant. As your body transitions to menopause, your hormone levels may change randomly, causing menopause symptoms unexpectedly. During this transition, your ovaries make different amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone than usual.
Irregular periods happen during this time because you may not ovulate every month. Your periods may be longer or shorter than usual. You might skip a few months or have unusually long or short menstrual cycles. Your period may be heavier or lighter than before. Many women also have hot flashes and other menopause symptoms during this transition.
Treatments To Relieve Signs And Symptoms
There is no treatment that can reverse or prevent premature menopause. However, women who have reached menopause do have treatment options that can help control unpleasant symptoms.
Types of treatments for symptom relief include:
- Hormone therapy: hormone therapy is available in different forms including pills, patches, transdermal sprays, or gels or creams. Localized hormone treatments are also available for intravaginal use. HT/ET is the most effective way to control symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Because HT/ET has been associated with certain health risks , experts recommend using the lowest effective dose of hormone therapy for the shortest period of time necessary for symptom control.
- Oral contraceptive pills are a form of HT that is sometimes used to help relieve menopausal symptoms.
- Antidepressant medications: the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and related medications have been shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes in up to 60% of women.
- Non-hormonal vaginal gels, creams, and lubricants can help prevent the symptoms of vaginal dryness.
- Assisted reproductive technologies: in selected cases, pregnancy may be achieved using donor eggs in women with premature menopause.
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Caring For Your Skin During Menopause Means Putting Hydration First
Because dry skin is one of the most common complaints at this time, youll want to switch to more moisturizing products. That means using a creamy cleanser , says Dr. Fine.
Rather than applying a basic moisturizer before bed, look for a night cream. These are more occlusive than lightweight lotions, a term that simply means they effectively lock water into skin. When shopping for a night cream, one ingredient that traps moisture is ceramides, says Dr. Khetarpal you can find them in CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream . Hyaluronic acid is another hydrator and is naturally found in your skin. This ingredient pulls water in from the environment to hydrate skin, making it temporarily plump up like a grape, she says. One option: Clarins Multi-Active Nuit .
Posted4 years agobyAndreas Obermair
At what age do you expect menopause to occur? How does it affect your health and cancer risk?
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 for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.
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What Are The Effects Of Early Or Premature Menopause
Women who go through menopause early may have or similar to those of regular menopause.
But some women with early or premature menopause may also have:
- Higher risk of serious health problems, such as and , since women will live longer without the health benefits of higher estrogen levels. Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps to lower your risk for these health problems.
- More severe menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor or nurse about to help with symptoms if they affect your daily life.
- Sadness or over the early loss of fertility or the change in their bodies. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression, including less energy or a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed that lasts longer than a few weeks. Your doctor or nurse can recommend specialists who can help you deal with your feelings. Your doctor or nurse can also discuss options, such as adoption or donor egg programs, if you want to have children.
Other Changes During Menopause
The loss of estrogen during menopause can cause changes in the vaginal and vulvar skin. These changes can result in vaginal dryness, burning and discomfort, or painful intercourse. Most women need a lubricant.
There are many different formulations, but silicone-based lubricants are best. Be aware that most over-the-counter lubricants contain preservatives, which can cause irritation. A preservative-free silicone lubricant or natural product, such as extra virgin olive oil or organic unrefined coconut oil, can also work.
Many women also experience painful spasms of the interior pelvic muscles, called vaginismus. Specialized physical therapy is a very effective treatment. Our center has a group of female physical therapists who are specially trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
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Why Your Periods Might Suddenly Come Back
Many women going through the menopause find that they can go months or even years without a period, only to wake up one day and discover that theyve returned! Today Im exploring why hormones and even diet can cause your periods to return, and when you should go and see your doctor.
General Recommendations For Ht
Current guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of severe hot flashes that do not respond to non-hormonal therapies. General recommendations include:
- HT may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
- HT should not be used in women who have started menopause many years ago.
- Women should not take HT if they have risks for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
- Currently, there is no consensus on how long HT should be used or at what age it should be discontinued. Treatment should be individualized for a woman’s specific health profile.
- HT should be used only for menopause symptom management, not for chronic disease prevention.
Before starting HT, your doctor should give you a comprehensive physical exam and take your medical history to evaluate your risks for:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
While taking HT, you should have regular mammograms and pelvic exams and Pap smears. Current guidelines recommend that if HT is needed, it should be initiated around the time of menopause. Studies indicate that the risk of serious side effects is lower for women who use HT while in their 50s. Women who start HT past the age of 60 appear to have a higher risk for side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or breast cancer. HT should be used with care in this age group.
Women who should not take hormone therapy include those with the following conditions:
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do my symptoms indicate that I might be going through menopause?
- My menstrual cycle is irregular. Could it be caused by something other than menopause?
- Im uncomfortable and/or dont feel well. Is there a way to safely treat my symptoms?
- Ive heard that soy products or herbal supplements may help. Are these effective? Are they good options for me?
- Am I a candidate for hormone replacement therapy?
- What are the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy?
- Am I at risk for heart disease or osteoporosis?
- Do I need any tests, such as bone density screening?
- Now that Im going through menopause, what changes, if any, should I make to my diet and exercise?
Too Young For Hot Flashes
When Menopause-Like Symptoms Come Too Soon
Hot flashes, night sweats, loss of regular menstrual periods and sleep problems. These familiar symptoms of menopause appear in most women around age 50. But if they arise before age 40which happens for about 1 in 100 womenits a sign that somethings wrong. Early symptoms like these could be a sign of a little-understood condition called primary ovarian insufficiency .
Most women with POI are infertileUnable to get pregnant.. Theyre also at risk for bone fractures and heart disease. And many arent aware they have POI.
Symptoms of POI can be missed because young women may not realize theyre having symptoms similar to menopause. They may not think hot flashes are worth mentioning to a doctor, says Dr. Lawrence M. Nelson, a researcher and physician at NIH. Some teens and young women think of the menstrual cycle as a nuisance, and they dont mind missing periods. They dont take it seriously, and thats a mistake. Missing or irregular periods are a major sign of POI.
POI was previously known as premature menopause or premature ovarian failure. But research has since shown that ovarian function is unpredictable in these women, sometimes turning on and off, which is why many physicians now prefer the term primary ovarian insufficiency.
Nelson is now looking for 18- to 42-year-old women with POI to enroll in clinical studies at NIH. For more information, visit poi.nichd.nih.gov.
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Ethnic Variation In Menopause Age
In agreement with wide variation in menopause age across women worldwide, heterogeneity in menopausal age among ethnicities was found only in Hispanics in our study. Hispanic women experienced menopause 2 years earlier than women of other ethnicities, which mimics the results found for perimenopause age. Again, this result may due to small sample size, but several studies have reported a 2 year difference in menopausal age between Hispanic and Caucasian women . Age of menopause in Hispanic populations has been reported at 48.5years for 15 countries across Latin America and 47.9years in Mexican women, whereas Caucasian populations experience menopause at 50years . Despite the higher menopausal age recorded in this study , which was attributed to differences in methodology, our findings support previous literature. Furthermore, we suggest this difference is unlikely to be the result of lifestyle factors such as smoking prevalence, which accelerates menopause by 12years . Previous analysis of SWAN participants have shown that smoking frequency was lower among Hispanics than Caucasians and African Americans, which was consistent with other studies . Hence, the earlier onset in Hispanic women may be due to a different biological clock for the timing of menopause onset compared to other ethnicities.
Induced Premature Menopause Or Early Menopause
Induced menopause may result from premenopausal bilateral oophorectomy or from cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation. Premature menopause from these causes has increased over time because of the improved success in the treatment of cancer in children, adolescents, and reproductive-age women. Similarly, the practice of prophylactic bilateral oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy has increased over time . However, evidence for the long-term risks and adverse health outcomes following induced menopause is starting to accumulate.
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A Shifting Mate Choice
The main results regarding variation in age of menopause, from this study as well as others, can be summarized as follows. Firstly, all human populations, regardless of socioeconomic status, show a roughly 15-year window of menopause , which means that there is plenty of variation within populations. Secondly, many lifestyle factors are known to affect the age of menopause, but with the exception of premature menopause, the menopause window persists in all populations. Thirdly, there are no significant ethnic differences in the onset age of perimenopause, presumably because there has not been sufficient time since the origin of menopause to produce such differences. Furthermore, as we show below, the absence of variation among populations may indicate the role of similar mate choice mechanisms operating in all human populations. Fourth, there are significant changes in the levels of associated hormones within as well as between populations. Finally, different populations show ethnicity/race-specific menopause symptoms for example, vasomotor symptoms were more common in Afro-American and Hispanic women than in other ethnicities . This suggests a role of both biological and cultural factors. We take these results to mean that menopause is a relatively recent trait, and most variation in the trait is present within populations with relatively little variation between populations. This is not surprising in view of what is known about human genetic variation in general .
What Age Is Considered Early For Menopause
If you reach menopause before age 40, that is considered premature menopause, says Faubion. This occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of women, she says.
Experiencing menopause at 40 to 45 years of age is called early menopause, and that occurs in about 5 to 7 percent of the population, so its safe to say that at least 7 percent of women are going to go through menopause early or prematurely, says Faubion. Menopause at age 46 or older is considered normal, she says.
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