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:
Causes Of Menopause Back Pain
One of the most crucial causes of Menopause Back Pain is that of stress and tension. By default, menopause transition does make women feel more high-strung and anxious than before. In todays times, a busy lifestyle increases stress levels and this can lead to agonising pain.
Lack of exercise or activity is another reason for this and many other menopause symptoms. Again, a woman tends to feel more fatigued and exhausted after menopause and this slows down her activity and energy levels significantly. However, even mild exercise is important and many women end up missing out on this.
Finally, the imbalance in hormones is a very vital factor resulting in back pain during menopause. Secretions from the glands become more inconsistent during this period and this causes pain and stiffness in many parts of the body.
Menopause Back Pain: What Is It And How To Relieve The Pain
For those that have experienced it, most women would agree that the menopause transition is one of the more difficult phases in her life. This is the often uncomfortable juncture when a womans menstrual cycles come to a permanent halt and she is now unable to give birth to children. Apart from these dramatic changes in her physical being, she can also experience many menopause symptoms and associated side effects. Common among them are frequent mood swings and general anxiety. But there is also the frequently overlooked symptom of menopause back pain that women should know about.
Don’t Miss: Is Lightheadedness A Symptom Of Menopause
What Are The Symptoms Of Endometrial Cancer
Some women with endometrial cancer have no symptoms until the disease has spread to other organs. But endometrial cancer is usually diagnosed by the appearance of symptoms — like vaginal bleeding — as the cancer begins to grow. The most likely symptoms are:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, which occurs in nine out of 10 women with endometrial cancer. Before menopause, this means unusually heavy irregular menstrual periods or bleeding between periods. After a woman enters menopause, this means any vaginal bleeding, unless they are on hormone replacement therapy . Even though HRT may cause vaginal bleeding in postmenopausal women, the first episodes of any such bleeding should be checked by a doctor to make sure that it is not due to endometrial cancer. However, only 15% of women with postmenopausal bleeding will have endometrial cancer.
- Vaginal discharge that may range from pink and watery to thick, brown, and foul smelling.
When Does Menopause Occur
Although the average age of menopause is 51, menopause can actually happen any time from the 30s to the mid-50s or later. Women who smoke and are underweight tend to have an earlier menopause, while women who are overweight often have a later menopause. Generally, a woman tends to have menopause at about the same age as her mother did.
Menopause can also happen for reasons other than natural reasons. These include:
Premature menopause. Premature menopause may happen when there is ovarian failure before the age of 40. It may be associated with smoking, radiation exposure, chemotherapeutic drugs, or surgery that impairs the ovarian blood supply. Premature ovarian failure is also called primary ovarian insufficiency.
Surgical menopause. Surgical menopause may follow the removal of one or both ovaries, or radiation of the pelvis, including the ovaries, in premenopausal women. This results in an abrupt menopause. These women often have more severe menopausal symptoms than if they were to have menopause naturally.
Also Check: Can Having Tubes Tied Cause Early Menopause
Pelvic Pain During Menopause
Change is the inevitable truth that nature teaches us! As we age, bodily changes may be very difficult to accept for some, especially if you are not well informed with how your body would change, creating possible pain during menopause. Our bodies go through cycles of change, and oftentimes, change can be both painful and scary. Staying informed and educated about these changes is empowering.
Puberty is openly discussed in school and we seem to be better educated with puberty, however, it is surprising to discover in the clinic, how misinformed women actually are when it comes down to menopause, which in turn leaves women suffering from pelvic pain during menopause.
Very often we start getting intrigued by the word menopause only when our inner clock starts calling its dues. We learn that our fertility starts to slow down, our periods get irregular and very often around the age of 50, the menstrual cycle slows down to its ultimate stop.
However, menopause can occur earlier for a variety of reasons, some of them could be hormonal, genetic predisposition, surgical, in the form of a hysterectomy and many more. It is important to know about menopause and what to expect so that we can seek medical advice and avail Pelvic PT services at the earliest if need be.
Through menopause, female bodies experience many changes, these changes can be associated with a variety of symptoms, often painful and sometimes puzzling.
Back Pain Conditions That Mainly Affect Women
Several conditions are more common in women. Back pain-related problems are typically seen in the post-menopausal age . Read on to learn more about the common causes of back pain in women and the reasons why they occur.
Pain originating from spasms in your piriformis muscle, a large muscle located deep in the buttock, is called piriformis syndrome.2 Women are affected more due to hormone and pregnancy-related changes in the pelvis.
Piriformis syndrome often causes irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, mimicking sciatica pain. Piriformis syndrome may cause3:
- Chronic pain in the buttock and hip area that is worsened by hip movements
- Pain when you get out of bed
- Inability to sit for a long time
- Radiating pain in the back of your thigh and leg
The symptoms typically get better when you lie on your back.
Pain from your sacroiliac joint that connects the bottom of your spine to your pelvis is called sacroiliac joint dysfunction or sacroiliitis. SI joint problems are among the more common causes of lower back pain.
Women typically have a smaller SI joint surface area compared to men, resulting in a higher concentration of stresses across the joint. The sacrum is also wider, more uneven, less curved, and tilted more backward in women, which may cause problems in the SI joint.4
Degenerative spondylolisthesis can cause9:
Read Also: Best Antidepressant For Menopause
Breast Pain In Menopause
The breast pain menopause sometimes brings with it happens when hormonal fluctuations cause fluid to build up in the breasts, making them swollen, tender and painful.
Its the same thing women with PMS experience in the lead up to their period, but it can become more marked in peri-menopause because your hormonal shifts become more dramatic. Your breasts may also change in size or shape around this time.
You shouldnt experience breast pain after youve stopped having periods completely, but it sometimes continues in women who take HRT.
Back Pain In Women In The Perimenopausal Period
PubMed databases were investigated. After the search was narrowed to menopausal status, back pain, 35 studies were found.
The selected studies were analyzed to verify whether they described the perimenopausal period of life, correlated back pain and menopausal status, divided the study group into sub-groups depending on the menopausal status .
Twenty-eight papers were excluded due to lack of information about back pain and menopausal status. Seven studies, which suited our area of research best, were thoroughly analyzed.
Most studies divided women into five groups:
Premenopausal women who had had a regular period in the past three months.
Early perimenopausal women who had an irregular period in the past three months.
Late perimenopausal women who had menstruated irregularly in the last 12 months but not in the last 3 months.
Postmenopausal women who had not menstruated in the last 12 months.
A separate group of women who have hormone replacement therapy.
All analyzed studies showed that women who are experiencing or experienced menopause suffered from increased joint and spine pain.
A long-term study by Szoeke et al. established that in the period of 8 years, the number of women suffering from back pain grew from 44% to 59%. Most women who took part in this study went from the premenopausal to postmenopausal stage during the study. The authors of the study also noticed a direct association between increased BMI and increased spine pain.
Read Also: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Perimenopause
Treating Cramps After Menopause
Treatment for postmenopausal cramps will vary depending on the underlying cause. Some possible treatment options may include:
Fibroids: If you do have pain caused by fibroids, painkillers will usually be recommended first.
There are medications available to help shrink fibroids. If these prove ineffective, surgery, such as a myomectomy or hysterectomy, may be recommended.
Endometriosis: There’s no cure for endometriosis and it can be difficult to treat. Treatment aims to ease symptoms so the condition does not interfere with your daily life.
- Medication: Pain medication may be prescribed to ease discomfort.
- Surgery: Surgery is usually reserved for severe symptoms when hormones are not providing relief. During the operation, the surgeon can locate the sites of your endometriosis and may remove the endometrial patches.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Treatment for IBS can include changes to diet and lifestyle, mind/body therapies , and medications. Often, a combination of treatments will provide the most relief. There is still much that is not understood about IBS, so it may take some experimentation with different therapies to achieve positive results.
One: Focus On The Basics First
Avoid hurting your back by first mastering the basics. A really great way to do this is to see a physical therapist who can help you identify weaknesses and design a plan to get stronger, wisely.
Most people benefit from a three-dimensional program, Meagan tells us: stabilization to address the central core flexibility, to address restrictions in your range of motion that you might be compensating for and cardio, to build up your aerobic capacity. A good PT or coach can help you design a plan that covers all three.
According to Meagan, ramping up slowly is key, especially for those who already experience back pain. Id start with breathing, breathing Kegels, getting the pelvic floor and breath working together. You need to get into functional positions right away. Squats, lunges, getting rotation in there, developing movement strategies with appropriate stability and activation of core musculature to allow you to increase difficulty.
If you dont have access to a PT, and youre taking a fitness class, Brianna advises you opt for classes with as few students as possible. If you can, take an individual lesson or attend a class with no more than 3 students per instructor, she says, so you get more personal attention. Learn to do the moves safely before moving on to harder exercises or bigger classes.
Dont have a PT of your own? We have two, but well share. Heres what a PT might tell you NOT to do.
Don’t Miss: Early Menopause After Tubal Ligation
Thinning Or Thickening Of Tissues
Another common reason for spotting is related to the thickness of the vaginal tissues. In this case, it may be either thinning or thickening of the tissues that are also called endometrial atrophy and endometrial hyperplasia respectively. The thinning develops because the body lacks estrogen. The thickening develops because of too high levels of estrogen and too low levels of progesterone.
Back Pain During Perimenopause And Menopause
Women in perimenopause and menopause tend to experience more musculoskeletal pain, in general. Pain in the back, neck, knees, hands, and other joints all tend to increase for women as they age.
In fact, some studies reported over half of the women in this age range experienced back pain. More specifically, lower back pain was noted for most.
You May Like: Menopause And Dizzy Spells
What Can I Do About Hot Flashes
Hot flashes occur from a decrease in estrogen levels. In response to this, your glands release higher amounts of other hormones that affect the brain’s thermostat, causing your body temperature to fluctuate. Hormone therapy has been shown to relieve some of the discomfort of hot flashes for many women. However, the decision to start using these hormones should be made only after you and your healthcare provider have evaluated your risk versus benefit ratio.
To learn more about women’s health, and specifically hormone therapy, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health launched the Women’s Health Initiative in 1991. The hormone trial had 2 studies: the estrogen-plus-progestin study of women with a uterus and the estrogen-alone study of women without a uterus. Both studies ended early when the research showed that hormone therapy did not help prevent heart disease and it increased risk for some medical problems. Follow-up studies found an increased risk of heart disease in women who took estrogen-plus-progestin therapy, especially those who started hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause.
The WHI recommends that women follow the FDA advice on hormone therapy. It states that hormone therapy should not be taken to prevent heart disease.
Practical suggestions for coping with hot flashes include:
Is It Something More Serious
Back pain can have more serious causes that require medical intervention: visceral pain could be from a kidney infection. Pain thats up high, between the shoulder blades , could indicate a compression fracture. So if you feel pain there especially if you have osteoporosis, osteopenia, or a family history of either you need to get to the doc for some x-rays. Here are some steps to prevent osteoperosis.
Sudden back pain can also, rarely, be an indication of certain kinds of cancer, so if the pain is sudden or worsens at night, or you have a personal or family history of cancer, take it seriously and make an appointment.
Don’t Miss: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Evaluation Of Pelvic Pain
When a woman has new, sudden, very severe pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis, doctors must quickly decide whether emergency surgery is required. Disorders that usually require emergency surgery include
The following tests are routinely done:
A urine pregnancy test if women are of childbearing age
Urinalysis is a simple, fast urine test that can rule out many common causes of pelvic disorders such as a bladder infection or most kidney stones.
The same urine sample can be used for a pregnancy test. If a very early pregnancy is possible and the urine test is negative, a blood test for pregnancy is done. The blood test is more accurate than the urine test when a pregnancy is less than 5 weeks.
If a urine pregnancy test indicates that the woman is pregnant, ultrasonography is done to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. For ultrasonography, doctors use a handheld ultrasound device that is placed on the abdomen or inside the vagina.. Ultrasonography of the pelvis is done for many reasons. It is whenever doctors think a gynecologic disorder may be the cause of the symptoms and the symptoms have begun suddenly, recur, or are severe.
Tests depend on which disorders are suspected. Tests may include
Two: Have Realistic Goals
When youre getting ready to launch your new Im going to get fit, and this time, I mean it program , have actionable, reasonable goals in mind.
What are you hoping to achieve, asks Bri. Do you want to be able to walk longer, are you trying to build strength, are you focusing on cardio or core? Theres no one-size-fits-all exercise program, she warns, because, Were all good at hiding our dysfunctions, and we need to tease them out. A gradual, progressive program will address those areas of weakness and allow you to build endurance and stability as you work towards your goals.
But but but, you say, I feel fine! Nothing hurts!
That may be true, Meagan says, but chances are it just means you arent experiencing symptoms yet. Few of us are perfect, she says, and most of us are just getting away with bad habits that will likely catch up to us later. Posture, breathing, proper warm ups and cool downs because we ignore these, its just a matter of time before something is going to hurt or break or get inflamed. The answer is to interrupt the problem now before it becomes apparent.
Apparent, by the way, is PT-speak for painful.
Don’t Miss: Dizziness During Menopause
The 34 Symptoms Of Menopause
The average age of menopause is 51. Menopause refers to a period in a womans life when she stops having a menstrual period. Many people think that a woman stops having her period overnight when in reality, menopause is a process that can last for years.
The period leading up to menopause is known as perimenopause. Most women begin perimenopause in their 40s. Some women may experience so few symptoms that they do not realize they have entered perimenopause . However, for others, symptoms can be severe and life-altering.
There are a total of 34 symptoms that can signify the arrival of menopause, which range from mild to disabling in nature.