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What Does Menopause Do To Your Body

Increased Risk Of Some Health Conditions

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

After menopause, the risk of certain health issues appears to increase. Menopause does not cause these conditions, but the hormonal changes involved may play some role.

Osteoporosis: This is a long-term condition in which bone strength and density decrease. A doctor may recommend taking vitamin D supplements and eating more calcium-rich foods to maintain bone strength.

Cardiovascular disease: The American Heart Association note that, while a decline in estrogen due to menopause may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, taking hormone therapy will not reduce this risk.

Breast cancer: Some types of breast cancer are more likely to develop after menopause. Menopause breast cancer, but hormonal changes involved appear to increase the risk.

Skin changes can also occur around the time of menopause. Find out more.

How Hormones Affect The Elasticity In Your Skin

The dermis of your skin is a layer composed chiefly of collagen.

Along with elastin, collagen is responsible for the skins structure and elasticity.

Once menopause sets in, you can expect to lose almost one-third of the collagen content of your skin in just 5 years.

The collagen content continues to get lower at the rate of 2% each year once youre postmenopausal.

Its the decreasing levels of estrogen that cause the outer layer of the skin to produce fewer glycosaminoglycans, also known as GAGs. This hormonal change leads to the lowering of collagen content and makes your skin less elastic.

These lowered levels of estrogen is the main reason for these bothersome changes to the skin.

Mood Swings And Depression

Studies indicate that mood swings are more common during perimenopause, when hormonal fluctuations are most erratic, than during the postmenopausal years, when ovarian hormones stabilize at a low level. No direct link between mood and diminished estrogen has been proved, but it is possible that mood changes result when hormonal shifts disrupt the established patterns of a woman’s life. These changes can be stressful and may bring on “the blues.” Mood swings can mean laughing one minute and crying the next, and feeling anxious or depressed. These changes are transient, however, and do not usually meet the criteria for a diagnosis of clinical depression, a more profound dysfunctional emotional state.

Over their lifespan, women have more depression than men. But there is no evidence that decreased estrogen alone causes clinical depression. Although women who have had previous episodes of depression may be vulnerable to a recurrence during perimenopause, menopause in and of itself does not cause clinical depression. The incidence of depression in postmenopausal women is not any higher than at any other time in life.

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Trouble Focusing And Learning

In the lead-up to menopause two-thirds of women may have difficulty with concentration and memory.

Keeping physically and mentally active, following a healthful diet, and maintaining an active social life can help with these issues. For example, some people benefit from finding a new hobby or joining a club or a local activity.

How Menopause Changes Your Body What Can You Do About It

Learn what is happening to your body and what you can do ...

Menopause. The word itself can put even the strongest woman on alert. We hear all these horror stories about menopause but really dont know 100% until we experience it ourselves.

Menopause literally means pause in menses. Cessation of our menstrual cycles. That can be a good thing if like me your periods became increasingly more difficult to deal with. But what about how it affects our bodies? Thats a whole other ballgame isnt it?

Some very lucky women cruise right on through menopause while others, like me, have to deal with a whole range of issues. From weight gain to insomnia to the pot belly, all symptoms are not the same for all women.

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How Can I Treat The Symptoms

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.

Why You Gain Weight During Perimenopause And Menopause

Women typically experience weight gain in a few different ways during menopause. If youre experiencing excess fat stores around your abdomen, the hormonal fluctuations from menopause may be the culprit.

Studies show that women store more visceral fat fat deep in the belly that sits close to the organs during and after menopause than before. This may give a rounded appearance and increase your waistline without adding any extra pounds to the scale.

Though the exact reason hasnt been pinpointed, researchers believe the issue has four leading causes:

  • A slower metabolic rate
  • Changes in fat cell type
  • Lower levels of activity

Other causes may include genetics, poor diet quality, an overall increase in stress levels. Fat stores that increase around the hips, buttocks, and thighs are more likely related to lifestyle than hormonal changes.

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What Screenings Do I Need After Menopause

All women need regular checkups and screening tests throughout their lives. Most women can help take care of their health with:

  • Regular after age 50 through age 75
  • Regular , even after menopause. You should get a Pap test and HPV test together every five years if you have a cervix, until you are 65 and have had three clear tests in a row.
  • Regular height measurements to detect loss of height due to bone loss
  • Blood, urine, and other tests to screen for risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • Blood pressure, cholesterol, and other tests your doctor recommends

Ask your doctor or nurse about flu shots and other . Besides the flu shot, vaccinations are available for pneumonia, shingles, and other diseases.

Your doctor or nurse might also recommend other tests, depending on your health. For example, you might need to see a specialist for some specific problems, like urinary .

How Perimenopause Affects Your Body: The Symptoms To Expect

What really happens to your body during menopause | Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter

We’ve all heard of menopause, particularly the hot flashes it can bring. But what else do you know about it?

For instance, did you know that the symptoms we often attribute to menopause actually begin earlier during what’s called perimenopause, the transitional stage that occurs before menopause officially begins?

“Once you go 12 consecutive months without experiencing a period, menopause begins marking the end of your reproductive years. But, prior to this is a stage called perimenopause,” says Dr. Latricia Thompson, OB-GYN at Houston Methodist. “This is when your ovaries start producing less estrogen, resulting in a range of physical and emotional symptoms. It occurs approximately four years before menopause, usually around 47 to 48 years of age.”

Dr. Thompson is here to explain how perimenopause affects your body and what you can do about it.

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No More Menstrual Periods

Your menstrual period happens every month, from puberty to menopause. Thats an average of about 500 periods throughout your lifetime.

When you enter menopause, your ovaries stop releasing eggs. This stops your menstrual cycle and your monthly period. Theres no need to buy tampons or pads anymore, and theres no longer a risk of bleeding or spotting unexpectedly.

Plus, you cant get pregnant anymore. For many women, that means you can have more enjoyable sex without worrying about accidental pregnancy.

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.

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Are There Nonhormonal Options For The Management Of Menopausal Symptoms

Hormone therapy may not be the right choice for you. Some medical conditions may prevent you from safely being able to use hormone therapy or you may choose not to use that form of treatment for your own personal reasons. Changes to your lifestyle may help you relieve many of your symptoms without need for hormonal intervention.

Lifestyle changes may include:

Vaginal Dryness And Discomfort

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Vaginal dryness, itching, and discomfort may start during perimenopause and continue into menopause. A person with any of these symptoms may experience chafing and discomfort during vaginal sex. Also, if the skin breaks, this can increase the risk of infection.

Atrophic vaginitis, which involves thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal wall, can sometimes occur during menopause.

Various moisturizers, lubricants, and medications can relieve vaginal dryness and associated issues.

Learn more about atrophic vaginitis here.

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What Are The Hormonal Changes During Menopause

The traditional changes we think of as “menopause” happen when the ovaries no longer produce high levels of hormones. The ovaries are the reproductive glands that store eggs and release them into the fallopian tubes. They also produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as testosterone. Together, estrogen and progesterone control menstruation. Estrogen also influences how the body uses calcium and maintains cholesterol levels in the blood.

As menopause nears, the ovaries no longer release eggs into the fallopian tubes, and youll have your last menstrual cycle.

Can Menopause Affect My Sex Drive

Yes, menopause can affect your sex drive but it doesnt mean your sex life is over.

Dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can make you feel less sexual desire. The symptoms can also affect your sleep and lower your energy which might make you not so into sex. Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation can also feel like a turn-off. Its also normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or loss while going through menopause.

If you lose interest in sex during this time, itll probably come back when your symptoms stop.

A pretty common symptom that can affect your sexual desire is vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.

For symptoms that affect your sex life, trying one or more of these things can help:

  • Use water- or silicone-based lube when you have sex. You can buy lube at most drugstores or online.

  • Give your yourself more time to feel aroused. Moisture from being aroused protects sensitive tissues.

  • Have sex and/or masturbate more often. This increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep your vaginal tissue healthy.

Some people may actually find that they want to have sex MORE after menopause, because they dont have to worry about getting pregnant. This may give you a sense of freedom to enjoy a renewed and exciting sex life.

Menopause is a natural biological process. And while it marks the end of your ability to get pregnant, it definitely doesnt have to be the end of your sexuality.

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Are There Any Other Emotional Changes That Can Happen During Menopause

Menopause can cause a variety of emotional changes, including:

  • A loss of energy and insomnia.
  • A lack of motivation and difficulty concentrating.
  • Anxiety, depression, mood changes and tension.
  • Headaches.
  • Aggressiveness and irritability.

All of these emotional changes can happen outside of menopause. You have probably experienced some of them throughout your life. Managing emotional changes during menopause can be difficult, but it is possible. Your healthcare provider may be able to prescribe a medication to help you . It may also help to just know that there is a name to the feeling you are experiencing. Support groups and counseling are useful tools when dealing with these emotional changes during menopause.

Will I Experience The Same Symptoms As My Mother Sister Or Friends

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The symptoms of menopause vary from one woman to another, even in the same families. The age and rate of decline of ovary function differ tremendously. This means youll need to manage your menopause individually. What worked for your mother or best friend may not work for you.

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about menopause. They can help you understand your symptoms and find ways to manage them that work with your lifestyle.

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How Is Vaginal Dryness Treated

There are many over-the-counter lubricants that can be applied to the vaginal area to reduce dryness and discomfort. These lubricants and moisturizing creams can also change the vaginas pH, reducing the likelihood of getting a UTI.

Women should choose a lubricant specifically intended for vaginal use. The lubricant should be water-based. They shouldnt contain perfumes, herbal extracts, or artificial colors. These can cause irritation.

Lubricants such as petroleum jelly and mineral oil can damage latex condoms and diaphragms used for birth control.

In some instances, a healthcare provider will prescribe estrogen therapy in the form of a pill, cream, or ring, which release estrogen.

Creams and rings release estrogen directly to the tissues. Pills are more likely to be used when you have other uncomfortable menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes.

Because many products can irritate delicate vaginal skin, its important to seek evaluation and treatment advice at a physicians office if the condition persists.

What Is The Menopause

The menopause refers to that time in every womans life when her periods stop and her ovaries lose their reproductive function. Usually, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but in a few exceptional cases women may become menopausal in their 30s, or even younger. This is then known as a premature menopause, or premature ovarian insufficiency.

The menopause is influenced by hormones or more correctly, by a change in hormone levels. During a womans fertile years, her ability to produce an egg each month is associated with the release of three reproductive hormones , that are referred to collectively as oestrogen. Oestrogen is mainly produced by the ovaries, though small amounts are also made by the adrenal glands and by the placenta of a pregnant woman.

It is oestrogen which stimulates female characteristics at puberty and controls a womans reproductive cycle: the development and release of an egg each month for implantation in the uterus , and the way in which the lining of the womb thickens to accept a fertilized egg. The monthly period happens because no implantation has taken place there is no pregnancy and the lining of the womb is shed.

At around the age of 50-55 years, the monthly cycle stops completely so no more ovulations, no more periods and no more pregnancies. This is the menopause.

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The Physiological And Metabolic Changes Of Menopause

What exactly is happening during menopause? A lot! The transition to menopause, known as perimenopause, takes place over a period of several years. As the ovaries gradually reduce estrogen production, there are many hormonal fluctuations as the body adjusts to the inevitable shut-down of the ovaries.

A woman is officially in menopause when she has not gotten her period for 12-months straight. At this point, the ovaries have significantly reduced production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, ending a womans child-bearing years.

There are significant physiological and metabolic changes occurring at this time that directly affect your body composition. So, if you feel like the struggle to lose weight or change your body is more difficult than it was 10 or 15 years ago, its not your imagination.

What Is Perimenopause Its When Menopause Symptoms Begin

These 8 tips help you control hot flashes during menopause!

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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