How Can Early Menopause Be Prevented
Though some cases of premature menopause can’t be prevented, here are some measures you can take if you suspect you are at risk:
- Use hormone-free, organic skincare products
- Eat organic, healthy food
- Avoid processed foods
We hope you found this information useful! Are you at risk or have you experienced early menopause? Share your story with us in the comments below.
Does The Age My Mother Reached Menopause Mean Anything
Most likely your moms age at menopause will provide a clue. When we look at the things that are the greatest determinants for when someone is going to go through menopause, genetics seems to be one of the most important things, says Streicher.
A womans race or ethnicity can influence when she goes through menopause, too, she says. Findings from the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation indicate that women of color tend to begin perimenopause and menopause at earlier ages than white women.
The question I always ask women when they ask when theyre going to go through menopause is, When did your mom go through menopause? because that is very often predictive, says Streicher.
Theres a lot of truth in that. You may follow what happened with your mother if she went through menopause early or late, you may, too, she says.
Certain medical conditions such as autoimmune problems, issues, and can make a woman go through menopause earlier, adds Streicher.
What Is Menopause Again
Menopause is a normal part of aging, and its actually a point in time 12 months after a womans last period, according to the National Institute on Aging . During the years leading up to that point, a woman may have changes in her monthly cycle, hot flashes, and other symptoms. This is called the menopausal transition or perimenopause.
During perimenopause, the number of eggs in a womans ovaries start to dwindle down to a precious few, says Jonathan Schaffir, M.D., an ob/gyn from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Since ovulation, or the release of the egg, triggers periods, once the eggs dwindle, menstruation spaces out and then stops completely.
During perimenopause, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone vary, the NIA explains. A womans bones become less dense, and her body starts using energy differently. Fat cells also change and women may find that they gain weight more easily than they did before.
While menopause typically happens naturally as a woman ages, it can also happen if a woman has her ovaries surgically removed, says Arianna Sholes-Douglas, M.D., author of The Menopause Myth: What Your Mother, Doctor, And Friends Havent Told You About Life After 35, and the founder of Tula Wellness Center in Tucson, Ariz. Symptoms can also occur even if a woman has her uterus removed but leaves her ovaries intact, she adds.
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How Sex Changes After Menopause
With no need to worry about getting your period, becoming pregnant or being walked in on by your kids, your postmenopausal sex life should be stellar, right? It can be good, but dont expect it to be the same type of sex you were having in your 20s, says Chris Kraft, Ph.D., director of clinical services at the Sex and Gender Clinic in the department of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
While you may have greater freedom at home, this is also a stage of life with a lot of changes that can affect your intimacy, he says. Youre redefining your roles and your relationship as the kids go off to college and your careers wind down. And youre also physically changing.
Black And Latina Women Enter Menopause Earlier And Experience More Severe Symptoms
With Nanette Santoro MD
Stress and socioeconomic status likely play a role in the difference in duration and onset.
One thing we know for certain about the phases of menopause is that the experience varies widely from individual to individual. A woman may have a month of hot flashes and then a year later realize, casually, that she hasnt had a period in a full 12 months. Another woman may struggle through nearly a decade of depression and sleeplessness before she hits the milestone, only for her hot flashes to overstay their welcome by another seven years or so.There are many factors that go into why this is so. Everything from whether you smoke to how much you exercise to your family history to the amount of stress in your daily life can all play a role in how menopause happens for you. But one surprising factor appears to be race and ethnicity. Studies suggest that Black and Latina women may begin perimenopause earlier, experience more intense effects, and have a longer transition period.
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Womens 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 Ã¢ but not all Ã¢ women experience hot flashes, though they may not recognize them. âItâs hard, because no one sits us down and teaches us, âHereâs what a hot flash feels like,ââ Stuenkel says. âIâve seen women who think theyâre having panic attacks, or heart palpitations. That can be frightening.â
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 âshut down the bodyâs own erratic hormonal fluctuations,â says Stuenkel.
âThis can kind of be a lifesaver,â she says. Such medication may help with hot flashes, too.
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Are There Any Tests For Menopause
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 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 fluctuations in hormone levels. Not all people get all of these symptoms. However, those affected with new symptoms of racing heart, urinary changes, headaches or other new medical problems should make sure there is no other cause for these symptoms.
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:
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What Other Factors Influence When Perimenopause Starts Or When A Woman Reaches Menopause
New research published online on April 12 in Menopause, the journal of NAMS, looked at the various factors that may affect the age when natural menopause occurs.
They found that there are factors that do seem predictive of when a woman will approach menopause, such as higher and follicle-stimulating hormone levels, which weve known for a while,” says Streicher. Irregular menstrual bleeding and hot flashes were also indicators of earlier menopause, she adds.
One new finding uncovered in the research was around alcohol consumption. The authors observed that participants tended to increase their alcohol consumption when approaching menopause, making it a potential clue that the change was coming.
That makes sense, says Streicher. This can be a time of added stress for women, and we know that any can cause someone to drink more, she says.
Although this study didnt find a strong association with smoking, other research has indicated that smoking is related to early onset of menopause, says Streicher.
How Does Menopause Affect My Bone Health
The decline in estrogen production can affect the amount of calcium in your bones. This can cause significant decreases in bone density, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis. It can also make you more susceptible to hip, spine, and other bone fractures. Many women experience accelerated bone loss the first few years after their last menstrual period.
To keep your bones healthy:
- Eat foods with lots of calcium, such as dairy products or dark leafy greens.
- Take vitamin D supplements.
- Exercise regularly and include weight training in your exercise routine.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Avoid smoking.
There are prescription medications you may want to discuss with your doctor to prevent bone loss as well.
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What Causes Racial Differences In The Menopausal Experience
Dr. Nanette Santoro, professor and E. Stewart Taylor Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has contributed to the research in SWAN. When asked why women of color experience menopause differently, she says, My educated guess is that a lot of the differences have their basis in lifestyle, SES , and other stressors such as systemic racism and their long-term consequences.
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Ht Forms And Regimens
HT comes in several forms:
- Oral tablets or pills
- Vaginal ring
- Topical gel or spray
HT pills and skin patches are considered “systemic” therapy because the medication delivered affects the entire body. The risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers is higher with hormone pills than with skin patches or other transdermal forms.
Vaginal forms of HT are called “local” therapy. Doctors generally prescribe vaginal applications of low-dose estrogen therapy to specifically treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex. This type of ET is available in a cream, tablet, or ring that is inserted into the vagina.
“Bioidentical” hormone therapy is promoted as a supposedly more natural and safer alternative to commercial prescription hormones. Bioidentical hormones are typically compounded in a pharmacy. Some compounding pharmacies claim that they can customize these formulations based on saliva tests that show a woman’s individual hormone levels.
The FDA and many professional medical associations warn patients that “bioidentical” is a marketing term that has no scientific validity. Formulations sold in these pharmacies have not undergone FDA regulatory scrutiny. Some of these compounds contain estriol, a weak form of estrogen, which has not been approved by the FDA for use in any drug. In addition, saliva tests do not give accurate or realistic results, as a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day.
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Who Can I Talk To
Though theres still stigma and embarrassment around the menopause, its important to know that youre not alone and theres support out there.
Try to be open about your symptoms with your partner, family and friends it can help them to understand what youre going through and could reduce any embarrassment about symptoms.
Sharing experiences with other women going through the same thing could be reassuring. There are many websites, blogs and videos online where women have shared their stories of the menopause.
At What Age Do Most Women Reach Menopause
The medical definition of menopause is no menstrual bleeding for a year, according to Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the medical director of the Northwestern Center for Menopause and the Northwestern Center for Sexual Medicine in Chicago.
Most women experience menopause between age 40 and 58, and the average age at menopause is 51, according to the North American Menopause Society.
Many women are surprised when they go through menopause in their forties because they think theyre too young, but its not unusual, says Dr. Streicher.
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When To See A Gp
It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.
What Happens After Menopause
After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.
You may experience any of the following after menopause:
- Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop certain health risks, including osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke.
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from period problems or menopause symptoms. However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.6,7
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about treatments for vaginal dryness.
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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.
Can Menopause Be Treated
Menopause is a natural process that your body goes through. In some cases, you may not need any treatment for menopause. When discussing treatment for menopause with your provider, its about treating the symptoms of menopause that disrupt your life. There are many different types of treatments for the symptoms of menopause. The main types of treatment for menopause are:
It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider while you are going through menopause to craft a treatment plan that works for you. Every person is different and has unique needs.
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When Does Menopause Usually Start
Every woman is different, but the menopausal transition usually starts between ages 45 and 55, per the NIA. Some women can start as early as 35, while others may not start it until theyre 60, says , M.D., M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School.
Family history is a reasonable predictor, she says. If everyone in the family went through menopause on the early side, there is a good chance you may, too.
When you got your first period could also help predict when you’ll experience perimenopause. According to a 2017 study in the journal Human Reproduction, women who started their menstrual periods at 11 years old or younger had an 80% higher risk of hitting menopause before the age of 40, compared those who got their first period at 12 or 13 years old.