How Do You Lose Weight During Menopause
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most effective ways to improve symptoms of menopause. Try low-impact exercises that don’t hurt your joints, eat lean protein, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep. Although it’s tempting, restricting your caloric intake too severely can lead to muscle loss and a decrease in metabolic rate.
What Helps With Menopausal Arthritis
Hormonal imbalances make it more likely for menopausal women to develop osteoarthritis. You can perform low-impact exercises , maintain a healthy weight, and eat vitamin D and calcium-rich foods to improve your symptoms. Your doctor could prescribe NSAID medications or refer you to a physical therapy specialist, too.
Menopause: Symptoms Causes And Treatments
Menopause is an irreversible part of the overall aging process involving a females reproductive system. It is diagnosed retrospectively after twelve consecutive months of no periods without any pathology. The final menstrual period is a normal physiological process that marks the end of a womans reproductive cycle resulting from loss of ovarian follicular activity.
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At What Age Does A Woman Typically Reach Menopause
The average age of menopause is 51 years old. However, there is no way to predict when an individual woman will have menopause or begin having symptoms suggestive of menopause. The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is also not related to the age of menopause onset. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but menopause may occur as earlier as ages 30s or 40s, or may not occur until a woman reaches her 60s. As a rough “rule of thumb,” women tend to undergo menopause at an age similar to that of their mothers.
Symptoms and signs related to the menopausal transition such as irregularities in the menstrual cycle, can begin up to 10 years prior to the last menstrual period.
Can I Get Pregnant If I Have Gone Through Menopause
No, you cant get pregnant after menopause because ovulation is no longer occurring. Once you have gone 12 months without a period, you are considered to have reached menopause.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Menopause is a natural and normal part of the aging process. Once you are in menopause, you have gone 12 months without a menstrual period. It is common to experience symptoms like vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Be open with your healthcare provider about the symptoms youre experiencing and how they impact your quality of life. They can recommend treatments to manage your symptoms and make you more comfortable.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/05/2021.
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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.
What Is Hormone Therapy For Menopause Like
During menopause, your body goes through major hormonal changes, decreasing the amount of hormones it makes, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are produced by the ovaries. When your ovaries no longer make enough estrogen and progesterone, hormone therapy can be used as a supplement. Hormone therapy boosts your hormone levels and can help relieve some symptoms of menopause. Its also used as a preventative measure for osteoporosis.
There are two main types of hormone therapy:
- Estrogen therapy : In this treatment, estrogen is taken alone. Its typically prescribed in a low dose and can be taken as a pill or patch. ET can also be given to you as a cream, vaginal ring, gel or spray. This type of treatment is used after a hysterectomy. Estrogen alone cant be used if you still have a uterus.
- Estrogen Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy : This treatment is also called combination therapy because it uses doses of estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is available in its natural form, or also as a progestin . This type of hormone therapy is used if you still have your uterus.
Hormone therapy can relieve many of the symptoms of menopause, including:
- Hot flashes and night sweats.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Pulmonary embolism.
These risks are lower if you start hormone therapy within 10 years of menopause. After that point, your risk for cardiovascular diseases is higher.
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How Will I Know If I Am Starting The Transition To Menopause
Sometimes it can be hard for you and your doctor to tell whether you are in perimenopause, the transition to menopause:
- Symptoms: Tell your doctor or nurse about any menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes or trouble sleeping.
- Irregular periods: Track your periods. Irregular periods may be your first sign of menopause.
- Hormone levels: Your doctor may test the amount of hormones in your blood if your periods stopped at an early age . Doctors dont usually recommend this test unless there is a medical reason to do so. This is because, for most women, hormone levels go up and down in an unpredictable way during the transition to menopause. So it is difficult to tell for sure whether you have gone through menopause or are getting close to it based on this blood test.
How Do I Know If Im Going Through Menopause
Menopause is defined by 12 months of amenorrhea after the final menstrual period in the absence of any other pathological or physiological causes.
One of the first symptoms that youre approaching menopause is an irregularity in your menstrual cycles. Other symptoms of menopause include headaches, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, decreased concentration, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, irritability, amongst others. Some women experience these symptoms 1 to 5 years before menopause, but theres no way to predict when menopause will occur.
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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 .
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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Bioidentical Or Traditional Hormone Therapy
Traditional hormone therapy uses plant derived, man made hormones or hormones found in the urine of pregnant horses. Patients can take it orally, via patch, or topically to the genital area.
Bioidentical hormones are plant derived or man-made hormones similar to the ones your body produces. Some bioidentical hormones are the same as those used in conventional products. Others are not FDA approved and are available only from compounding pharmacies.
Bioidentical products can include a variety of estrogens, progesterone, testosterone or other hormones. Common bioidentical preparations include one or more of three estrogens: estradiol, estriol, and estrone. The estradiol in a traditional hormone therapy regimen is the same as in a bioidentical one. Typically bioidentical hormones are prescribed topically at a dose designed to affect the whole body. They can also be used topically in the vaginal area or given orally.
If a woman still has her uterus, it is important to combine both bioidentical and traditional preparations of estrogen with progesterone to prevent uterine cancer.
According to the Food and Drug Administration , bioidentical hormones arent safer or more effective than the traditional hormones, however, there is some debate in this area. There is some data that topical estrogens are safer than oral. Groups like the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists caution against the use of compounded products specifically, citing safety concerns.
What Are The Long
There are several conditions that you could be at a higher risk of after menopause. Your risk for any condition depends on many things like your family history, your health before menopause and lifestyle factors . Two conditions that affect your health after menopause are osteoporosis and coronary artery disease.
Osteoporosis, a “brittle-bone” disease, occurs when the inside of bones become less dense, making them more fragile and likely to fracture. Estrogen plays an important role in preserving bone mass. Estrogen signals cells in the bones to stop breaking down.
People lose an average of 25% of their bone mass from the time of menopause to age 60. This is largely because of the loss of estrogen. Over time, this loss of bone can lead to bone fractures. Your healthcare provider may want to test the strength of your bones over time. Bone mineral density testing, also called bone densitometry, is a quick way to see how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones. The test is used to detectosteoporosis and osteopenia. Osteopenia is a disease where bone density is decreased and this can be a precursor to later osteoporosis.
If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, your treatment options could include estrogen therapy.
Coronary artery disease
- The loss of estrogen .
- Increased blood pressure.
- A decrease in physical activity.
- Bad habits from your past catching up with you .
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Racial And Ethnic Disparity In Menopause
Every womans menopause experience is different. One may breeze through it with minimal discomfort another may suffer from extreme hot flashes and mood disorders. Research from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation suggests that race and ethnicity may play a role in the experience of menopause in the United States. Black women, Native American women, and Latinas were found to have higher rates of early menopause and more severe symptoms. Data analysis suggests that women of color experience more hot flashes and night sweats than white women, and these symptoms persist for a longer time. Black women tend to have heavier menstrual flow, Central American Latinas experience more intense hot flashes, and Puerto Rican Latinas have the most sleep disturbances. The reasons why are complicated and not fully understood, but the current hypothesis is that chronic stress from racism, and lifestyle and socioeconomic status contribute significantly.
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What Tests Diagnose Menopause
Because hormone levels may fluctuate greatly in an individual woman, even from one day to the next, hormone levels are not a reliable method for diagnosing menopause. There is no single blood test that reliably predicts when a woman is going through the menopausal transition, so there is currently no proven role for blood testing to diagnose menopause. The only way to diagnose menopause is to observe the lack of menstrual periods for 12 months in a woman in the expected age range.
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Oral Contraceptives And Vaginal Treatments
Oral contraceptive pills
Oral contraceptive pills are another form of hormone therapy often prescribed for women in perimenopause to treat irregular vaginal bleeding. Women in the menopausal transition tend to have considerable breakthrough bleeding when given estrogen therapy. Therefore, oral contraceptives are often given to women in the menopause transition to regulate menstrual periods, relieve hot flashes, as well as to provide contraception. They are not recommended for women who have already reached menopause, because the dose of estrogen is higher than that needed to control hot flashes and other symptoms. The contraindications for oral contraceptives in women going through the menopause transition are the same as those for premenopausal women.
Local hormone and non-hormone treatments
There are also local hormonal treatments for the symptoms of vaginal estrogen deficiency. Local treatments include the vaginal estrogen ring , vaginal estrogen cream, or vaginal estrogen tablets. Local and oral estrogen treatments are sometimes combined for this purpose.
Vaginal moisturizing agents such as creams or lotions as well as the use of lubricants during intercourse are non-hormonal options for managing the discomfort of vaginal dryness.
Other Physical Signs You May Notice
The following symptoms are less obvious and less common, but still are often signs of premature menopause:
Similar to the feeling you get just before your period, your breasts may feel swollen and tender to the touch.
This can last for days or weeks and unlike the normal breast tenderness from PMS, getting your period often doesnt help relieve this discomfort.
Gastrointestinal Distress and Nausea
Gas, indigestion, heartburn and a green feeling that comes and goes and often seems to have no relation to what youve eaten.
Tingling or Itchy Skin
This may feel like the creepy-crawlies as if bugs were walking all over you, a burning sensation like an insect sting, or just a heightened sensitivity.
Hair Loss or Thinning
This is connected to estrogen deficiency and the effect its scarcity has on the hair follicles.
Some women notice this before any other sign because it is so obvious you may have noticed hair in your brush and you may sense your hair getting drier and more brittle. Likewise you may notice a thinning or loss of pubic hair.
Dry Mouth and Other Oral Symptoms
This may be caused by drying of the mucous membranes due to low estrogen and it may bring about a bitter taste in your mouth and bad breath.
You also may notice drying in your eyes and nostrils.
A puffy bloated feeling that seems to come out of nowhere usually youll notice bouts of this youll be fine for a while, then bloated, then okay again.
4 weeks ago
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What Happens After Menopause
After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.
You may experience any of the following after menopause:
- Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop certain health risks, including osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke.
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from period problems or menopause symptoms. However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.6,7
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about treatments for vaginal dryness.
How Bad Can Menopause Make You Feel
There is no predicting how menopause will affect each individual person, but it is unfortunately likely to make everyone going through it feel pretty rundown. Aside from the physical issues that can cause pain and discomfort, your mental and emotional well-being may also take a toll.
We arent just talking about hormonal mood swings, but memory lapses, lack of sleep, and uncertainty about what new symptom might rear its head next can cause depression and anxiety. Again, its important to discuss those issues with your doctor just as you would any other symptom.
However, its not all doom and gloom! It might sound impossible to imagine, but there are a few possible changes during menopause that arent awful, like shrinking fibroids or an increased libido.
And once its all said in done, theres the obvious perk of never having to deal with periods again or the emotional and physical symptoms that came with them each month. Youll also probably find yourself with a refreshed outlook on life, renewed sense of freedom, and revitalized confidence. As anthropologist , There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a postmenopausal woman.
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