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What Happens To Ovaries In Menopause

Are There Any Risks Related To Hormone Therapy

What is Menopause?

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.

What Can Be Done

Lifestyle factors

A healthy lifestyle can minimize the effects of the menopause, helping to keep the heart and bones strong. Many women feel that this is a good time to review the way they treat their body. Here are some tips to consider:

Complementary & alternative therapies

These have become a popular choice and many women use them, although limited scientific research has been done to support their effect or indeed their safety. They may sometimes help with troublesome symptoms, but they are unlikely to have a significant impact on bone strength, the heart or blood vessels.

Choosing a complementary or alternative therapy can be a challenge; so many different ones exist. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal treatments, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, yoga and reflexology have all been reported as being helpful in the menopause.

To find out more about available therapies, please consult the WHC fact sheet Complementary/alternative therapies for menopausal women.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective and widely used treatment for menopausal symptoms. As its name suggests, it is simply a way of replacing the hormone oestrogen that is lost during the menopause.

Ovarian Cysts During Menopause

Even in perimenopause and into postmenopause, ovarian cysts are more common than most women think, and if not addressed properly, they can lead to life-long complications.

Continue reading to learn more about ovarian cysts during menopause, including what they are, symptoms, causes, and how to find effective treatment for long-lasting relief.

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Ovary Pain During Menopause: Should You Worry And When To See Your Doctor

If your periods have stopped, ovary pain during menopause is likely from another cause.

Menopause is that time of life when your periods end because your body stops producing the female hormone estrogen. Youve experienced cramps and pain around the uterus and ovaries for years because of physiological changes that cause the shedding of the lining of the uterus.

Most women welcome menopause symptoms as it means an end to all that discomfort. But what if you are continuing to have cramps and ovary pain? If your periods have stopped, ovary pain during menopause is likely from another cause.

When Do I Know That Im Having A Hot Flash

How Long Does Menopause Last?

During a hot flash, youll likely feel your body temperature rise. Hot flashes affect the top half of your body, and your skin may even turn red in color or become blotchy. This rush of heat could lead to sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of dizziness. After the hot flash, you may feel cold.

Hot flashes may come on daily or even multiple times a day. You may experience them over the course of a year or even several years.

Avoiding triggers may reduce the number of hot flashes you experience. These can include:

  • consuming alcohol or caffeine

Being overweight and smoking may also make hot flashes worse.

A few techniques may help reduce your hot flashes and their symptoms:

  • Dress in layers to help with hot flashes, and use a fan in your home or office space.
  • Do breathing exercises during a hot flash to try to minimize it.

Medications such as birth control pills, hormone therapy, or even other prescriptions may help you reduce hot flashes. See your doctor if youre having difficulty managing hot flashes on your own.

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What Is Male Menopause

Because men do not go through a well-defined period referred to as menopause, some doctors refer to this problem as androgen decline in the aging male or what some people call low testosterone. It is normal for men to experience a decline in the production of the male hormone testosterone with aging, but this also occurs with conditions such as diabetes.

Along with the decline in testosterone, some men experience symptoms that include:

  • Sexual problems

The relationship of these symptoms to decreased testosterone levels is still controversial.

Unlike menopause in women, when hormone production stops completely, testosterone decline in men is a slower process. The testes, unlike the ovaries, do not run out of the substance it needs to make testosterone. Healthy men may be able to make sperm well into their 80s or later.

However, as a result of disease, subtle changes in the function of the testes may occur as early as age 45 to 50 and more dramatically after the age of 70 in some men.

What Is Hormone Therapy

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 a woman still has 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.

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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.

What Happens And How Does It Feel

What happens to my hormones after a hysterectomy “Surgical Menopause”?

For some women this loss of reproductive ability may be deeply felt, and for all women the menopause is a personal experience, not just a medical condition. However, the diminishing release of oestrogen from the ovary as women advance into their 40s is often the cause of symptoms which can be distressing and may need medical attention.

Hot flushes are the most common symptom of the menopause, occurring in three in every four menopausal women. Other common symptoms include night sweats, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, irritated skin, more frequent urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections, low mood and a reduced interest in sex. Symptoms vary hugely in duration, severity and what impact they have on women.

All the common symptoms of the menopause are associated with a decrease in the bodys production of oestrogen. Oestrogen lack can affect many parts of the body, including the brain, causing changes in emotional well-being, and the skin, influencing its elasticity and thickness.

There is also some evidence that oestrogen deficiency is the cause of some chemical changes in the body which make women after the menopause especially vulnerable to heart disease and stroke.

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Try A Prescription Cream

If youve tried over-the-counter options and youre still dry down thereor your sex drive continues to circle the draintalk to your doctor about medical treatments that can help. One possibility: low-dose estrogen vaginal creams that contain the anti-aging hormone DHA.

A cream isnt your only option. Tablets and rings that go into the vagina and are absorbed via skin are also available. Also, a once-a-day, hormone-free drug, Osphena, has been approved by the FDA that helps thicken vaginal tissue so pain and tearing are less likely. Osphena isnt for everyone, so if youre considering it, check in with your ob-gyn and find out if youre a candidate to take it.

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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Surgery May Be Less Complicated Than You’d Think

The least invasive way to remove the ovaries is laparoscopically, meaning a teeny camera is inserted through a small incision in the belly button to guide removal, Siedhoff says. “There’s a decrease in risk of complications like a blood clot or an infection, and you’ll spend less time in the hospital,” compared with an open surgery, he explains. A laparoscopic procedure also makes for a “better cosmetic effect,” he says, while open surgery leaves a scar much like one from a C-section. Open surgery can take a little longer to recover from but may be necessary for some women.

How Your Doctor Will Investigate Postmenopausal Bleeding

Ovarian Cysts during Menopause

If you do experience unusual or postmenopausal bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor to have the problem investigated, says Dr. Berkowitz. Your doctor will likely recommend an ultrasound, a biopsy, or both. Ultrasound can measure the thickness of the lining inside the uterus. In some women with endometrial cancer, this lining becomes thicker than usual, which alerts doctors to the possibility that it is cancerous. Not all thickened linings mean cancer, though. The ultrasound should be followed by a biopsy, even if the ultrasound doesnt show any thickening of the uterine lining, says Dr. Berkowitz. A biopsy can often be done as an in-office procedure, in which the doctor uses a thin tube with a collection device on the end to gather some uterine cells. The sample is then examined under a microscope to check for cancer or precancerous changes.

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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.

What About Stress Relief

In the same vein as the studies that show evidence for the natural antidepressant properties of semen, some believe it could also have stress-relieving properties.

This claim is due to the mood-boosting properties of oxytocin and progesterone hormones, the both of which are found in semen.

Its also thought that vitamin C and other antioxidants found in semen may help reduce sperm impairment by fighting oxidative stress within semen.

Maybe. Similarly to how some studies have shown mood-lifting and anxiety-reducing benefits, semen exposure could help with pregnancy health.

A found that females who were exposed to sperm for longer periods, both before and during pregnancy, were less likely to develop preeclampsia, a rare pregnancy complication.

However, this is only one study, and more research is needed to support these findings.

contains melatonin, the natural hormone your body releases to regulate sleep cycles.

This may explain why some people feel tired after swallowing semen or being exposed to it during intercourse.

There hasnt been any research on this, so theres no way to know for sure.

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How Is A Womans Hormonal State Different If One Or Both Ovaries Are Removed

By removing the ovaries, you are removing the production centers for estrogen and progesterone, according to Premier Health Specialists physicians.

If only one ovary is removed, the remaining ovary will compensate for the one that was removed, according to PHS physicians. In most cases, women who have only one ovary still have normal menstrual cycles, can still become pregnant, and do not experience any symptoms of hormonal changes.

If both of the ovaries are removed during a hysterectomy, a woman will immediately experience menopause, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .

Menopause occurs because without any ovaries, the body no longer has estrogen or progesterone. Menopause can cause symptoms including hot flashes, moodiness, slowed metabolism, and vaginal dryness, according to the ACOG.

For more information about what happens to a womans hormonal state when one or both ovaries are removed, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Prevention Of Osteoporosis And Hip Fracture

What is menopause?

Another drawback to EO is an increased risk of hip fracture. Hip fracture risk rises due to the decrease in bone mineral density when estrogen levels drop following natural or surgical menopause., The value of ovarian conservation and the presence of estrogen in premenopausal women can be seen when considering the rise in hip fractures following the mass discontinuation of ET among postmenopausal women in light of the initial Womens Health Initiation trial publication. More importantly, however, ovarian conservation in postmenopausal women has been shown to reduce the rate of bone loss due to the small amounts of estrogen produced, even in the absence of ET. This point is emphasized in a population-based study by Melton et al in which women who received postmenopausal oophorectomies were followed for fracture incidents over a median of 16 years. Their analysis found a 32% increase in overall fracture risk in this group when compared with postmenopausal women with their ovaries intact.

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When Does Menopause Occur

Although the average age of menopause is 51, menopause can actually happen any time from the 30s to the mid-50s or later. Women who smoke and are underweight tend to have an earlier menopause, while women who are overweight often have a later menopause. Generally, a woman tends to have menopause at about the same age as her mother did.

Menopause can also happen for reasons other than natural reasons. These include:

  • Premature menopause. Premature menopause may happen when there is ovarian failure before the age of 40. It may be associated with smoking, radiation exposure, chemotherapeutic drugs, or surgery that impairs the ovarian blood supply. Premature ovarian failure is also called primary ovarian insufficiency.

  • Surgical menopause. Surgical menopause may follow the removal of one or both ovaries, or radiation of the pelvis, including the ovaries, in premenopausal women. This results in an abrupt menopause. These women often have more severe menopausal symptoms than if they were to have menopause naturally.

Symptoms Of Ovarian Cysts After Menopause

Though ovarian cysts don’t always cause symptoms and can disappear on their own, there are some symptoms that may indicate their presence.

The most common symptoms of ovarian cysts after menopause, especially those large in size, include:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • Bloating or heaviness of the abdomen

Other symptoms that might indicate a ruptured cysts and call for an immediate medical attention include:

  • Pain with nausea and vomiting
  • Fever, weakness, and dizziness
  • Rapid breathing

Although ovarian cysts are usually benign, visit your doctor regularly to get symptoms checked out, especially in postmenopause.

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What Are Symptoms Of Ovarian Cysts

In women of all ages, ovarian cysts usually do not show symptoms. Oftentimes, women will not know of their presence until a routine pelvic exam.

However, when they are symptomatic, the most common ones are:

  • Nausea
  • Sharp or dull pain in the lower abdomen, usually on one side
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount of food

If you experience sudden, severe pelvic pain; cold, clammy skin; rapid breathing; lightheadedness; or pain with a fever or vomiting, seek immediate medical attention as the cyst has most probably ruptured.

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