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What Are The Effects Of Menopause

How Long Should I Take Hormone Therapy

The Effect Of Smoking On Menopause

In general, there is no time limit to how long you can take hormone therapy. You should take the lowest dose of hormone therapy that works for you, and continue routine monitoring with your healthcare provider to reevaluate your treatment plan each year. If you develop a new medical condition while taking HT, see your provider to discuss if its still safe to continue taking HT.

The Connection Between Depression And Menopause

Among women who have experienced it, the connection between depression and menopause is poignant and essential to understand. The actual causes of depression during menopause are highly variable, but the most propagated theory relates to the effects of dropping estrogen levels. Throughout life until menopause, the female body produces estrogen to start menstruation in girls and encourage physical development, to regulate sex drive, manage the growth of uterine lining during pregnancy, and control weight gain and metabolism. At the onset of menopause, estrogen production dramatically drops, leading to a variety of symptoms, including depression.

In fact, during other stages of life;low estrogen levels;or rapid drops in estrogen result in similar symptoms to those that women experience during menopause. At certain stages during and after pregnancy or right before menarche or the menstrual cycle, many women experience similar symptoms to those that women experience in perimenopause. This demonstrates the intimate connection between estrogen and a decrease in hormone production with depression and irritability during the first stages of menopause.

How to Treat Menopause-Related Depression Symptoms

Exercise and Physical Movement

Although it can be difficult to start or continue an exercise routine when youre feeling depressed, it can make a huge difference in your mood.

Yoga and/or Meditation

Herbal Remedies and Dietary Changes

Hormone Replacement Therapy


All Women Experience Menopause While It Can Be A Change Many Women Dont Look Forward To Its A Completely Natural Occurrence That Signifies The End Of Childbearing Years And The Start Of A New And Exciting Chapter Of Later Adulthood Some Women Glide Through It Fairly Easily While Others Encounter More Extreme Or Uncomfortable Symptoms

Doctors officially diagnose menopause after a womans body goes 12 months without a period. This usually happens around 51 years old, but its different for everyone. Perimenopause is the time before menopause and begins when a woman notices significant changes in her menstrual cycle. It usually starts when women get into their 40s, on average around 47 years old, and typically lasts for 4 years.

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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.

How Long Does Menopause Last

side effects of menopause

Menopause is a single point in time and not a process; it is the time point in at which a woman’s last period ends. Of course, a woman will not know when that time point has occurred until she has been 12 consecutive months without a period. The symptoms of menopause, on the other hand, may begin years before the actual menopause occurs and may persist for some years afterward as well.

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What Are The Risks Of Taking Hormone Therapy

While hormone therapy helps many women get through menopause, the treatment is not risk-free. Known health risks include:

  • An increased risk of endometrial cancer .
  • Increased risk of blood clots and stroke.
  • Increased chance of gallbladder/gallstone problems.
  • Increased risk of dementia if hormone therapy is started after midlife. HT started during midlife is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.
  • Increased risk of breast cancer with long-term use.

When Does Menopause Begin And How Long Does It Last

Most women first begin developing menopause symptoms about four years before their last period. Symptoms often continue until about four years after a womans last period.

A small number of women experience menopause symptoms for up to a decade before menopause actually occurs, and 1 in 10 women experience menopausal symptoms for 12 years following their last period.

The median age for menopause is 51, though it may occur on average up to two years earlier for Black and Latina women. More studies are needed to understand the onset of menopause for women of color.

There are many factors that help determine when youll begin menopause, including genetics and ovary health. Perimenopause occurs before menopause. Perimenopause is a time when your hormones begin to change in preparation for menopause.

It can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Many women begin perimenopause some point after their mid-40s. Other women skip perimenopause and enter menopause suddenly.

About 1 percent of women begin menopause before the age of 40, which is called premature menopause or primary ovarian insufficiency. About 5 percent of women undergo menopause between the ages of 40 and 45. This is referred to as early menopause.

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Hysterectomy Risks And Potential Complications

When the ovaries remain intact after hysterectomy, the patient can experience menopausal symptoms within 5 years, resulting from the change in normal blood supply to the ovaries.;

With the ovaries removed, the production of the female reproductive hormones will stop, causing the patient to enter surgical menopause immediately.

Women entering early menopause have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers disease, and osteoporosis . This is more relevant for younger women and those reaching menopause before the age of 50. Hormone replacement therapy to replace the lost estrogen can be effective in such cases.

Hysterectomy can also lead to the development of abnormal blood fat levels and high blood pressure. The risks of coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure are also shown to be higher.;

Some gynecologists are suggesting women opt for nonsurgical alternative therapies for treating conditions like fibroids, endometriosis, and prolapse before choosing the surgical route.

I Have A Hard Time Concentrating And I’m Forgetful Is This A Normal Part Of Menopause


Unfortunately, difficulty with concentration and minor memory problems can often be a normal part of perimenopause, the time leading up to menopause . The good news is that it is likely to be temporary.

Current medical knowledge is limited as to why memory changes occur with perimenopause, and there are currently no treatments available to relieve these symptoms. If you are having memory problems, discuss this with your doctor. They can help manage memory problems or refer you to a provider who can.

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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.

Treatments For Menopausal Symptoms

Your GP can;offer treatments and suggest lifestyle changes if you have severe menopausal symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day;life, including:

  • hormone replacement therapy ;;tablets,;skin patches, gels;and implants that relieve menopausal symptoms by replacing oestrogen
  • vaginal oestrogen creams,;lubricants or moisturisers for vaginal dryness
  • cognitive behavioural therapy a type of talking therapy that can help with low mood and anxiety
  • eating a;healthy, balanced diet;and exercising regularly; maintaining a healthy weight and staying fit and strong can improve some menopausal symptoms

Your GP can refer you to a menopause specialist if your symptoms don’t improve after trying treatment or if you’re unable to take HRT.

If the flushes and sweats are frequent or severe, your GP may suggest taking HRT.

If HRT isn’t suitable for you, or you would prefer not to have it, your GP may recommend other medications that can help, such as clonidine ;or certain antidepressants.

These medications can;cause unpleasant side effects, so it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before starting treatment.

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Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms

Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.


The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used âoff-labelâ and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .


Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed âoff-labelâ for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:

  • Drowsiness

How Does Menopause Affect My Bladder Control

Early Menopause Risks and Side Effects

Unfortunately, bladder control issues are common for women going through menopause. There are several reasons why this happens, including:

  • Estrogen. This hormone plays several roles in your body. It not only controls your period and promotes changes in your body during pregnancy, estrogen also keeps the lining of your bladder and urethra healthy.
  • Pelvic floor muscles. Supporting the organs in your pelvis your bladder and uterus are called the pelvic floor muscles. Throughout your life, these muscles can weaken. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth and from weight gain. When the muscles weaken, you can experience urinary incontinence .

Specific bladder control problems that you might have can include:

  • Stress incontinence .

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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.

Osteoporosis And Bone Fractures

Bone density can decrease during menopause, which increases the risk of bone fractures. Again, the decrease in estrogen is to blame here. As you may have gathered already, estrogen is used for more than reproductive functions like ovulation. Estrogen also protects bones and helps with building new bone, so during menopause, you are at risk of developing osteoporosis and losing bone density and strength.

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Eat Foods Rich In Calcium And Vitamin D

Hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

Calcium and vitamin D are linked to good bone health, so its important to get enough of these nutrients in your diet.

Adequate vitamin D intake in postmenopausal women is also associated with a lower risk of hip fractures due to weak bones (

Many foods are calcium-rich, including dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese.

Green, leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens and spinach have lots of calcium too. Its also plentiful in tofu, beans, sardines and other foods.

Additionally, calcium-fortified foods are also good sources, including certain cereals, fruit juice or milk alternatives.

Sunlight is your main source of vitamin D, since your skin produces it when exposed to the sun. However, as you get older, your skin gets less efficient at making it.

If you arent out in the sun much or if you cover up your skin, either taking a supplement or increasing food sources of vitamin D may be important.

Rich dietary sources include oily fish, eggs, cod liver oil and foods fortified with vitamin D.

Bottom Line:

A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important to prevent the bone loss that can occur during menopause.

Effects Of Menopause On Your Nervous System

Effects of the Menopause

The nervous system is where the infamous mood swings come into play. One minute you feel as if youre on top of the world. The next moment, youre annoyed by everything! All of these mood swings can impact your relationships and quality of life. Some of the most typical emotions experienced during this time are:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Memory issues

Think about how anxious, irritable, and down in the dumps you sometimes feel after youve been sleep deprived. Your hormones need a good nights sleep to remain balanced. When they decline during menopause, truly restorative sleep can seem elusive. This impacts the nervous system to a large degree.

Talk to your OBGYN about ways to boost your mood. Because menopause can trigger serious depression, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are sometimes necessary for some women. Hormone replacement therapy is yet another option for many women. Talk to your doctor about treatment options available.

Fluctuating hormones and the many challenging effects of menopause can be a tricky thing to navigate. At OB/GYN Associates of Alabama, we can help you understand menopause, hormone imbalances, and the range of treatment options available. Contact us to request an appointment today.

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    The Impact Of Vaginal Atrophy

    Vaginal atrophy is the thinning, drying and inflammation of vagina walls. It affects up to 60% of postmenopausal women with symptoms of dryness, burning, itching, and spotting during sex.;

    Unfortunately, when youre experiencing issues with physical arousal that lead to painful sex a vicious cycle can occur that feeds into a lowered desire for sex.;

    So, its completely understandable that sex becomes the last thing on your mind.;

    The good news is that you can improve your vaginal atrophy by increasing your sexual activity, with or without a partner! Sexual stimulation increases the blood flow, making your vaginal tissues more elastic.;

    Theres also an array of medical options for treatment including topical hormone replacement therapy, use of lubricants, moisturizers, and supplements.;

    Causes Or Reasons For Surgery

    There are many reasons for choosing to have surgery. For example, to address endometriosis or to prevent cancer, a person may seek treatment. As a part of sex reassignment surgery, some may opt for surgery.

    Certain medical reasons for getting an oophorectomy include:

    • easing endometriosis
    • treating benign or cancerous tumors or cysts
    • easing ovarian torsion, in which an ovary becomes twisted
    • preventing ovarian cancer in those at high risk

    People with a personal family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both can be checked to see whether they have a genetic function that raises their cancer risk, such as variations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.

    The person will decide to have surgery to decrease their risk of cancer in the future if these characteristics are present.

    Research shows that the risk of developing ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer later in life may be substantially decreased through surgery.

    Anyone who is contemplating ovarian surgery for any cause should discuss with their healthcare provider the benefits and risks.

    Medical menopauseSometimes the symptoms of menopause may cause such medical treatments. Doctors call this medical menopause. Depending on the intervention, the effect can be temporary or permanent.

    For example, chemotherapy for breast cancer can cause a temporary menstrual pause and the symptoms of menopause. Within weeks or months of starting the procedure, this will begin.

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    Trouble Sleeping And Insomnia

    The hormonal changes your body is going through can disrupt sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep. During menopause, you lose estrogen, which helps regulate sleep patterns. The part of the brain that regulates reproductive hormones is also responsible for wake-sleep hormones like melatonin and cortisol. If you experience difficulty falling asleep, you may find it hard to make it through the day, especially if the problem persists over time.

    ;Another reason you might lose sleep during menopause is due to night sweats and frequent urination, detailed below. Anything that keeps you from falling asleep or staying asleep long enough to go through a healthy sleep cycle can lead to insomnia. And as we all know, sleep is essential to physical, mental and emotional health.


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