Healthy Diet And Menopause
Suggestions for maintaining good health through diet at the time of menopause include:
- Choose a wide variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, cereals, whole grains and small portions of lean meat, fish or chicken.
- Increase fluids and eat low-fat dairy foods with high calcium content.
What Happens To A Woman’s Body During Menopause
. Furthermore, how does menopause affect a woman’s body?
Menopause can cause many changes in your body. The symptoms are the result of a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone in your ovaries. Symptoms may include hot flashes, weight gain, or vaginal dryness. Menopause can also increase your risk for certain conditions like osteoporosis.
Additionally, what changes occur during menopause? Many women who undergo natural menopause report no physical changes at all during the perimenopausal years except irregular menstrual periods that eventually stop when they reach menopause. Other changes may include hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, memory problems, mood disturbances, vaginal dryness, and weight gain.
Keeping this in view, what are the 34 symptoms of menopause?
The 34 symptoms of menopause
- Hot flushes. One of the most common symptoms of menopause, hot flushes affect around 75% of menopausal women.
- Night sweats.
- Breast soreness.
What happens to your body after the menopause?
The shift in hormones as well as changes to blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and triglycerides can also occur following menopause. According to the American Heart Association, one in three women develop cardiovascular disease. There’s an increase in incidence of heart attacks for women 10 years after menopause.
What Happens At Menopause
Women are born with about a million eggs in each ovary. By puberty about 300,000 eggs remain, and by menopause there are no active eggs left.
On average, a woman in Australia will have 400-500 periods in her lifetime. From about 35-40 years of age, the number of eggs left in your ovaries decreases more quickly and you ovulate less regularly until your periods stop. Menopause means the end of ovulation.
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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.
- 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 may refer you to a menopause specialist if your symptoms do not improve after trying treatment or if you’re unable to take HRT.
What Causes Postmenopausal Bleeding
Vaginal bleeding during postmenopause isn’t a normal side effect of decreasing hormone levels. In some cases, the dryness in your vagina could cause some light bleeding or spotting after sex. In other cases, it could indicate a condition like endometrial hyperplasia or uterine fibroids, infections like endometritis, or cancer. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any vaginal bleeding so you can be evaluated.
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What Happens During Menopause
Natural menopause isnât caused by any type of medical or surgical treatment. Itâs slow and has three stages:
- Perimenopause. This phase usually begins several years before menopause, when your ovaries slowly make less estrogen. Perimenopause lasts until menopause, the point at which your ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1 to 2 years of this stage, estrogen levels fall faster. Many women have menopause symptoms.
- Menopause. This is when it’s been a year since you had a period. Your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making most of their estrogen.
- Postmenopause. These are the years after menopause. Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes usually ease. But health risks related to the loss of estrogen increase as you get older.
How Do I Manage Symptoms Of Postmenopause On My Own
Certain lifestyle or at-home changes can help you manage symptoms of postmenopause. Some of these include:
- Using a water-based vaginal lubricant during sex to make it more pleasurable. Lubricating the vagina helps with dryness and pain.
- Regular exercise, meditation and other relaxing activities can help with depression and other side effects of postmenopause.
- Eating a diet rich in phytoestrogens such as whole-grain cereals, flaxseed, chickpeas and legumes. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake has also been shown to help.
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It May Shrink In Size
Speaking of sex, a lack of it can change the shape of your vagina. The vagina is comprised of muscle tissue, and like any other muscle, if its not used frequently it can shrink and lose tone, says Dr. May. The best way to keep this from happening is to continue having sex or masturbating during menopause. If its painful, try using a vaginal moisturizer or water-based lubricant, and if that doesnt help, talk to your doctor.
Menopause Symptoms At Age 45
Around the age of 45 many women enter pre-menopause and start to notice the first signs that menopause is coming. For some women, the symptoms are mild and short-lasting. For others, menopause symptoms can be disruptive and long-lasting.
Some of the earliest signs of menopause may include:
Changes to your period
Period changes are usually the first signs of menopause. For example, your period may start to happen every six to eight weeks. Or you may miss a couple months before it comes back again. You may also have a heavier flow or a lighter flow from time to time.
That said, its important to know you can still get pregnant during perimenopause. So, continue to use birth control in the lead up to menopause as you normally would. Also, if youve missed your period and youre not sure whether perimenopause has started, consider taking a pregnancy test as a first step.
As your hormone levels change, you may find yourself more irritable, anxious, sad or forgetful than usual. Your sex drive can also decrease or increase.
These changes are very typical as your body approaches menopause. So, be kind to yourself, practice self-care and ask for help if youre having trouble.
You may find it difficult to get to sleep, or you may wake up in the middle of the night. Sleep trouble can contribute to a constant feeling of tiredness, which can make you moodier.
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Should I Continue Using Birth Control During The Transition To Menopause
Yes. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, the transition to menopause, even if you miss your period for a month or a few months. During perimenopause you may still ovulate, or release an egg, on some months.
But it is impossible to know for sure when you will ovulate. If you dont want to get pregnant, you should continue to use birth control until one full year after your last period. Talk to your doctor about your birth control needs. Learn more about different .
You cant get pregnant after menopause, but anyone who has sex can get . If you are not in a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner have sex with each other and no one else, protect yourself by using a male condom or correctly every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. After menopause you may be more likely to get an STI from sex without a condom. Vaginal dryness or irritation is more common after menopause and can cause small cuts or tears during sex, exposing you to STIs.
Confirming That The Menopause Has Taken Place
Its not always easy to confirm that the menopause has actually happened. Of course, irregular periods and the occasional hot flush are a sign that changes are taking place, but identifying the time of the actual menopause is not so simple, especially if you are taking the Pill or have started Hormone Replacement Therapy for the relief of peri-menopausal symptoms.
The question may seem irrelevant, but it is helpful to know the date of your last period, not only so that you can respond to symptoms in the most appropriate way, but also for contraceptive purposes. A truly menopausal woman will be infertile and will have no need of contraception. However, most doctors advise menopausal women under 50 to continue with their contraception for two years after their last period and for one year if they are over 50.
Most doctors will evaluate a womans menopausal status according to her symptoms , pattern of periods, and medical record. It is possible to take a blood test to measure levels of a reproductive hormone known as FSH. However, while elevated FSH levels may be a sign of the menopause, the test is not always accurate and results cant be guaranteed. Measurement of FSH is not required to diagnose perimenopause or menopause in women aged over 45 years.
This is also the case in those rare instances of premature ovarian Insufficiency, when the hormonal system fails at an early age and the ovaries lose their normal function.
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When Do Women Typically See Changes Within Their Skin After Menopause
Its different for every person, but menopausal skin changes can start several years before the menopause has officially occurred. Changes in the skin due to Menopause are pretty insidious for the majority of women, with many only linking their dry skin or loss of collagen to the Menopause after several years. For some women, the skin changes are fairly noticeable within a month or so especially events like hot flashes.
Dr Mary Sommerlad
Alternative And Complementary Menopause Treatments
Some studies have found that soy products relieve hot flashes, but researchers are still looking into it. There arenât many large studies on whether other supplements such as black cohosh or âbioidenticalâ hormones work for menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor before starting any herbal or dietary supplements.
Yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture are safer ways to manage menopause symptoms.
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What Key Ingredients Work Well For Menopausal Skin And Why
Hyaluronic acid is very important for menopausal skin as it helps retain moisture in the skin giving skin a plumper appearance. Retinoids are also amazing in menopausal skin as they not only improve the appearance of lines and uneven pigmentation, but they also increase skin turnover making skin appear more radiant. They can help increase collagen production which falls during and after the menopause.
Niacinamide has anti inflammatory properties and can help with pigmentation issues such as sun spots. Sunscreen is crucial regardless of phase of life, and in menopause, look for sunscreens containing Hyaluronic acid and Niacinamide which can help sooth skin.
Avoid high concentrations of liquid exfoliators- go for lower concentrations as menopausal skin can be more reactive. Try PHAs or lower concentrations of AHAs to help maintain skin texture.
Dr Mary Sommerlad
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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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.
What Happens During Menopause When A Women Is In The Last Stage
The last stage is the postmenopause. It means that a women for one year did not have any menstrual bleeding. She continues to experience the symptoms for years and basically lives without any major changes except for the aging process. She may have grey hair, sagged skin, impaired concentration, thinking, motion skills among others.
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What Can Be Done About The Decline In Hormones
Empowering yourself with information about yourself is key. This especially applies to menopause. In the first instance knowing that you are not feeling 100% is due to your changing hormones, gives you understanding. In turn, this provides an opportunity to consider your options. These options can range from changes in lifestyle such as increasing exercise to protect bone health, paying extra attention to nutrition and considering pros and cons of HRT, says Dr Keay.
She adds, Despite recent reports, HRT is safe in those who are not contraindicated. Although there is a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer, it is nowhere near as high as the risk associated with suboptimal lifestyle factors such as being overweight, smoking and drinking excessive alcohol. As with any medication risk/benefits must be weighed up for the individual. For many HRT improves quality of life.
Treatment Options For Symptoms Of Menopause
Fortunately, you dont have to live with frequent hot flashes, wild mood swings, or episodes of major depression. There are many treatment options to help manage your menopausal symptoms. For example, our specialists may recommend hormone replacement therapy or bioidentical hormone therapy to replace the estrogen youve lost. HRT can come in pills, creams, patches, injections, or pellets.
If youre going through menopause or perimenopause and experiencing mood swings or other mental health issues, contact The Association for Womens Health Care with offices in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois for help, either by calling or booking an appointment online.
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A Group Of Menopausal Symptoms Previously Known As Vulvovaginal Atrophy And Now Known Genitourinary Syndrome Of Menopause Can Cause Vaginal Dryness And Other Problems
During menopause, your body changes. Chief among women’s complaints: vaginal dryness and other “down there” symptoms. Women agree this condition has a very big negative impact on their lives and self-esteem, using words and phrases like “old” and “less sexual” when describing how it makes them feel.
Why is this happening?
Renowned obstetrician/gynecologist Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a member of HealthyWomen’s health advisory council and a champion of getting the word out to women, helps us out by explaining. She says this group of symptoms was previously known as vulvovaginal atrophy or VVA and is now genitourinary syndrome of menopause, also known as GSM or GUSM.
That’s a mouthful. What exactly is it?
GSM encompasses a group of bothersome symptoms, like vaginal dryness, itching, urinary urgency and increased frequency, urinary tract infections and dyspareunia that affect more than half of women during and after menopause.
Why does this happen?
Blame hormones. Waning levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect the thin layer of moisture coating the vaginal walls. Suddenly, your vagina is more like a va-DRY-na, one of the most irritating aspects of menopause.
I know what a changing vagina feels like, but tell me if what I’m feeling is normal.
Itching, burning, stinging? Yep. All due to dryness, which can cause the vagina to become less elastic, or “stretchy,” too. Sort of muscle weakness, if you will.
Menopause And Complementary Therapies
Some women can benefit from using complementary therapies for menopause. But it is important to remember that natural herb and plant medications can have unpleasant side effects in some women, just like prescribed medications. A registered naturopath may provide long-term guidance and balance through the menopausal years.Herbal therapies can often be taken in conjunction with hormone therapy. It is important to let both your doctor and naturopath know exactly what each has prescribed, and to consult your doctor before taking any herbal treatments or dietary supplements for menopause. Some natural therapies can affect or interact with other medications you may be taking.