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What Happens To A Woman’s Body During Menopause

Can Menopause Affect My Sex Life

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

After menopause, your body has less estrogen. This major change in your hormonal balance can affect your sex life. Many menopausal women may notice that theyre not as easily aroused as before. Sometimes, women also may be less sensitive to touch and other physical contact than before menopause.

These feelings, coupled with the other emotional changes you may be experiencing, can all lead to a decreased interest in sex. Keep in mind that your body is going through a lot of change during menopause. Some of the other factors that can play a role in a decreased sex drive can include:

  • Having bladder control problems.
  • Having trouble sleeping through the night.
  • Experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.
  • Coping with other medical conditions and medications.

All of these factors can disrupt your life and even cause tension in your relationship. In addition to these changes, the lower levels of estrogen in your body can actually cause a decrease in the blood supply to the vagina. This can cause dryness. When you dont have the right amount of lubrication in the vagina, it can be thin, pale and dry. This can lead to painful intercourse.

When Does Menopause Start

Though menopause is defined as starting one year after the end of a person last period, they may begin experiencing symptoms earlier.

According to the North American Menopause Society, the average age for a woman to reach menopause in the United States is 51 years. However, this age range varies. Menopause may happen early when a woman is in her forties or later when she is in her late 50s.

The onset of menopause can also follow surgery that reduces ovarian function or hormones, such as a hysterectomy, where a surgeon removes the uterus, or surgery or other treatments for cancer. In these circumstances, symptoms may begin rapidly as an adverse effect of these procedures.

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

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What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause

You may be transitioning into menopause if you begin experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:

These symptoms can be a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen, or a sign of increased fluctuation in hormone levels. Not all women get all of these symptoms. However, women affected with new symptoms of racing heart, urinary changes, headaches, or other new medical problems should see a doctor to make sure there is no other cause for these symptoms.

What Age Will I Be When I Go Through Menopause

Menopause And How To Rebalance The Hormones

The average age for onset of menopause is 51. The majority of women stop having periods somewhere between ages 45 to 55. The beginning stages of declining ovary function can start years before that in some women. Others will continue to have menstrual periods into their late 50s.

The age of menopause is

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Hot Flashes During Menopause

Hot flashes are moments in menopause when the body suddenly experiences a surge in heat, plus sweating and increased heartbeat. When the hot flash passes, which is usually between one to five minutes, the body will feel a sudden chill. Hot flashes cannot be controlled;and natural herbal remedies should be taken only under the advice of a doctor.

However, there are some things you can do at home to regulate your body temperature during menopause. Wear layers that can be removed during a hot flash. At night, when hot flashes can disrupt sleep , try sleeping under layers of covers that can be removed, wear light sleepwear, use a cooling pillow, and keep a ceiling or electric fan on to circulate cool air. Some people find it helpful to keep an ice pack at their feet and under their pillow.

Is Having A Hard Time Concentrating And Being Forgetful A Normal Part Of Menopause

Unfortunately, concentration and minor memory problems can be a normal part of menopause. Though this doesnt happen to everyone, it can happen. Doctors arent sure why this happens. If youre having memory problems during menopause, call your healthcare provider. There are several activities that have been shown to stimulate the brain and help rejuvenate your memory. These activities can include:

  • Doing crossword puzzles and other mentally stimulating activities like reading and doing math problems.
  • Cutting back on passive activities like watching TV.
  • Getting plenty of exercise.

Keep in mind that depression and anxiety can also impact your memory. These conditions can be linked to menopause.

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Ht Forms And Regimens

HT comes in several forms:

  • Oral tablets or pills
  • Vaginal ring
  • Topical gel or spray

HT pills and skin patches are considered “systemic” therapy because the medication delivered affects the entire body. The risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers is higher with hormone pills than with skin patches or other transdermal forms.

Vaginal forms of HT are called “local” therapy. Doctors generally prescribe vaginal applications of low-dose estrogen therapy to specifically treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex. This type of ET is available in a cream, tablet, or ring that is inserted into the vagina.

“Bioidentical” Hormones

“Bioidentical” hormone therapy is promoted as a supposedly more natural and safer alternative to commercial prescription hormones. Bioidentical hormones are typically compounded in a pharmacy. Some compounding pharmacies claim that they can customize these formulations based on saliva tests that show a woman’s individual hormone levels.

The FDA and many professional medical associations warn patients that “bioidentical” is a marketing term that has no scientific validity. Formulations sold in these pharmacies have not undergone FDA regulatory scrutiny. Some of these compounds contain estriol, a weak form of estrogen, which has not been approved by the FDA for use in any drug. In addition, saliva tests do not give accurate or realistic results, as a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day.

How Does Menopause Affect My Bladder Control

What happens to your body during menopause?

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 .
  • Urge incontinence .
  • Painful urination .
  • Nocturia .

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What Triggers A Hot Flash

There are quite a few normal things in your daily life that could set off a hot flash. Some things to look out for include:

  • Caffeine.
  • Tight clothing.
  • Stress and anxiety.

Heat, including hot weather, can also trigger a hot flash. Be careful when working out in hot weather this could cause a hot flash.

Can Menopause Affect Sleep

Some women may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.

If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:

  • Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
  • Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.

Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.

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What Are Hot Flashes And How Long Will I Have Them

Hot flashes are one of the most frequent symptoms of menopause. It is a brief sensation of heat. Hot flashes arent the same for everyone and theres no definitive reason that they happen. Aside from the heat, hot flashes can also come with:

  • A red, flushed face.
  • Sweating.
  • A chilled feeling after the heat.

Hot flashes not only feel different for each person they also can last for various amounts of time. Some women only have hot flashes for a short period of time during menopause. Others can have some kind of hot flash for the rest of their life. Typically, hot flashes are less severe as time goes on.

Emotional And Cognitive Symptoms

Menopause Signs and 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.

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You’ll Eventually Stop Menstruating

The reason that people have a menstrual cycle to begin with is to prepare the body for pregnancy, as noted by Healthline. When you bleed once per month, that’s the body expelling the lining of the uterus if no egg is implanted inside of it.

To that end, when you go through menopause, your body stops preparing for pregnancy, according to OB/GYN Dr. Alyssa Dweck. “Eventually ovulation ceases for all women, and thus estrogen levels decline and no longer produce a thick, lush lining of tissue in the uterus to prepare for pregnancy,” she shared with The List. “Menstruation will naturally stop … for this reason.”

While menopause may be a difficult time for some, for many people it can be a relief, as you no longer need to buy menstrual products and won’t struggle with menstrual-related problems. And while there’s a lot about menopause that’s difficult, OB/GYN Dr. Christiane Northrup says it has its perks. “You become far more intuitive, you are no longer satisfied with the status quo, and you find your voice in a different way,” she wrote in The Secret Pleasures of Menopause . We’re here for it!

Your Libido May Increase Or Decrease When You Go Through Menopause

As you’re probably already aware, the hormones in your body are responsible for how much or how little you crave intimacy, as noted by Medical News Today. It’s not surprising, then, that going through menopause will have an impact on your libido, according to OB/GYN Dr. Alyssa Dweck, INTIMINA’s Sexual and Reproductive Health expert.;”Hormones including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are variable during the peri-menopausal years and plummet with menopause,” she shared with The List. “Although libido is complicated for women, these hormones are incredibly influential.”

While this hormonal flux can result in a decreased libido in later stages of menopause, Dweck says that in earlier stages, you might find yourself especially randy. “While this is not universal, many women experience heightened sexual drive during the peri-menopausal years, the four to eight years prior to menopause which is by definition, 12 consecutive months of no menses,”;she continued.;”During this time, reproductive potential is winding down.” And that’s also when the baby fever might set in, so be aware of that and plan accordingly.;

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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

How Menopause Changes Your Body And What You Can Do About It

What happens to my body during menopause?

Home┬╗How Menopause Changes Your Body and What You Can Do About It

Editors Note: This post;was updated on;,;for accuracy and comprehensiveness. It;was;originally published on May 27, 2017

Menopause, which literally means the pause of your menses , comes with many natural changes. Some women are lucky enough to skate through this time with no discomfort, while many experience the classic symptoms: fatigue, insomnia, and hot flashes. Reproductive and mood changes. And of course, the metabolic changes that result in weight gain around the torso and buttocks.

This increase in waist size has even earned a special name: menopot.

What exactly is going on during menopause, how does it affect your body composition, and what can you do about it? Read on as we answer these questions and more.

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What Can I Do About Hot Flashes

Hot flashes occur from a decrease in estrogen levels. In response to this, your glands release higher amounts of other hormones that affect the brain’s thermostat, causing your body temperature to fluctuate. Hormone therapy has been shown to relieve some of the discomfort of hot flashes for many women. However, the decision to start using these hormones should be made only after you and your healthcare provider have evaluated your risk versus benefit ratio.

To learn more about women’s health, and specifically hormone therapy, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health launched the Women’s Health Initiative in 1991. The hormone trial had 2 studies: the estrogen-plus-progestin study of women with a uterus and the estrogen-alone study of women without a uterus. Both studies ended early when the research showed that hormone therapy did not help prevent heart disease and it increased risk for some medical problems. Follow-up studies found an increased risk of heart disease in women who took estrogen-plus-progestin therapy, especially those who started hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause.

The WHI recommends that women follow the FDA advice on hormone therapy. It states that hormone therapy should not be taken to prevent heart disease.

Practical suggestions for coping with hot flashes include:

What Is A Hot Flash

An estimated 75% of women experience hot flashes while going through menopause. A hot flash is when you suddenly feel warm or hot, followed by feeling cold. Typically, the skin flushes and the heart beats faster. Hot flashes that occur during sleep are labeled as night sweats.

While hot flashes vary from woman to woman, the often last around one to two minutes. They can be mild or severe and change in frequency depending on the woman.

Some women might continue to experience hot flashes as they enter into postmenopause, though, certain medications can also bring them on.

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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.

When You Go Through Menopause You May Suffer From Insomnia

What Happens to the Emotions During Menopause: Mood Swings ...

Speaking of feeling tired, according to the CDC, one in three American adults aren’t getting enough sleep at night, which is seven or more hours a night. Unfortunately, your beauty sleep might get interrupted more when you go through menopause, says immunologist Dr. Lina Velikova. “Women in menopause might experience sleeping problems due to hormonal changes that happen during these times,” she revealed to The List. “Hot flashes and night sweats are frequently impossible to manage during night time, and they can cause disturbed sleep, which can further down spiral into every aspect of a woman’s life.”

While reaching for an extra cup of coffee might help you fight the Zs during the day, it’s still important try to get as best of a night’s rest as possible. According to Healthline, some ways you can do just that are tinkering with your light exposure, managing your caffeine consumption, taking a melatonin supplement, and being mindful of what you eat and drink.

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