Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Perimenopause
There are health risks associated with menopause, which happens right after perimenopause.
Estrogen plays an important role in preserving your bones. Osteoporosis is a condition where the insides of your bones become less dense and more fragile. This increases your risk for bone fractures. Your healthcare provider may recommend a multivitamin, calcium supplement, extra vitamin D or more weight-bearing exercises.
People in menopause are also at an increased risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular health conditions.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause
Estrogen is used by many parts of a womanâs body. As levels of estrogen decrease, you could have various symptoms. Many women experience mild symptoms that can be treated by lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine or carrying a portable fan. Some women donât require any treatment at all, but for others, symptoms can be more severe. The severity of symptoms varies greatly around the world and by race and ethnicity.
Here are the most common changes you might notice at midlife. Some may be part of aging rather than directly related to menopause.
Change in your period. This might be what you notice first. Your periods may no longer be regular. They may be shorter or last longer. You might bleed more or less than usual. These are all normal changes, but to make sure there isnât a problem, see your doctor if:
- Your periods happen very close together.
- You have heavy bleeding.
- Your periods last more than a week.
- Your periods resume after no bleeding for more than a year.
Bladder control. A loss of bladder control is called incontinence. You may have a sudden urge to urinate, or urine may leak during exercise, sneezing, or laughing. The first step in treating incontinence is to see a doctor. Bladder infections also can occur in midlife.
What To Expect After A Diagnosis
If possible, find a supportive and sympathetic doctor to help you adjust to the diagnosis of early menopause. Your doctor will help to counsel you, prescribe appropriate treatments and refer you to relevant specialists when necessary. This is a specialist area and usually, at least initially, an endocrinologist or gynaecologist with expertise in early or premature menopause should assess and advise you.
Your doctor should see you regularly over the years to reassess your health needs, including reviewing your medications and to test routinely for potential risks associated with POI. Often it is necessary to have a team of health professionals monitor you through the years after you have been diagnosed.
You may need to seek out a specialist early-menopause clinic or individual practitioners, such as infertility specialists, endocrinologists , psychologists or psychiatrists for support.
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How Is Premature Menopause Diagnosed
To diagnose premature menopause, your doctor will most likely perform a physical exam and draw blood to rule out other conditions, such as pregnancy and thyroid disease. They may also order a test to measure your estradiol levels. Low levels of estradiol, a form of estrogen, can indicate that your ovaries are starting to fail. When estradiol levels are below 30, it may signal that you are in menopause.
However, the most important test used to diagnose premature menopause is a blood test that measures follicle stimulating hormone . FSH causes your ovaries to produce estrogen. When your ovaries slow down their production of estrogen, your levels of FSH increase. When your FSH levels rise above 40 mIU/mL, it usually indicates that you are in menopause.
Differences By Socioeconomic Status
A number of studies have observed that lower social class, as measured by the woman’s educational attainment or by her own or her husband’s occupation, is associated with an earlier age at natural menopause.,,,,,, However, results from a British birth cohort indicated that early life socioeconomic status was more strongly associated than adult status with age at natural menopause, although even the relation of early life SES was greatly attenuated when adjusted for childhood cognitive ability and having been breastfed. One study found that education was more strongly associated with age at natural menopause than occupation. Most studies that have examined the relation of marital status have found that single women undergo an earlier natural menopause, and this association cannot be explained by nulliparity.,,
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How Is Early Menopause Treated Or Managed
Early menopause generally doesnt require treatment. However, there are treatment options available to help manage the symptoms of menopause or conditions related to it. They can help you deal with changes in your body or lifestyle more easily.
Premature menopause, however, is often treated since it occurs at such an early age. This helps support your body with the hormones that would normally be made until you reach the age of natural menopause.
The most common treatment includes hormone replacement therapy . Systemic hormone therapy can prevent many common menopausal symptoms. Or you may take vaginal hormone products, usually in low doses, to help with vaginal symptoms.
HRT does have risks though. It can increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, or breast cancer.
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits to your individual care before starting HRT. Lower doses of hormones may decrease your risk.
What Causes The Menopause
The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases there’s no clear cause.
Sometimes it’s caused by a treatment such as surgery to remove the ovaries , some breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or it can be brought on by an underlying condition, such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
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Can Early Menopause Be Reversed
Early menopause cant usually be reversed, but treatment can help delay or reduce the symptoms of menopause.
Researchers are investigating new ways to help women who are in menopause to have children. In 2016, scientists in Greece announced a new treatment that enabled them to restore menstruation and retrieve eggs from a small group of women who were in perimenopause.
This treatment made headlines as a way to reverse menopause, but little is known about how well it works.
The scientists reported treating more than 30 women, ages 46 to 49, by injecting platelet-rich plasma into their ovaries. PRP is sometimes used to promote tissue healing, but the treatment hasnt been proven to be effective for any purpose.
The scientists claimed the treatment worked for two-thirds of the women treated. However, the research has been criticized for its small size and lack of control groups. Though the research might have potential for the future, its not a realistic treatment option right now.
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.
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What Are The Stages Leading Up To Menopause
After puberty, there are three other phases of female fertility:
- Pre-menopause: Women have full ovarian function, regularly produce estrogen and ovulate.
- Perimenopause: The ovaries begin to fluctuate in their ovulation and production of estrogen, which can result in unpredictable menstrual cycles and symptoms.
- Menopause: When the ovaries have shut down. Someone would be in menopause after 12 months without menses.
What Is Perimenopause Its When Menopause Symptoms Begin
Perimenopause or pre-menopause is a word that means around menopause. Perimenopause describes what happens to your body leading up to menopause. This stage typically starts about four to eight years before menopause.
When you enter perimenopause youll probably start to notice some early menopause symptoms like changes to your period or mood shifts. These changes happen because your bodys estrogen and progesterone levels are starting to naturally decline. As your ovaries produce lower amounts of these hormones, your body adapts. Its basically the reverse of what happened to your hormones as a teenager.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause
The first signs ofmenopause are often experienced months or years before the actual menopausal stage. Some women experience these symptoms long after their periods have stopped. Most women have several of these symptoms at a time while some do not experience them at all.
These signs and symptoms include the following:
H. Worsening of depression or anxiety symptoms
J. Unusual hair growth on the chest, abdomen, chin, or upper lip
L. Loss of sexual interest or inability to be aroused
M. Vaginal dryness, pain, itching, yeast infection and/or irritation
N. Urinary incontinence and increased risk of urinary tract infections
P. Thinner and drier skin and hair
Q. Development of more fat around the waist.
R. Stiff and painful joints due to decreased bone density
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For people who cannot take estrogen therapy, or choose not to, Stuenkel says some drugs in the antidepressant family, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, can help with hot flashes. Stuenkel says, “While they’re not perfect, they can take the edge off and help enough so that women can get a better night’s sleep.”
There are an abundance of nonhormonal, nondrug treatment options for managing symptoms, some of which have significantly more evidence backing them than others. In 2015, a North American Menopause Society panel found that cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis were significantly effective in treating hot flashes. The same panel also found that popular herbal remedies are “unlikely to help,” although some NPR listeners who wrote in said they got relief from some of those treatments.
For depressive and anxiety symptoms, women may want to seek out professional counseling or a psychiatrist.
When do I need to see a doctor?
You might not need to at all. Some people sail right through menopause with little trouble. But if you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your life, it’s worth making an appointment. Some of these symptoms could indicate other problems that need treatment, such as fibroids or even cancer.
Ways to cope with symptoms
For people approaching this stage of life or who are already going through it, here are four steps for making this transition more manageable.
1. Get educated
2. Monitor your health
3. Practice smart self-care
4. Cultivate community
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Supplemental Calcium And Vitamin D
Supplementary calcium and vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis if you arent getting enough of these nutrients from your diet.
Women ages 19 to 50 should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day through food or supplements. Women over age 51 should get 1,200 milligrams per day.
A recommended daily amount of vitamin D is around . For adult women, most doctors recommend 600-800 IU through food or supplements.
At What Age Does Menopause Start
In the U.S., the average age of when women reach menopause is 51 years old. The common age of menopause varies between 48 to 55 years old. However, symptoms can occur long before that, and some women undergo this change much earlier.
The menopausal transition phase called perimenopausemay start in your late thirties or mid-forties. The most common symptoms of menopause at 46 are hot flashes and irregular periods.
There is also no way to exactly know at what age does menopause start and when you are undergoing menopause, but you should pay attention to your body and try to notice the changes that it undergoes. The symptoms and the start of menopause also vary depending on multiple factors.
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Easing The Transition To Menopause
A genetic test may one day determine a persons likelihood of early menopause. For now, though, only time will tell when youll start your transition.
See your doctor for regular checkups, and be proactive about your reproductive health. Doing so can help your doctor ease the symptoms or decrease your risk factors for early menopause.
Seeing a therapist can also help you cope with any pain or anxiety you may feel during menopause.
What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause
Your body has been producing estrogen since puberty. Once your estrogen levels begin to decline, your body has to adjust to the changes in hormones.
The symptoms vary, but most people experience at least one of the following:
- Sleep problems .
- Changes in mood like irritability, depression or mood swings.
The length of time you have symptoms of perimenopause can vary between a few months to many years. The decrease in estrogen also can lead to bone thinning or changing cholesterol levels. Continue to have regular checkups with your healthcare provider to keep an eye on your health.
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Does Early Menopause Matter
Yes, both premature menopause and early menopause matter!
The average age of menopause is 51.3 years. A later menopause is associated with a longer life span. An earlier menopause is associated with a higher degree of disease burden and potentially a shorter life span.
Women frequently ask me and assume that having an early age of first period means an earlier age of menopause. We previously told women that it wasnt usually a correlation. However, a recent large observational study from several countries looked at age of menarche and whether a woman had ever been pregnant and the risk for premature menopause and early menopause.
How Can I Treat The Symptoms
There are a bunch of ways.
Lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and regular exercise program will help manage your symptoms and boost your health. This is a great time to finally kick any old, unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. To help with hot flashes, dress lightly and in layers. Avoid triggers like caffeine and spicy foods. And if you stay sexually active, that may help preserve your vaginal lining.
Prescription medication for hot flashes. If you still have your uterus, your doctor might prescribe treatment with estrogen and progesterone. This is called combination hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy . It helps with hot flashes and night sweats, and it may help prevent osteoporosis. If you donât have a uterus, you might get estrogen alone.
Hormone therapy isnât for everyone. Donât take it if you’ve ever had breast cancer, uterine or “endometrial” cancer, blood clots, liver disease, or a stroke. Also don’t take it if you might be pregnant or you have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.
If you can’t or don’t want to take hormones, other medications can ease symptoms. They include antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, or blood pressure medications to help with hot flashes and mood swings.
Prescription and OTC medication for vaginal dryness and sleep problems. You can try topical estrogen, lubricants, and non-estrogen prescriptions for dryness and painful sex. OTC or prescription sleep aids can help if you have trouble falling asleep.
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Starting Periods At A Young Age Is Linked To Early Menopause
Girl talk: puberty hits younger and younger
Women are more likely to go through menopause early if they started menstruating before their 12th birthday.
This is the conclusion of the largest study of its kind, involving 50,000 postmenopausal women in the UK, Australia, Japan and Scandinavia.
On average, a first period arrived around age 13 and the last when the women were 50. But 14 per cent had their first period before they were 12, and 10 per cent had their last period before they turned 45.
To investigate whether there was a link between early menstruation and early menopause, Gita Mishra at the University of Queensland, Australia, and her colleagues performed a statistical analysis, adjusting for possible confounding variables like weight and smoking.
They found that women who began menstruating before the age of 12 were 31 per cent more likely to have an early menopause between the ages of 40 and 44.
Of the women who had their first period when they were 13, only 1.8 per cent had premature menopause , and 7.2 per cent reached menopause early. But in women who had their first period when they were 11 or younger, 3.1 per cent had premature menopause, and 8.8 per cent went through it early.
Reasons Why Some Women Go Through Early Menopause
One in 100 women will start to experience the frustrating symptoms of early menopause before they turn 40.
Maybe you wake up at night drenched in sweat. Or youre struggling to concentrate, and oh yeah, your period has been MIA. These symptoms are enough to freak any woman out, even when shes at the right age for menopause, the natural transition to infertility that most women experience around 50. But when these symptoms begin in your 30s, they can be downright scary.
For some women, early menopause is brought on by surgery that removes the ovaries. A woman who carries a BRCA gene mutation, for example, may opt to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes taken out in a preventative salpingo-oopherectomy. The result? Levels of estrogen and other female hormones drop dramatically, which may lead to hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other telltale signs of menopause.
But one in 100 women will experience these symptoms for other reasonswhich are often hard to pin down. In fact, for about 90 percent of cases a woman never learns the reason why. The technical term for this medical condition is primary ovarian insufficiency . Basically the ovaries poop out early, explains Shawn Tassone, MD, an ob-gyn who specializes in integrative medicine at Austin Area Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Fertility.
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