Menopause At A Glance
- Every woman is affected by menopause in some way either they experience symptoms or other physical changes.
- The average age of menopause is 51 years but you can enter menopause earlier.
- Hormonal changes cause menopausal symptoms.
- Most women will have some symptoms.
- Most women have symptoms for 5 to 10 years.
Menopause occurs when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months. Menopause is a natural part of life occurring at around age 51 years but can also happen for other reasons including after:
- surgery to remove ovaries and/or your womb/uterus
- radiotherapy to your pelvis.
At menopause, you stop producing oestrogen and this can lead to menopausal symptoms. Oestrogen levels can vary in the time leading up to the final menstrual period .
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.
Signs Of Menopause: What To Look Out For
Menopause is the natural decline of female hormones in the body. Menopausal women stop having periods because theyre no longer ovulating. Menopause happens at different ages for different women, but the average American woman goes through menopause between 45 and 55. According to the U.S. Office on Womens Health, the average age for menopause in the United States is 52. Symptoms of menopause may begin in the years before you stop getting a menstrual period, referred to as perimenopause. If you have any of the following signs of menopause, it may be time to talk to your OB/GYN about how to treat your symptoms and protect your health.
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What Are The 34 Symptoms Of Menopause
by Haley FritzFeb 2, 2021
When you think of a woman going through menopause, you might think of symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or mood swings.
These symptoms receive a lot of attention due to the fact that there are over-the-counter and prescription drug remedies designed especially to target them. However, the symptoms of menopause are actually far more complex than these companies let on!
In total, there are 34 different symptoms that can be attributed to menopause. A woman going through menopause might experience some or all of these symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.
Read on to learn more about the menopause process and how it might affect a womans health and well-being.
Symptoms Of Menopause Include:
- Absence of period for 12 months
- Hot flashes
- Cognitive changes
- Vaginal dryness
- Generalized itching
- Bone loss
Once your period has officially stopped, the estrogen levels in your body will gradually decline also, you will no longer produce another female hormone called progesterone. Such hormonal changes may intensify the hot flashes, mood swings, or other symptoms you may have been experiencing throughout perimenopause, or they may trigger symptoms you have yet to experience. Another physical sign of menopause is bone loss . And although hot flashes usually subside, some women experience hot flashes for the rest of their life.
If you experience these symptoms, the first thing you should do is make an appointment with your provider. As Estrogen therapy can help with the cardiovascular issues that come with menopause, it is recommended that estrogen therapy begin within five years of the last period.
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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.
Keeping An Active Sex Life
Menopause can reduce a persons sex drive and lead to vaginal dryness, but it also removes the need for birth control. For some, this can make sex more enjoyable.
Having sex often can increase vaginal blood flow and help keep the tissues healthy.
Some tips for maintaining sexual health and activity during menopause include:
- staying physically active
- avoiding tobacco products, recreational drugs, and alcohol
- taking the time to become aroused, which will improve lubrication
- doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
- not using any strong soaps around the vagina, as these can worsen irritation
Also, menopause symptoms lead some people to find satisfying forms of sex that do not involve the vagina as much or at all.
It is worth remembering that, while a woman cannot become pregnant once menopause starts, it is still important to use barrier protection during penetrative sex to protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Often, sexual partners will be getting older and may be experiencing menopause at the same time. They, too, may be feeling a drop in sex drive. Opening up about any concerns can help both partners feel better and explore new forms of intimacy.
Menopause is a stage in life, not an illness. Most women experience natural menopause during midlife. However, surgery and other factors can cause menopause to start earlier.
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Treatment For Early Or Premature Menopause
There is no treatment available to make the ovaries start working again.
Rarely, the ovaries may spontaneously start working again, for reasons unknown. According to some studies, about one in 10 women who are diagnosed with premature ovarian insufficiency get pregnant, for reasons that are not yet clear.
Women with early menopause have a long period of postmenopausal life, which means they are at increased risk of health problems such as early onset of osteoporosis and heart disease. For this reason, it is recommended that they take some form of hormone therapy until they reach the typical age of menopause . This may be the combined oestrogen and progestogen oral contraceptive pill, or menopausal hormone therapy .
Either option treats menopausal symptoms and reduces the risk of early onset of osteoporosis and heart disease.
How Is Premature Menopause Treated
The symptoms and health risks of premature menopause, as well as the emotional issues that may result from it, can be managed with the methods similar to those used for natural menopause. Women dealing with infertility that is brought on by premature menopause may want to discuss their options with their doctor or with a reproductive specialist.
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So Then What Is Perimenopause
This menopause transition or what some practitioners call perimenopause is when your estrogen levels are more unpredictable, according to Dr. Gunter. And theres no telling when that rollercoaster will start exactly since there’s no definitive start date. In other words, you wont realize you’re in it until you’re in it, says Dr. Gunter.
But there are some signs that may tip you off to the fact that your body is making the shift.
How Does Pregnancy Occur During Perimenopause
Despite the irregular periods, ovulation occurs in the perimenopausal stage. Therefore, there is a chance for the release of a healthy egg, which gets fertilized with the release of the sperm, and you conceive.
Signs such as breast tenderness and white vaginal discharge could help you know you are ovulating. Unprotected sexual intercourse 3-4 days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation could increase the chances of getting pregnant.
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Premature Menopause And Dry Skin
In most cases, your face and neck are the ones involved. The signs of early menopause will manifest themselves as cracked skin or a feeling of ripping. Night cream and cream before going for a walk are must-haves. For the top results, think of trying out natural oils. For instance, your skin will be very happy to use almond or tea tree oils. If there are no oils, you can buy an authentic camomile tea, and freeze it. Then, these ice cubes will be the best prophylactic for making your beauty procedures at face.
Risk Factors For Early Menopause
Premature ovarian failure affects about 1 out of every 1000 women from ages 15 to 29 and about 1 out of every 100 women aged 30 to 39. It can be related to genetic factors, to illnesses like autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease, viral infection, hormonal disorders, and eating disorders. The risk of premature ovarian failure risk increases in women who have relatives with the condition.
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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.
What Are The Risks Of Pregnancy During Perimenopause And Menopause
Pregnancy becomes riskier as you age above 35. Here are some of the risks for both you and the baby .
- IVF treatment could result in multiple fetuses. This is likely to cause preterm labor, low birth weight in babies and delivery complications.
- High blood pressure could lead to preeclampsia.
- Gestational diabetes.
- Placenta previa, in which the placenta lies low in the womb and causes problems during childbirth.
- Placental abruption in which the placenta is detached from the womb, causing fetal growth problems, stillbirth, and premature birth.
- Stillbirth or miscarriage.
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Symptoms Of Premature And Early Menopause
The symptoms of early menopause are the same as for menopause at the typical age and can include:
- menstrual cycle changes, including changes to the usual bleeding pattern, particularly irregular bleeding
- hot flushes
What Causes Early Menopause
The first signs of early menopause are triggered when a womans sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, start to fluctuate more rapidly or abruptly before the average menopause age of 52.
These early hormonal shifts can be dramatic and intense. Thats because as hormone levels surge and recede unpredictably, your body struggles to just produce hormones and maintain balance between them. But the bodys ability to make hormones continues to decline steadily, leading to the eruption of symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and sudden fatigue.
Each womans body has its own ideal balance of hormones but, at some point, all of us experience the hormonal shifts that lead to menopause. And if youre not prepared for them, the hormonal fluctuations of early menopause can make life miserable.
Signs Of Menopause At Age 40
For most women, natural menopause starts between the ages of 45 and 55. However, for some women, the changes of menopause start even earlier before age 40. This is known as premature menopause and is typically due to illness, medical procedure, or genetics.
If youre age 40 or so, you might be in the throes of early menopause if you have been experiencing hot flashes, irregular periods, sudden emotional changes, and other signs of menopause.
Lets take a broader look at menopause what exactly menopause is, what is involved with early menopause, the causes of premature menopause, and the signs to watch for that indicate youre experiencing menopause.
What Is The Average Age For Menopause
Menopause itself is just one moment in time, marking 12 months of no periods. This means that you will only know that you have reached menopause retrospectively when you realise youve had a year with no periods.
For UK women, the average age of menopause is 51, but symptoms can start several years before that. Symptoms typically start showing at an average age of 45 years. This is your perimenopause or the storm before the calm as our medical advisor Dr Stephanie Goodwin calls it. The time after menopause is called post-menopause, and its common for your symptoms to continue into this time.
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Insomnia Or Sleep Pattern Modification
The usual cause of lack of sleep is night sweats, which are caused alongside hot flashes. Also, the mood swings and depression that accompanies hormonal imbalance make us stay up all night worrying or hyper and jumpy. Lastly, the natural worrying that accompanies reaching middle age can also keep us up all night staring at the ceiling.
Early Signs of Menopause #8
How Do You Know If You Are Still Fertile
It is difficult to know about your fertility as the menstrual cycle turns irregular during perimenopause. You may or may not ovulate, and also the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones fluctuate while the egg quality could deteriorate. All these factors cause a decrease in fertility, but we cannot exactly predict the probability of natural conception.
Chronic Fatigue Aches And Pains
These symptoms generally result as an offshoot from the other symptoms. Lack of sleep and the depression which leads to it will result in low energy. Also, some women in the later parts of their years try to go for crash diets to stay slim and young looking. Unfortunately, crash diets lead to a lack on nutrition, which drops your energy levels drastically.
Early Signs of Menopause #6
Water And Gas Bloating
If youre noticing swollen, puffy ankles, feet and hands, it could be down to water retention. The hormonal changes that our bodies undergo during the menopause prompt our bodies to store more water in our extremities.
Tips for combating this include cutting back on the amount of sodium in your diet, increasing your potassium intake and reducing everyday stress. Feeling overwhelmed encourages the production of cortisol, which prompts water retention.
If your bloating is accompanied by stomach pains, it could be gas retention. A solution is to chew food more slowly, have smaller meals and cut back on fizzy drinks.
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Calcium And Vitamin D
A combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the bone loss associated with menopause. The best sources are from calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods.
Doctors are currently reconsidering the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that healthy postmenopausal women don’t need to take these supplements. According to the USPSTF, taking daily low-dose amounts of vitamin D supplements , with or without calcium supplements , does not prevent fractures. For higher doses, the USPSTF says there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation. In addition to possible lack of benefit, these supplements are associated with certain risks, like kidney stones.
However, calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients. Supplements may be appropriate for certain people including those who do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and those who do not consume enough calcium in their diet. They are also helpful for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take supplements.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones.