Menopause And Complementary Therapies
Some women can benefit from using complementary therapies for menopause. But it is important to remember that natural herb and plant medications can have unpleasant side effects in some women, just like prescribed medications. A registered naturopath may provide long-term guidance and balance through the menopausal years.Herbal therapies can often be taken in conjunction with hormone therapy. It is important to let both your doctor and naturopath know exactly what each has prescribed, and to consult your doctor before taking any herbal treatments or dietary supplements for menopause. Some natural therapies can affect or interact with other medications you may be taking.
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.
Will Hormone Therapy Help Prevent Long
The benefits and risks of hormone therapy vary depending on a womans age and her individual history. In general, younger women in their 50s tend to get more benefits from hormone therapy as compared to postmenopausal women in their 60s. Women who undergo premature menopause are often treated with hormone therapy until age 50 to avoid the increased risk that comes from the extra years of estrogen loss.
What Is Menopause Its A Moment In Time
Menopause is a specific point in time. Menopause occurs when periods stop and youve gone 12 consecutive months since having your last period. Once youve hit that moment, you enter post-menopause.
Reaching menopause means that youre no longer able to bear children. Every woman except for those whove had their ovaries removed before puberty will go through menopause.
When does menopause start?
The average menopause age is around 51. But some women experience menopause in their 40s with a small percentage experiencing menopause even younger. Some women may not reach menopause until their 60s.
Theres no way to know your exact menopause age until it happens, but genetics seem to play a strong role. You may get a general idea of when to expect menopause based on when your family members went through it, particularly your mother.
Genetics arent the only thing that can impact when menopause starts. Medical factors can also influence menopause timing. When the ovaries are removed, symptoms will begin to show immediately.
Certain medical conditions like autoimmune diseases have also been associated with early menopause. Women whove undergone treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy are also more likely to show symptoms earlier.
What Conditions Can Cause Early Menopause
Certain medical and surgical conditions can influence the timing of menopause.
Surgical removal of the ovaries
The surgical removal of the ovaries in an ovulating woman will result in an immediate menopause, sometimes termed a surgical menopause, or induced menopause. In this case, there is no perimenopause, and after surgery, a woman will generally experience the signs and symptoms of menopause. In cases of surgical menopause, women often report that the abrupt onset of menopausal symptoms results in particularly severe symptoms, but this is not always the case.
The ovaries are often removed together with the removal of the uterus . If a hysterectomy is performed without removal of both ovaries in a woman who has not yet reached menopause, the remaining ovary or ovaries are still capable of normal hormone production. While a woman cannot menstruate after the uterus is removed by a hysterectomy, the ovaries themselves can continue to produce hormones up until the normal time when menopause would naturally occur. At this time, a woman could experience the other symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and mood swings. These symptoms would then not be associated with the cessation of menstruation. Another possibility is that premature ovarian failure will occur earlier than the expected time of menopause, as early as one to two years following the hysterectomy. If this happens, a woman may or may not experience symptoms of menopause.
Cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy
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Can I Still Get Pregnant After Being Diagnosed With Premature Menopause Early Menopause Or Primary/premature Ovarian Insufficiency
Unless the ovaries have been surgically removed, it can be difficult to diagnose a woman younger than age 45 with menopause as opposed to primary ovarian insufficiency . Women with POI can have intermittent ovulation, which may or may not be accompanied by a menstrual bleed. Other women may be able to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization with egg donation. It is important to work with a fertility specialist to explore options.
Options available to you will vary depending on whether you have interest in having children in the future. In some cases, fertility may be restored and pregnancy could be possible. Assisted reproductive technology , including in vitro fertilization might be considered.
If you do not want to get pregnant while on hormone-replacement therapy, your doctor will talk to you about contraceptive options.
Talk to your healthcare provider about possible causes of premature or early menopause and your questions regarding fertility.
What Are The Signs Of Menopause
Menopause is a natural process that happens to every woman as she grows older, and is not a medical problem, disease or illness. Still, some women may have a hard time because of the changes in hormone levels during menopause.
There are many possible signs of menopause and each woman feels them differently. Most women have no or few menopausal symptoms while some women have many moderate or severe symptoms.
The clearest signs of the start of menopause are irregular periods , and when blood flow becomes lighter or heavier.
Other signs may include some of the following:
- weight gain;
- mood swings; and
- urinary tract infections.
Most of the time, these symptoms will lessen or go away after a woman has finished menopause.
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Low Estrogen Health Risks
Osteoporosis is when the bones become weak and brittle due to a lack of calcium. Estrogen preserves bone health by preventing calcium loss. When estrogen levels decline because of hormonal changes, it may increase the risk for fractures in the spine, hips, legs, and arms.
Women who drink a lot of alcohol, smoke, and do not exercise are at an increased risk of osteoporosis. Thin and petite women and those with a family history of osteoporosis also have a higher risk of developing this condition.
Estrogen seems to play a role in protecting the body from heart disease because it may elevate good cholesterol levels in the blood. A sharp increase in heart disease risk occurs with menopause.
Findings May Help Improve How Cardiac Risk Is Assessed In Women
These findings add to what we already know about early menopause and cardiovascular risk, says Laxmi Mehta, MD, professor in the division of cardiovascular medicine and director of Preventative Cardiology and Womens Cardiovascular Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. Dr. Mehta was not involved in this research.
Since the recent 2019 primary prevention guidelines were released and premature menopause was added as a risk enhancer for coronary heart disease its helped to get physicians to start asking the question, At what age did you go through menopause? says Mehta.
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How Do I Know If I Am Going Through Early Or Premature Menopause
You know you have gone through menopause when you have not had your period for 12 months in a row. If you think you may be reaching menopause early, talk to your doctor or nurse.
- Your doctor or nurse will ask you about your symptoms, such as hot flashes, irregular periods, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness.
- Your doctor or nurse may give you a blood test to measure estrogen and related hormones, like . You may choose to get tested if you want to know whether you can still get pregnant. Your doctor or nurse will test your hormone levels in the first few days of your menstrual cycle .
Increased Risk Of Some Health Conditions
After menopause, the risk of certain health issues appears to increase. Menopause does not cause these conditions, but the hormonal changes involved may play some role.
Osteoporosis: This is a long-term condition in which bone strength and density decrease. A doctor may recommend taking vitamin D supplements and eating more calcium-rich foods to maintain bone strength.
Cardiovascular disease: The American Heart Association note that, while a decline in estrogen due to menopause may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, taking hormone therapy will not reduce this risk.
Breast cancer: Some types of breast cancer are more likely to develop after menopause. Menopause breast cancer, but hormonal changes involved appear to increase the risk.
Skin changes can also occur around the time of menopause. Find out more.
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Understand Your Bodys Changes At Menopause
It is important to understand the changes your body is going through before, during and after menopause. There are many different sources of information available. Make sure you seek out reputable websites and brochures that provide up-to-date, non-biased information from organisations that specialise in womens health.
Some examples include:
What Are The Effects Of Low Estrogen Levels
Before we look at how low estrogen levels impact the body, its crucial to understand the role it plays. Estrogen is one of the female sex hormones, and it is vital for sexual and reproductive health and development. Both male and female bodies contain estrogen, but it is particularly;important for women.
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Are There Other Health Issues That Affect Women In Premature Menopause
Like all menopausal women, women in premature menopause experience lowered estrogen levels as the ovaries stop most of their production of this hormone. Low levels of estrogen can lead to changes in womenâs overall health and may increase their risk for certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis. Other health risks associated with the loss of estrogen include increased risk for colon and ovarian cancer, periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cataract formation.
However, compared with women who go through natural menopause, women undergoing premature menopause spend a greater portion of their lives without the protective benefits of their own estrogen. This puts them at an even greater risk for the above mentioned menopause-related health problems.
What Are Premature Menopause Early Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
Premature menopause and early menopause are conditions where a woman goes through menopause at an earlier age than is typically expected. Both conditions can result in women being unable to become pregnant. If there is no obvious medical or surgical cause for the premature menopause, this is called primary ovarian insufficiency . Primary ovarian insufficiency is also referred to as premature ovarian insufficiency.
The name premature ovarian failure is no longer used because women who are told they have early menopause can have intermittent ovulation, menstrual bleeding or even pregnancy after being told they have ovarian failure.
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Diet And Age At Menopause: Is There A Connection
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A study published online by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found a link between the type of food that women regularly ate, and the age they went through menopause. Specifically, they found that women who regularly noshed on servings of refined pasta and rice went through the change earlier, while women whose diets focused more on fish, beans, and other legumes started menopause at a later age.
Each daily serving of oily fish, beans, and other legumes that a woman ate was associated with an average 3.3-year delay in the start of menopause. And for every additional serving of refined pasta and rice a woman ate each day, menopause was on average 1.5 years earlier.
Researchers also found that a higher intake of two nutrients, vitamin B6 and zinc, also appeared to delay menopause by 0.6 and 0.3 years, respectively. In addition, vegetarians in the study reached menopause at an earlier age than meat eaters.
How Long Does Perimenopause Last
The length of each stage of the menopause transition can vary for each individual. The average length of perimenopause is about four years. Some women may only be in this stage for a few months, while others will be in this transition phase for more than four years. If you have gone more than 12 months without having a period, you are no longer perimenopausal. However, if there are medications or medical conditions that may affect periods, it can be more difficult to know the specific stage of the menopause transition.
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Emotional And Cognitive Symptoms
Women in perimenopause often report a variety of thinking and/or emotional symptoms, including fatigue, memory problems, irritability, and rapid changes in mood. It is difficult to determine exactly which behavioral symptoms are due directly to the hormonal changes of menopause. Research in this area has been difficult for many reasons.
Emotional and cognitive symptoms are so common that it is sometimes difficult in a given woman to know if they are due to menopause. The night sweats that may occur during perimenopause can also contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue, which can have an effect on mood and cognitive performance. Finally, many women may be experiencing other life changes during the time of perimenopause or after menopause, such as stressful life events, that may also cause emotional symptoms.
What Factors Effect How Early Or Late Women Hit Menopause
Genetics seem to play a major role in how early or late menopause starts. Family history is quite relevant, and is indeed the best predictor of age at menopause, Dr. Minkin says. If youre able, ask the women in your family when they went through menopause to get a sense of when to expect it in your own life.
Beyond your genetic background, the biggest risks associated with early menopause are smoking, cancer treatments, and hysterectomy which removes the uterus but leaves the ovaries intact, and can allow menstruation to continue.
A December 2017 study published in Human Reproduction also suggested that women who were underweight may go through menopause earlier than women of average weight, whereas a 2002 study published in International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders suggested that women with high BMIs more commonly go through menopause later than average.
If youre in the right age range and experiencing symptoms, you might be going through menopause. If it seems too early, or if symptoms are bothering you, its worth speaking with your doctor to see how they might be able to help.
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How Long Will Menopausal Transition Symptoms Last
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.
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.
What Other Medications Treat Menopause Symptoms
The classes of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , typically used in the treatment of depression and anxiety, have been shown to be effective in reducing menopausal hot flashes. Paroxetine is an SSRI that has been approved for the treatment of moderate to severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Another SSRI that has been tested and shown to be effective is venlafaxine , although other SSRI drugs may be effective as well.
Progestin drugs have also been successfully used to treat hot flashes. Megestrol acetate is sometimes prescribed over the short term to help relieve hot flashes. Serious effects can occur if the medication is abruptly discontinued, and megestrol is not usually recommended as a first-line drug to treat hot flashes. An unpleasant side effect of Megestrol is that it may lead to weight gain.
Several medications may be used for preventing and treating osteoporosis.