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What Happens When A Woman Goes Through Menopause

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For people who cannot take estrogen therapy, or choose not to, Stuenkel says some drugs in the antidepressant family, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, can help with hot flashes. Stuenkel says, While theyre not perfect, they can take the edge off and help enough so that women can get a better nights sleep.

There are an abundance of nonhormonal, nondrug treatment options for managing symptoms, some of which have significantly more evidence backing them than others. In 2015, a North American Menopause Society panel found that cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis were significantly effective in treating hot flashes. The same panel also found that popular herbal remedies are unlikely to help, although some NPR listeners who wrote in said they got relief from some of those treatments.

For depressive and anxiety symptoms, women may want to seek out professional counseling or a psychiatrist.

When do I need to see a doctor?

You might not need to at all. Some people sail right through menopause with little trouble. But if you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your life, its worth making an appointment. Some of these symptoms could indicate other problems that need treatment, such as fibroids or even cancer.

Ways to cope with symptoms

For people approaching this stage of life or who are already going through it, here are four steps for making this transition more manageable.

1. Get educated

The Vulva Looks Different

Menopause triggers changes to more than just the vagina it can also alter the look of the vulva. We see an actual thinning and flattening out of the labia minora, says Streicher. Over time, some women completely lose their labia minora.

Heres why thats important to know: Its not always enough to treat the inside of your vagina outside problems can make penetration impossible, she says. At your appointment, a doctor should evaluate both areas.

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Determining Your Menopause Age

Theres no simple test that can tell you when youll reach menopause, but researchers are working on creating one.

Examining your family history may be the most accurate way to help you predict when you might experience the change. Youll likely reach menopause around the same age as your mother and, if you have any, sisters.

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Feeling Positive About The Menopause

Women may experience physical and emotional changes during menopause but that doesnt mean life has taken a turn for the worse! Many women are prompted at this time to take stock of their lives and set new goals. The menopause occurs at a time when many women may be juggling roles as mothers of teenagers, as carers of elderly parents, and as members of the workforce. Experts suggest that creating some me time is important to maintain life balance. Menopause can be seen as a new beginning: its a good time to assess lifestyle, health and to make a commitment to strive for continuing wellness in the mature years.

Are You Headed Toward Early Menopause

What Happens to Your Body While Going Through Menopause?

There are many negative health consequences linked to early menopause, including a higher risk of osteoporosis and fracture, heart disease, cognitive impairment and dementia, and early death, says Dr. Faubion.

If you have questions about when youll experience menopause and if you can do anything to change it, keep reading for answers.

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Can I Still Get Pregnant After Being Diagnosed With Premature Menopause Early Menopause Or Primary/premature Ovarian Insufficiency

Unless the ovaries have been surgically removed, it can be difficult to diagnose a woman younger than age 45 with menopause as opposed to primary ovarian insufficiency . Women with POI can have intermittent ovulation, which may or may not be accompanied by a menstrual bleed. Other women may be able to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization with egg donation. It is important to work with a fertility specialist to explore options.

Options available to you will vary depending on whether you have interest in having children in the future. In some cases, fertility may be restored and pregnancy could be possible. Assisted reproductive technology , including in vitro fertilization might be considered.

If you do not want to get pregnant while on hormone-replacement therapy, your doctor will talk to you about contraceptive options.

Talk to your healthcare provider about possible causes of premature or early menopause and your questions regarding fertility.

Physical Symptoms Of Menopause

Symptoms commonly reported by peri- and post-menopausal women include hot flushes and night sweats, bodily aches and pains, dry skin, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, urinary frequency, and sleeping difficulties. Some women may have unwanted hair growth, thinning of scalp and pubic hair and skin changes. Not everyone finds the symptoms bothersome but about 60% of women will have mild symptoms for around 4-8 years. Twenty per cent of women will have no symptoms at all while another 20% will be severely affected, with symptoms continuing into their 60s or later3.

Now that women live around one third of their lives after menopause, optimizing physical and mental health during this period is becoming more important.

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Celebrating What Happens After Menopause

I hope Ive eased your mind about some of the concerns women have about what happens after menopause. In my practice, Ive helped so many women discover how much there is to rejoice about when they reach postmenopause, and I want to help you too. Lets look at all the things that are great about these years.

What Other Factors Influence When Perimenopause Starts Or When A Woman Reaches Menopause

What to Expect During Perimenopause

New research published online on April 12 in Menopause, the journal of NAMS, looked at the various factors that may affect the age when natural menopause occurs.

They found that there are factors that do seem predictive of when a woman will approach menopause, such as higher estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone levels, which weve known for a while,” says Streicher. Irregular menstrual bleeding and hot flashes were also indicators of earlier menopause, she adds.

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One new finding uncovered in the research was around alcohol consumption. The authors observed that participants tended to increase their alcohol consumption when approaching menopause, making it a potential clue that the change was coming.

That makes sense, says Streicher. This can be a time of added stress for women, and we know that any stressful situation can cause someone to drink more, she says.

Although this study didnt find a strong association with smoking, other research has indicated that smoking is related to early onset of menopause, says Streicher.

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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.

Will Your Marriage Survive The Menopause

Menopause is a period of profound physical and emotional change for women. However, this is difficult for the husbands and partners to understand, especially those who do not know anything about this critical period of womans life.

The issue of marriages surviving the menopause period is a thorny issue that is rarely spoken about even though it touches millions of people.

Studies on men married to women undergoing menopause have shown that womans menopause significantly affect them. This despite the common belief that menopause is just period that affects women because they are the ones who go through this stage in life.

According to Sue Brayne, a psychotherapist, men are equally affected by their womens menopause. This is even hard for men as they find it challenging to open about what they are going through as compared to women.

Some of the men that accept to hold an open conversation on the effects of their womens menopause confess that it is hard for them to talk about the matter but they feel a sense of relief when they do so.

According to most men, the changes that their partners go through are frightening and strange. Therefore, menopause puts much pressure on most marriages, with some just holding up in the relationships because of their children.

The most important thing to do to ensure that your marriage survives the menopause is to consult and learn how other couples have managed the situation.

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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.

What Can I Do To Help Myself

How Does Menopause Affect A Woman

To help you manage hot flushes, simple things like wearing light clothing, using a fan and keeping your bedroom cool could help.

If youre struggling with your mood, consider trying self-help measures like relaxation, getting enough sleep and staying active. Regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet can also help to improve menopausal symptoms.

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How Does Menopause Affect My Bone Health

The decline in estrogen production can affect the amount of calcium in your bones. This can cause significant decreases in bone density, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis. It can also make you more susceptible to hip, spine, and other bone fractures. Many women experience accelerated bone loss the first few years after their last menstrual period.

To keep your bones healthy:

  • Eat foods with lots of calcium, such as dairy products or dark leafy greens.
  • Take vitamin D supplements.
  • Exercise regularly and include weight training in your exercise routine.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid smoking.

There are prescription medications you may want to discuss with your doctor to prevent bone loss as well.

At What Age Do Most Women Reach Menopause

The medical definition of menopause is no menstrual bleeding for a year, according to Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the medical director of the Northwestern Center for Menopause and the Northwestern Center for Sexual Medicine in Chicago.

Most women experience menopause between age 40 and 58, and the average age at menopause is 51, according to the North American Menopause Society.

Many women are surprised when they go through menopause in their forties because they think theyre too young, but its not unusual, says Dr. Streicher.

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How Is Early Menopause Treated Or Managed

Early menopause generally doesnt require treatment. However, there are treatment options available to help manage the symptoms of menopause or conditions related to it. They can help you deal with changes in your body or lifestyle more easily.

Premature menopause, however, is often treated since it occurs at such an early age. This helps support your body with the hormones that would normally be made until you reach the age of natural menopause.

The most common treatment includes hormone replacement therapy . Systemic hormone therapy can prevent many common menopausal symptoms. Or you may take vaginal hormone products, usually in low doses, to help with vaginal symptoms.

HRT does have risks though. It can increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, or breast cancer.

Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits to your individual care before starting HRT. Lower doses of hormones may decrease your risk.

What Age Will I Be When I Go Through Menopause

Menopause Weight Gain Series Day 3 – What happens to your body as you move through the menopause.

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 And Yep Cold Flashes Too

In her early 50s, Liza, 58, of New York City, started having hot flashes that woke her up at night, though she didnt really realize what they were. That soon changed when she began having them during the day.

They were full-blown drenchers, where the sweat would pour down my face, for 10 minutes. And theyd occur every half-hour or so, she says. She carried a fan with her on the subway so she could cool down after a particularly bad flash. She always had tissues to sop up the sweat, and she stopped using facial moisturizer because just putting it on made me sweat.

So, whats the deal with hot flashes? Deep inside your brain is the cone-shaped hypothalmus, which, among other things, controls body temperature and hormone production. When estrogen levels drop, the hypothalamus has a harder time keeping your core temperature stable. If the brain senses your body is getting hotter , the hypothalmus will trigger the blood vessels to dilate to get rid of the extra heat.

Those hellish hot flashes made Liza miserable, so she asked her gynecologist about hormone therapy . HT are pills or patches that pump female hormones back into your body. Not everyone is a good candidate for hormone therapy. Women who have a history of breast cancer or blood clots are considered at higher risk for strokes or breast cancer because estrogen plays a role in both. But for most women, these risks are minimized if youre put on a low dose and you start before age 60 .

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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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Oral Contraceptives And Vaginal Treatments

Oral contraceptive pills

Oral contraceptive pills are another form of hormone therapy often prescribed for women in perimenopause to treat irregular vaginal bleeding. Women in the menopausal transition tend to have considerable breakthrough bleeding when given estrogen therapy. Therefore, oral contraceptives are often given to women in the menopause transition to regulate menstrual periods, relieve hot flashes, as well as to provide contraception. They are not recommended for women who have already reached menopause, because the dose of estrogen is higher than that needed to control hot flashes and other symptoms. The contraindications for oral contraceptives in women going through the menopause transition are the same as those for premenopausal women.

Local hormone and non-hormone treatments

There are also local hormonal treatments for the symptoms of vaginal estrogen deficiency. Local treatments include the vaginal estrogen ring , vaginal estrogen cream, or vaginal estrogen tablets. Local and oral estrogen treatments are sometimes combined for this purpose.

Vaginal moisturizing agents such as creams or lotions as well as the use of lubricants during intercourse are non-hormonal options for managing the discomfort of vaginal dryness.

What Is Perimenopause

How Does Menopause Affect a Woman

Perimenopause has been variously defined, but experts generally agree that it begins with irregular menstrual cycles courtesy of declining ovarian function and ends a year after the last menstrual period.

Perimenopause varies greatly from one woman to the next. The average duration is three to four years, although it can last just a few months or extend as long as a decade. Some women feel buffeted by hot flashes and wiped out by heavy periods many have no bothersome symptoms. Periods may end more or less abruptly for some, while others may menstruate erratically for years. Fortunately, as knowledge about reproductive aging has grown, so have the options for treating some of its more distressing features.

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When To See A Gp

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 Age Is Considered Early For Menopause

If you reach menopause before age 40, that is considered premature menopause, says Faubion. This occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of women, she says.

Experiencing menopause at 40 to 45 years of age is called early menopause, and that occurs in about 5 to 7 percent of the population, so its safe to say that at least 7 percent of women are going to go through menopause early or prematurely, says Faubion. Menopause at age 46 or older is considered normal, she says.

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Hair Loss Or Thinning

While hair loss tends to be subtler in women overall than in men, most women experience thinning rather than bald spots or chunks of hair falling out. Hair thinning for women can occur on the front, sides, or top of the head and can fall out most noticeably during brushing and showering.

Hair loss during menopause is the direct result of the hormonal imbalance women experience in menopause. So you can thank lower levels of estrogen and progesterone again for your hair thinning. As these levels drop, hair grows slowly and can become thinner.

Some women can also experience irregular hair growth on their face and body due to a higher level of testosterone during menopause. This can cause thick and coarse hair to grow on areas, such as the face, arms, back, or chest.


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