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What Age Can You Start Menopause

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Perimenopause Age Range | When Does Menopause Start?

The migraines, the insomnia, the anxiety, the aching joints, the confidence dips, the brain fog, the tiredness, the flushes, the rage, the irritation, the tears, the quizzes where you can’t remember the answer but know you once knew it and the early morning waking that turns into a dip in the freezing waters of Penarth – however bad the menopause gets I still haven’t succumbed to wild swimming.

Wales Online

What Are The Complications Of Menopause

Menopause occurs alongside a range of lifestyle and metabolic changes in women. These include:

  • Heart disease Menopause has a significant impact on a womans risk of getting heart disease.
  • Osteoporosis during menopause, your body starts to break down bone tissue more quickly than it replaces it.
  • Sex drive Women often find their sexual feelings and desires change around the time of menopause.

These changes are common, and it may help to discuss them with your partner, your doctor or a trusted friend.

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.

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What Is The Difference Between Early And Premature Menopause

Early or premature menopause happens when ovaries stop making hormones and periods stop at a younger age than usual . This can happen naturally or for a medical reason, such as when both ovaries are removed in a hysterectomy.

Early and premature menopause can have the same causes. The only difference is the age at which it happens. Menopause that happens before age 45 is called early menopause. Menopause that happens before age 40 is called premature menopause.

Women who have gone through early or premature menopause cannot get pregnant.

Are My Perimenopausal Symptoms Normal Or Something To Be Concerned About

Menopause: Symptoms, causes, and treatments

Irregular periods are common and normal during perimenopause. But other conditions can cause changes in menstrual bleeding. If any of the following situations apply to you, see a doctor to rule out other causes:

  • Your periods are very heavy, or they have blood clots.
  • Your periods last several days longer than usual.
  • You spot between periods.
  • You have spotting after sex.
  • Your periods happen closer together.

Causes of abnormal bleeding include hormone problems, birth control pills, pregnancy, fibroids, blood clotting problems or, rarely, cancer.

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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Perimenopause Complications

Irregular periods are the most common symptom of perimenopause. But its important to know when to talk to your healthcare provider about your periods. Sometimes, irregular bleeding can point to an underlying problem.

You can lower your risk of complications by seeking treatment when necessary. Talk to your healthcare provider if you:

  • Bleed for more than seven days in a row.
  • Bleed between periods.
  • Change pads or tampons every one to two hours.
  • Have periods more frequently than every 21 days.

Do You Need To Take Calcium Supplements For Menopause

Menopause cannot be prevented however, steps can be taken to help reduce the risk factors for other problems associated with menopause. It is recommended that postmenopausal women consume 1,200 to 1,500 mg of elemental calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D daily.

The least expensive way to obtain calcium is through diet. Diet can easily provide 1,000-1,500 mg of calcium daily. The following foods contain calcium:

  • One cup of milk — 300 mg
  • One cup of calcium-fortified orange juice — 300 mg
  • One cup of yogurt — about 400 mg on average
  • One ounce of cheddar cheese — about 200 mg
  • Three ounces of salmon — 205 mg

Dietary calcium supplements are a good option for women who cannot consume adequate calcium through diet. Calcium carbonate is the least expensive, although some women complain of bloating. Calcium citrate may be better absorbed by women who take acid-blocking medications, such as ranitidine or cimetidine .

Calcium products made from bone meal, dolomite, or unrefined oyster shells may contain lead and should be avoided. Products with “USP” on the label meet the voluntary quality standards set by the United States Pharmacopeia and are more likely not to contain harmful contaminants.

Women should carefully read the label of calcium supplements to check the exact number of milligrams of elemental calcium in each supplement. The intestinal tract generally does not absorb more than 500 mg of elemental calcium at a time, so calcium intake should be spread out during the day.

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Oral Contraceptives And Vaginal Treatments

Oral contraceptive pills

Oral contraceptive pills are another form of hormone therapy often prescribed for women in perimenopause to treat irregular vaginal bleeding. Women in the menopausal transition tend to have considerable breakthrough bleeding when given estrogen therapy. Therefore, oral contraceptives are often given to women in the menopause transition to regulate menstrual periods, relieve hot flashes, as well as to provide contraception. They are not recommended for women who have already reached menopause, because the dose of estrogen is higher than that needed to control hot flashes and other symptoms. The contraindications for oral contraceptives in women going through the menopause transition are the same as those for premenopausal women.

Local hormone and non-hormone treatments

There are also local hormonal treatments for the symptoms of vaginal estrogen deficiency. Local treatments include the vaginal estrogen ring , vaginal estrogen cream, or vaginal estrogen tablets. Local and oral estrogen treatments are sometimes combined for this purpose.

Vaginal moisturizing agents such as creams or lotions as well as the use of lubricants during intercourse are non-hormonal options for managing the discomfort of vaginal dryness.

Are There Any Tests For Menopause

Predicting Your Menopause Age

The most accurate way to tell if it’s happening to you is to watch your menstrual cycles for 12 months in a row. It helps to keep track of your periods and chart them as they become irregular. Menopause has happened when you have not had any period for an entire 12 months.

Your doctor can check your blood for follicle stimulating hormone . The levels will jump as your ovaries begin to shut down. As your estrogen levels fall, youâll notice hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and less lubrication during sex.

The tissue in and around your vagina will thin as estrogen drops, too. The only way to check for this is through a Pap-like smear, but itâs rarely done. As this happens, you might have urinary incontinence, painful sex, a low sex drive, and vaginal itching.

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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:

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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How Long Does The Menopause Last

Symptoms of the menopause can start months or even years before periods stop completely. They usually continue for around 4 years after your last period, though some womens symptoms continue for much longer.

The menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55, but its very difficult to predict when it will take place in an individual.

Should I Continue Using Birth Control During The Transition To Menopause

CBT may be effective in managing menopause symptoms

Yes. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, the transition to menopause, even if you miss your period for a month or a few months. During perimenopause you may still ovulate, or release an egg, on some months.

But it is impossible to know for sure when you will ovulate. If you dont want to get pregnant, you should continue to use birth control until one full year after your last period. Talk to your doctor about your birth control needs. Learn more about different .

You cant get pregnant after menopause, but anyone who has sex can get . If you are not in a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner have sex with each other and no one else, protect yourself by using a male condom or correctly every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. After menopause you may be more likely to get an STI from sex without a condom. Vaginal dryness or irritation is more common after menopause and can cause small cuts or tears during sex, exposing you to STIs.

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Emotional Impact Of Early Or Premature Menopause

Premature menopause can be emotionally devastating. Some of the common issues women may face include:

  • grief at the prospect of not having children
  • fear of ‘growing old before their time’
  • concern that their partner wont find them sexually attractive anymore
  • self-esteem problems.

Psychological counselling and support groups may help women come to terms with their experience of early or premature menopause.

What Are The Stages

The process happens slowly over three stages:

Perimenopause. Your cycles will become irregular, but they havenât stopped. Most women hit this stage around age 47. Even though you might notice symptoms like hot flashes, you can still get pregnant.

Menopause. This is when youâll have your final menstrual period. You wonât know for sure itâs happened until youâve gone a year without one. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are common in this stage.

Postmenopause. This begins when you hit the year mark from your final period. Once that happens, youâll be referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that after more than 1 year of no menstrual periods due to menopause, vaginal bleeding isn’t normal, so tell your doctor if you have any ASAP.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause

During perimenopause, most women have menopause-like symptoms. You might have:

The decrease in estrogen also can lead to bone thinning or changing cholesterol levels. During perimenopause, your risk for osteopenia and heart disease increases. Continue to have regular checkups with your healthcare provider to keep an eye on your health. Your provider may recommend lifestyle changes or treatment options to lower your health risks.

How Long Will Menopausal Transition Symptoms Last

The Average Age Of Menopause In The U.S.

Menopause is technically one full year without bleeding, and perimenopause is the stage before the final menstrual period, also known as the menopausal transition. Puberty and perimenopause are similar in that they both involve hormonal changes, and the transitions can take place over several years. Some medical organizations, such as the American Osteopathic Association, refer to perimenopause as reverse puberty in women.

According to NAMS, this phase can last four to eight years, and it comes with symptoms caused by hormone fluctuations, such as mood swings, poor sleep, and hot flashes.

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The age at which a woman begins perimenopause can help predict how long the transition to menopause will last, according to research published in the journal Menopause in February 2017. The authors found that perimenopause lasted longer in women who started the transition at a younger age, and the women had more symptoms, such as hot flashes.

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What Are The Complications And Effects Of Menopause On Chronic Medical Conditions

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the quantity and quality of bone that causes an increased risk of fracture. The density of the bone normally begins to decrease in women during the fourth decade of life. However, that normal decline in bone density is accelerated during the menopausal transition. Consequently, both age and the hormonal changes due to the menopause transition act together to cause osteoporosis. Medications to treat osteoporosis are currently available and pose less risk than hormone therapy. Therefore, hormone therapy is not recommended for prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.

Cardiovascular disease

Prior to menopause, women have a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke when compared with men. Around the time of menopause, however, a women’s risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S.

Coronary heart disease rates in postmenopausal women are two to three times higher than in women of the same age who have not reached menopause. This increased risk for cardiovascular disease may be related to declining estrogen levels, but in light of other factors, medical professionals do not advise postmenopausal women to take hormone therapy simply as a preventive measure to decrease their risk of heart attack or stroke.

Menopause Symptoms At Age 40

For the vast majority of women, menopause symptoms dont start this early. If menopause happens before age 40, its called premature menopause. If it happens between age 40 and age 45, its known as early menopause. Fewer than 10 percent of women experience premature or early menopause.

But if youre in your early 40s and are regularly experiencing symptoms such as changes to your periods timing or flow, hot flashes, mood changes or sleep problems, dont ignore them. Talk with a womens health specialist.

A specialist like an OB-GYN or certified nurse-midwife can work with you to determine whether your symptoms are related to menopause, or another reason such as hormonal disorders or other health conditions.

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How Does Perimenopause Affect My Body

During perimenopause, estrogen levels decrease. Estrogen is a key female hormone. It plays a role in maintaining many body systems, including the female reproductive system. Estrogen levels may continue to be irregular throughout perimenopause.

When you reach menopause, your body makes so little estrogen that your ovaries no longer release eggs. At this point, you stop having your period.

How Does Menopause Affect Iron Levels In My Blood

Menopause discharge: Is it normal, and what is healthy?

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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Vaginal Dryness And Discomfort

Vaginal dryness, itching, and discomfort may start during perimenopause and continue into menopause. A person with any of these symptoms may experience chafing and discomfort during vaginal sex. Also, if the skin breaks, this can increase the risk of infection.

Atrophic vaginitis, which involves thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal wall, can sometimes occur during menopause.

Various moisturizers, lubricants, and medications can relieve vaginal dryness and associated issues.

Learn more about atrophic vaginitis here.

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.

Antidepressants

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 .

Gabapentin

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:

  • Drowsiness

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