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What Does Menopause Do To The Body

When To See A Gp

How menopause changes your body and what you can do about it.

It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.

They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.

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 Joint Pain A Symptom Of Menopause

Joint pain affects many menopausal women. This pain can also be accompanied by stiffness and swelling of the affected joints. This happens because menopause lowers your levels of estrogen, which acts as an anti-inflammatory substance and helps maintain bone health. Osteoarthritis tends to affect high-impact joints like hips and knees, but it can affect any joint.

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Understanding The Menopausal Transition

Menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition, or perimenopause.

The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about 7 years but can last as long as 14 years. During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly. Bones become less dense, making women more vulnerable to fractures. During this period, too, the body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily.

Menopause may be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries, which produce hormones. If you have surgery to remove your ovaries or uterus and are not taking hormones, you will experience the symptoms of menopause immediately.

This time in a woman’s life is often full of other transitionsnot just physical ones. Women may be caring for aging parents or relatives, supporting their children as they move into adulthood, or taking on new responsibilities at work.

Will I Gain Weight When I Experience Menopause

Menopause Signs and Symptoms

Changes in your hormone levels may cause you to gain weight. However, aging can also contribute to weight gain.

Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and practicing other healthy habits to help control your weight. Being overweight can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.

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Are There Treatments For The Menopause

If your symptoms are severe, theres treatment available which could help. This includes hormone replacement therapy , which replaces oestrogen to alleviate symptoms, creams for vaginal dryness, and cognitive behaviour therapy to help with mood changes. Speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of different treatments.

What Are The Stages Of Menopause

  • Perimenopause;typically occurs 3-5 years prior to the start of menopause. This stage occurs when your estrogen levels begin to drop and your body begins the transition towards menopause. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause.
  • Menopause;is confirmed to have started after youve missed your period for 12 consecutive months. Though every woman is unique and will experience this transition differently, most women enter menopause when they are 51 or 52.
  • Postmenopause includes the time after menopause. Estrogen levels continue to decline during this stage, which can cause some menopausal symptoms to linger.

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Body Changes At Menopause

As we age, our muscles decrease in bulk and our metabolism slows down. These changes can contribute to weight gain around the time of menopause.Other physical changes associated with menopause may include:

  • skin changes, such as dryness and loss of elasticity
  • vaginal dryness
  • hair growth .

These changes may affect a womans body image and self-esteem and increase her risk of depression and sexual difficulties. Taking steps to manage the symptoms of menopause can help.

How Do I Know If Changes In My Periods Are Normal Perimenopausal Symptoms Or Something To Be Concerned About

What Does Menopause Mean For You?

Irregular periods are common and normal during perimenopause . But other conditions can cause abnormalities in menstrual bleeding. If any of the following situations apply to you, see a doctor to rule out other causes.

  • Your periods are changing to become very heavy, or accompanied by blood clots.
  • Your periods last several days longer than usual.
  • You spot or bleed after your period.
  • You experience spotting after sex.
  • Your periods occur closer together.

Potential causes of abnormal bleeding include hormonal imbalances, hormonal treatments, pregnancy, fibroids, blood-clotting problems or, rarely, cancer.

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Oestrogen And Fat Distribution At Menopause

A change in hormone levels, mainly oestrogen, may influence body fat distribution.;

Many women in perimenopause and early post menopause years gain fat mass as their oestrogen levels drop. Women of childbearing age tend to store fat in the lower body , while men and postmenopausal women store fat around the abdomen .;

Animal studies have shown that a lack of oestrogen leads to unwanted abdominal fat, although the exact mechanisms are not yet understood.;

Can Menopause Cause Facial Hair Growth

Yes, increased facial hair growth can be a change related to menopause. The hormonal change your body goes through during menopause can result in several physical changes to your body, including more facial hair than you may have had in the past. If facial hair becomes a problem for you, waxing or using other hair removers may be options. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options to make sure you dont pick a product that could harm your skin.

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Manage Your Sugar Level

Sugar is also a party responsible for your perimenopause weight gain. Does a womans body shape change after menopause because of sweets? Yes, if she continues abusing them, obviously, right? However, body shape is not the only problem, as the consumption of sweet products and sugar to the extreme may lead to diabetes. So, you will already need another treatment protocol that focuses on diabetes treatment rather than any bodyweight changes.

All in all, there are many programs from therapists or gynecologists designated for perimenopause weight gain. You may refer to them. However, there are only some rules to follow including:

  • Do not go for starving;
  • Do not exclude the fats, and carbs, as they are necessary the same as proteins;
  • Spend more time on sports activities;
  • Do not take any weight loss medications;
  • Drink a lot of water and avoid soft drinks that negatively affect weight gain.

And, screen yourself for any other disorders or illnesses that may be responsible for your perimenopause weight gain.

What Causes The Menopause

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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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Sleep All Night But Well

What is the sense of following a diet and exercise if you do not even sleep? Difficulty sleeping is an enemy for our perimenopause weight gain. Menopause itself deteriorates if you have different sleep patterns such as you wake up early, and the next day you wake up very late. The system is not able to get used to such changes, and it affects the functioning of the whole body, in particular, metabolism which deprives you of losing weight. Furthermore, difficulty sleeping affects the production of melatonin that in balanced mode promotes fat-burning capability.

Pros & Cons Of Replacing Hormones

Since menopause is caused by a decrease in estrogen and progesterone, why not just replace them and continue on? Hormone replacement therapy is an option for many women who wish to combat the health risks that increase during their postmenopausal years. But this therapy may have its own risks.

Benefits: Estrogen therapy may relieve hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and protect against bone loss.

Risks: Estrogen-only therapy may increase your risk of breast and uterine cancer, stroke, heart disease, and deep vein thrombosis. Combine hormone therapy could cause an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, and gallbladder disease.

Talk to your doctor about the right approach to managing your health changes after menopause.

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Menstruation Changes Are The Main Perimenopause Symptoms

Menstruation changes are the first signs of perimenopause.

Changes in the length of your period and menstrual bleeding become more abundant and irregular. Periods may occur once in 23 weeks or be absent for several months in a row until they disappear completely.

This phase is unique for every woman and may require a doctors supervision.

This is particularly important if the interval between periods is less than 2 weeks, there is severe bleeding , or if menstruation lasts for more than a week.

Contrary to popular belief, menopause is not a bad thing, not a disease by any means. Its merely another peculiar stage in a womans life. The more we appreciate this menopause meaning, the better

Insomnia Or Problems Sleeping

What Does Menopause Mean For You?

For optimal health, doctors recommend adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. But during menopause it might be hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. You might wake up earlier than you wish and have trouble going to back to sleep.

To get as much rest as you can, try relaxation and breathing techniques. Its also important to exercise during the day so that youre tired once you hit the sheets. Avoid leaving your computer or cell phone near your bed as lights can disrupt your sleep. Bathing, reading, or listening to mellow music before bed may help you relax.

Simple steps to improve sleep hygiene include going to bed at the same time every night, taking steps to stay cool while sleeping, and avoiding foods and drinks that alter sleep like chocolate, caffeine, or alcohol.

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How Long Does Perimenopause Last

The length of each stage of the menopause transition can vary for each individual. The average length of perimenopause is about four years. Some women may only be in this stage for a few months, while others will be in this transition phase for more than four years. If you have gone more than 12 months without having a period, you are no longer perimenopausal. However, if there are medications or medical conditions that may affect periods, it can be more difficult to know the specific stage of the menopause transition.

Will Hormone Therapy Help Prevent Long

The benefits and risks of hormone therapy vary depending on a womans age and her individual history. In general, younger women in their 50s tend to get more benefits from hormone therapy as compared to postmenopausal women in their 60s. Women who undergo premature menopause are often treated with hormone therapy until age 50 to avoid the increased risk that comes from the extra years of estrogen loss.

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How Is Menopause Diagnosed

There are several ways your healthcare provider can diagnose menopause. The first is discussing your menstrual cycle over the last year. If you have gone a full year without a period, you may be postmenopausal. Another way your provider can check if you are going through menopause is a blood test that checks your follicle stimulating hormone level. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland this gland is located at the base of your brain. However, this test can be misleading during the beginning of menopause when your body is transitioning and your hormone levels are fluctuating up and down. Hormone testing always need to be interpreted in the context of what is happening with the menstrual period.

For many women, a blood test is not necessary. If you are having the symptoms of menopause and your periods have been irregular, talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to diagnose menopause after your conversation.

Can I Get Pregnant During Menopause

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The possibility of pregnancy disappears once you are postmenopausal, you have been without your period for an entire year . However, you can actually get pregnant during the menopause transition . If you dont want to become pregnant, you should continue to use some form of birth control until you have gone fully through menopause. Ask your healthcare provider before you stop using contraception.

For some women, getting pregnant can be difficult once theyre in their late 30s and 40s because of a decline in fertility. However, if becoming pregnant is the goal, there are fertility-enhancing treatments and techniques that can help you get pregnant. Make sure to speak to your healthcare provider about these options.

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Can You Get Pregnant After Menopause

After menopause, your body is no longer ovulating. This means that natural pregnancy is no longer a possibility. However, your body can still maintain a pregnancy using a donor egg or your own frozen eggs. If you want to go through IVF after menopause, youd also need to take hormone therapy to prepare your body for pregnancy.

Are There Any Risks Related To Hormone Therapy

Like most prescribed medications, there are risks for hormone therapy. Some known health risks include:

  • Endometrial cancer .
  • Gallstones and gallbladder issues.

Going on hormone therapy is an individualized decision. Discuss all past medical conditions and your family history with your healthcare provider to understand the risks versus benefits of hormone therapy for you.

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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.

Antidepressants

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 “off-label” and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .

Gabapentin

Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed “off-label” 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 Can I Treat The Symptoms

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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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What Are Common Menopause Symptoms

Some common menopause symptoms are:

  • Irregular periods: Periods becoming shorter, longer, heavier, lighter. Skipping periods.

  • Hot flashes: A hot flash is a sudden, sometimes intense feeling of heat that rushes to your face and upper body. Hot flashes can be really uncomfortable, but they usually only last a few minutes. They can happen a few times a day, a few times a week, or a few times a month.

  • Night sweats: Hot flashes that wake you up in the middle of the night.

  • Sleep problems: You may have insomnia trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. You may also start to wake up much earlier than you used to.

  • Vaginal changes: The lining of your vagina may become thinner, drier, or less stretchy. This can cause dryness or discomfort during sex.

  • Urinary or bladder infections: ;You may have to pee more often or get more frequent urinary tract or bladder infections.

  • Mood changes: Hormone changes can make you feel anxious, irritable, and tired. Your sex drive might change, too.

  • Weaker bones: Your bones will probably weaken during menopause. If its really bad, it can lead to osteoporosis after menopause. Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week;can help you maintain bone health.;

Some people may have a long and difficult perimenopause, up to 1012 years. But most people find that the common menopause symptoms are temporary and only last 35 years.

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