Low Libido And Vaginal Dryness
Loss of libido can be caused by hormonal imbalance or by other symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness or depression. Vaginal dryness occurs when the moistness in the lining of the vagina disappears. When estrogen levels drop during menopause it causes a lack of lubrication.
The adaptogenic herb ashwagandha improves vaginal lubrication and encourages a calm and relaxed feeling. Non-toxic products such as coconut oil or over-the-counter non-toxic lubricants can also make sex more comfortable and enjoyable.
What Are The Early Signs Of Menopause
Brace yourself, ladies, menopause can be brutal.
There are more symptoms of menopause than these I mentioned, but these are the ones I have experienced. Whatever you do, self-care is so crucial during this time of menopause, so take good care of yourself.
This picture of me taken in 2014 AND 20 lbs heavier than usual, is a game-changer for me. Menopause is brutal! Now, in 2020 Im still having trouble losing the weight. Ive tried intermittent fasting for beginners, going gluten-free, and cutting down on carbs. Nothing seems to help.
How Is Early Menopause Is Diagnosed
No special tests are needed to determine the absence of menstrual periods, but sometimes women begin having symptoms of menopause and irregular periods. At that point, they may be tested to determine their ovarian function. For example, tests may be done to rule out pregnancy or other causes of missed menstruation, such as certain thyroid diseases. The level of follicle-stimulating hormone is often measured in the blood to determine whether a woman is nearing menopause and to ascertain the functional status of her ovaries. FSH stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen, so levels of this hormone rise when estrogen levels drop. FSH levels that are higher than 40 mIU/ml are considered diagnostic of the menopause. Levels of ovarian hormones, such as estradiol, may be also measured, as low levels are suggestive of menopause.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause
During perimenopause, you can experience a variety of symptoms. The reason: Your ovaries have been making estrogen since your first period. During perimenopause, the estrogen production decreases substantially. Your body has to adjust to functioning with less of the hormone, putting you into estrogen withdrawals. The type and intensity of symptoms vary greatly among women some just feel a little off or don’t notice anything at all.
Others can experience perimenopausal symptoms including:
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling irritable, anxious or depressed
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
About 80 percent of women will experience some form of a hot flash during perimenopause or menopause. Hot flashes happen when your brain has trouble regulating your internal temperature, which is a common response to having less estrogen. The shift in temperature may not be noticeable. Or, it may feel like someone cranked up the thermostat on your core body temperature. You suddenly feel uncomfortably hot and sweaty, or you may wake up drenched in sweat .
Early Menopause: Causes Signs Symptoms And Treatment
The NHS describes early menopause as when periods stop before the age of 45, but for many women thats just the tip of the iceberg, as they face a difficult, if not devastating, transition that can negatively affect their health and fertility.
Most women start the menopause between 45-55 their periods become less frequent and their ovaries stop releasing eggs, but early menopause does happen to others.
In the lead-up to this many women experience the perimenopause, when the ovaries start to produce less oestrogen and they begin to experience symptoms. When a women has reached 12 months without periods, she has reached menopause. In the UK, the average age for this is 51 but some face theirs years, if not decades, earlier.
Even in our enlightened times, menopause and the accompanying symptoms are regarded as embarrassing and even taboo subjects. For women undergoing early menopause it can be even harder to find support and understanding.
Debra Waters spoke to two experts about what to expect from early menopause: Aly Dilks, Clinical Director at The Womens Health Clinic and Claire Hardy, a lecturer in Organisational Health and Wellbeing at the Faculty of Health and Medical at Lancaster University, and a spokeswoman for the medical research charity Wellbeing of Women.
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Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Postmenopause
People in postmenopause are at an increased risk for several conditions:
Estrogen helps protect against cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, heart disease and stroke. It is also common for people in postmenopause to become more sedentary, which contributes to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These factors combined can increase a womans risk for cardiovascular diseases after menopause. A healthy diet, not smoking and getting regular exercise are your best options to prevent heart disease. Treating elevated blood pressure and diabetes as well as maintaining cholesterol levels are also ways to lower your risk.
People lose bone more rapidly after menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen. You may lose up to 25% of your bone density after menopause . When too much bone is lost, it increases your risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures. The bones of the hip, wrist, and spine are most commonly affected. Bone mineral density testing, also called bone densitometry, can be done to see how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones. The test is used to detectosteoporosis and osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.
Mental health issues
How To Deal With Menopause Symptoms
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Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause
Most women will experience symptoms of menopause and many women will experience early symptoms while still having periods.
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and can last for years after.
If you go through the menopause because of surgical or medical treatments, you are likely to experience the symptoms of menopause much less gradually.
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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Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Safe
A common question is if hormone therapy is safe and whether it can cause it cancer. Hormone Replacement Therapy can increase the risk of Estrogen-dependent Cancer. Its important to see your provider so they can take a thorough history and help determine your risk and whether estrogen is safe for you. There are alternatives such as hormone creams, etc. Theres a lot more options on the market now than there used to be. Everyone is different and your provider can help guide you through this process.
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.
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What Are Early Menopause Signs And Symptoms
Early menopause symptoms are similar to those of menopause at a normal age. The menopause process, at any age, is triggered by hormone fluctuations. However, depending on the cause of its onset, the frequency and severity of symptoms may vary.
Women generally start noticing symptoms when they enter perimenopause, the second stage of the menopause process. When it occurs naturally, perimenopause can last up to 10 years or, in the case of surgical removal of reproductive organs, it can be completely bypassed, as the body enters menopause immediately after surgery.
When menopause naturally occurs, symptoms tend to be mild and infrequent. However, when early menopause occurs due to the removal reproductive organs, the body experiences an abrupt decrease in hormone production, increasing the severity and duration of menopause symptoms.
Treatments For Early Menopause
A GP will probably recommend you take this treatment until at least the age of natural menopause , to give you some protection from osteoporosis and other conditions that can develop after the menopause.
If you have had certain types of cancer, such as certain types of breast cancer, you may not be able to have hormonal treatment.
The GP will talk to you about other treatment options and lifestyle changes you can make to help protect your health.
If you’re still getting symptoms, the GP can refer you to a specialist menopause centre.
Going through the menopause early can be difficult and upsetting.
Permanent early menopause will affect your ability to have children naturally.
You may still be able to have children by using IVF and donated eggs from another woman, or using your own eggs if you had some stored. Surrogacy and adoption may also be options for you.
Counselling and support groups may be helpful.
Here are some you may want to try:
Page last reviewed: 02 February 2021 Next review due: 02 February 2024
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Facts You Should Know About Menopause
- Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It is the time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases.
- The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman.
- The average age of menopause is 51 years old, but menopause may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s. There is no reliable lab test to predict when a woman will experience menopause.
- The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is not related to the age of menopause onset.
- Symptoms of menopause can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, hot flashes, vaginal and urinary symptoms, and mood changes.
- Complications that women may develop after menopause include osteoporosis and heart disease.
- Treatments for menopause are customized for each woman.
- Treatments are directed toward alleviating uncomfortable or distressing symptoms.
Brain Fog Memory Lapses And Difficulty Concentrating
Feeling confused, forgetful, and/or finding yourself with a lack of focus and mental clarity? Once again, declining estrogen is to blame.
Drink more water and be sure your body is well-nourished. Concentrate on healthy sources of fats such as avocados, olive oil, oily fish, and seeds, which are needed for healthy hormone production.
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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.
Vaginal Dryness And Atrophy
When your estrogen levels drop, your vaginal tissues start drying and become less elastic. Sex becomes uncomfortable you may be more prone to infections your vagina is frequently itchy and easily irritated, and, on the emotional side, you may feel older.
Your vagina is usually very elastic, able to easily stretch for sex and childbirth. But as estrogen levels go down, your vaginal walls get thinner and lose some of their elasticity. Your vagina becomes dryer and takes longer to become lubricated. Finally, it may atrophy becoming somewhat smaller in width and length.
If you experience a sudden drop in estrogen , these vaginal symptoms might appear more suddenly than if you go through a natural premature menopause. Either way, though, its a very unpleasant side effect of going through menopause and often very emotionally upsetting when youre in your 20s or 30s.
You may find it takes longer and longer to get sexually aroused. Sexual stimulation that you used to enjoy may become unpleasant. Intercourse can be very uncomfortable, even painful. In a worst case scenario, your vagina may even tear during intercourse.
All in all, sex may become less and less pleasurable making you feel even worse about being in premature menopause. I remember I began thinking that, at the not-so-ripe age of 38, my days of enjoying sex were over and was very glad when I learned that I was wrong.
How To Cope
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Anxiety Or Mood Changes
Most of us feel anxious at times, but you might find that things that you can usually cope with make you feel overwhelmed with anxiety. You might also feel upset, sad or angry in situations thatwould not have bothered you before.
These increases in anxiety and mood changes can be caused by hormonal changes.
When Does Perimenopause Start
The average age of menopause is 51, and perimenopause symptoms typically begin about four years before your final period. Most women start to notice perimenopause symptoms in their 40s. But perimenopause can happen a little earlier or later, too. The best predictor of when your final period will be is the age at which your mother entered menopause .
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Common Signs Of Menopause
Menopause is a natural biological process, and although it ends fertility, women can stay healthy, vital, and sexual. Even so, the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy orfor some womentrigger anxiety or feelings of sadness and loss.
Diagnosis Of Premature Or Early Menopause
Premature and early menopause is diagnosed using a number of tests including:
- medical history, family history and medical examination
- investigations to rule out other causes of amenorrhoea , such as pregnancy, extreme weight loss, other hormone disturbances and some diseases of the reproductive system
- investigations into other conditions associated with premature or early menopause, such as autoimmune diseases
- genetic tests to check for the presence of genetic conditions associated with premature or early menopause
- blood tests to check hormone levels.
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Changes In Your Skin: Wrinkling And Loss Of Muscle Tone
When your estrogen levels drop, your collagen production usually slows down as well. And, as youve probably heard, collagen has a role in keeping our skin toned, fresh-looking and resilient. So when you start running low on collagen, it shows in your skin. It gets thinner, drier, flakier and less youthful-looking.
This is another of those symptoms of menopause that makes you feel older before your time and, in this case, its clear why. You may look a little older than you used to. Worst, this sign often shows up early in menopause. Like bone loss, which occurs rapidly in the first few years of menopause, collagen loss is most rapid at the beginning of menopause as well.
According to studies, premature menopause leads to more rapid bone loss than menopause that occurs at the normal age so its possible that premature menopause also leads to more rapid collagen loss. The bottom line is, well, more lines on your face and before you expected them.
How To Cope
Since this change in your skin occurs because of low estrogen levels, when you increase your estrogen levels , you are likely to see an improvement. Other than this though, there isnt a lot you can do.