How Do You Know When Youre Fully Menopausal
You need to go a full year without a period to say that you are fully menopausal, Dr. , M.D., Yale Clinical Professor of OB-GYN & Reproductive Sciences, tells Woman’s Day. So if you go, say, six months without a period, and then get one alas, that resets the clock. You need to go another full year without a period to make that full year definition.
Once youve gone a year without a period, youre considered menopausal and you dont need to worry about contraceptives for pregnancy prevention any longer.
But dont let a shorter chunk of time fool you if its only been six months without a period, theres still a risk. I have indeed had three women get pregnant at age 46, Dr. Minkin says. These were women who had gone several months without a period and knew they were perimenopausal, but thought the transition was through. Not so.
Dr. Shen recommends birth control pills to women who are perimenopausal and sexually active because it heads off two problems at once. It alleviates their menopause symptoms and helps protect them against unintended pregnancies, she says.
You Get Hot Flashes Or Night Sweats
Low estrogen levels cause hot flashes or hot flushes. This is the most common symptom of menopause. According to the U.S. Office on Womens Health, as many as three out of four women have hot flashes. Hot flashes may happen at night and disrupt sleep. Due to the heavy sweating associated with hot flashes, these episodes are known as night sweats.
These symptoms can start during perimenopause when you still have your period. Hot flashes often stick around for around a year after your period stops but it varies from woman to woman.
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Can Menopause Affect My Sex Life
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.
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When Does Perimenopause Start
Before you experience menopause, youll go through a transitional period, known as perimenopause. This phase can last for months or years, and usually starts when youre in your mid-to-late 40s. On average, most women experience perimenopause for about four years before their periods stop completely.
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.
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When Does Postmenopause Start
Postmenopause is the period of time immediately following menopause. This takes place around the early 50s in most women. Research studies have shown that postmenopause can last for a few months and up to 15 years for some women. Postmenopausal women may still be experiencing menopausal symptoms during this time, although these may have lessened in severity and frequency.
Emotional Impact Of Early Or Premature Menopause
Premature menopause can be emotionally devastating. Some of the common issues women may face include:;
- grief at the prospect of not having children
- fear of ‘growing old before their time’
- concern that their partner wont find them sexually attractive anymore
- self-esteem problems.
Psychological counselling and support groups may help women come to terms with their experience of early or premature menopause.
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A Determination Of Quality Of Life Of Women In Menopausal Period
The concept of quality of life is defined as the perception of the individual about his/her situation in life in the context of the framework of that individuals culture and value systems, goals, expectations, standards and interests. Influenced by a complex number of factors, such as an individuals physical health, psychological status, beliefs, social relations and environment, quality of life is used as an important measurement in assessing health status and the effects of therapies.
In later adult years, the quality of life of women may be adversely affected by the physical and mental changes that may come about in the menopausal transition. Quality of life in menopause is related to the degree to which a woman is able to cope with the changes and symptoms appearing in her body with the onset of menopause and her sense of satisfaction and happiness in her life during this period of transition.
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.
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Differences By Socioeconomic Status
A number of studies have observed that lower social class, as measured by the woman’s educational attainment or by her own or her husband’s occupation, is associated with an earlier age at natural menopause.,,,,,, However, results from a British birth cohort indicated that early life socioeconomic status was more strongly associated than adult status with age at natural menopause, although even the relation of early life SES was greatly attenuated when adjusted for childhood cognitive ability and having been breastfed. One study found that education was more strongly associated with age at natural menopause than occupation. Most studies that have examined the relation of marital status have found that single women undergo an earlier natural menopause, and this association cannot be explained by nulliparity.,,
General Recommendations For Ht
Current guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of severe hot flashes that do not respond to non-hormonal therapies. General recommendations include:
- HT may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
- HT should not be used in women who have started menopause many years ago.
- Women should not take HT if they have risks for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, and breast cancer.
- Currently, there is no consensus on how long HT should be used or at what age it should be discontinued. Treatment should be individualized for a womanâs specific health profile.
- HT should be used only for menopause symptom management, not for chronic disease prevention.
Before starting HT, your doctor should give you a comprehensive physical exam and take your medical history to evaluate your risks for:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
While taking HT, you should have regular mammograms and pelvic exams and Pap smears. Current guidelines recommend that if HT is needed, it should be initiated around the time of menopause. Studies indicate that the risk of serious side effects is lower for women who use HT while in their 50s. Women who start HT past the age of 60 appear to have a higher risk for side effects such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or breast cancer. HT should be used with care in this age group.
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Will I Still Enjoy Sex After Menopause
You should still be able to enjoy sex after menopause. Sometimes, decreased sex drive is related to discomfort and painful intercourse. After treating the source of this pain , many women are able to enjoy intimacy again. Hormone therapy can also help many women. If you are having difficulties enjoying sex after menopause, talk to your healthcare provider.
How Long Does The Transition To Menopause Last
Perimenopause, the transition to menopause, can last between two and eight years before your periods stop permanently. For most women, this transition to menopause lasts about four years. You will know you have reached menopause only after it has been a full year since your last period. This means you have not had any bleeding, including spotting, for 12 months in a row.
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Age At Menopause And Your Health
How old you are when you go through the change may have implications for your future health. Past research has linked certain health risks to menopause that occurs either very early or late . Going through menopause at an earlier age has been associated with lower bone density and a higher risk for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, depression, and in some instances premature death.
While overall later menopause is probably healthier, it is associated with an elevated risk of developing breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers. The average age for menopause is 51, and the women in this study were close to that number, with an average age at menopause of 50.5.
What Age Does Perimenopause Start
The average age of perimenopause can range anywhere from 40 upwards.;
Lets define perimenopause.;
Perimenopauseis defined as around menopause and refers to the period during which your body starts experiencing changes associated with the natural transition to menopause.
In other words, your body has started producing fewer female hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. Your estrogen and progesterone levels may begin to fluctuate which can lead to a number of signs and symptoms in the body.;
Some of the signs and symptoms that you may experience could include:;
- Your period has become unpredictable or heavy
- Your period could become lighter, or you may just experience spotting;
- Your period has become irregular, i.e. longer or shorter
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Diagnosis Of Premature Or Early Menopause
Premature and early menopause is diagnosed using a number of tests including:
- medical history, family history and medical examination
- investigations to rule out other causes of amenorrhoea , such as pregnancy, extreme weight loss, other hormone disturbances and some diseases of the reproductive system
- investigations into other conditions associated with premature or early menopause, such as autoimmune diseases
- genetic tests to check for the presence of genetic conditions associated with premature or early menopause
- blood tests to check hormone levels.
Do All Women Experience Menopause In The Same Way
Menopause experiences are different among individual women, and also among women in different cultures and in different parts of the world.
Research has shown that womens experience of menopause can be related to many things, including genetics, diet, lifestyle and social and cultural attitudes toward older women.
- Japanese women report fewer hot flashes and other symptoms.
- Thai women record a high incidence of headaches.
- Scottish women record fewer severe symptoms.
- Greek women report a high rate of hot flashes.
- Mayan women report no symptoms.
Some scholars wonder if the North American emphasis on youth and lack of respect for older people contributes to a more difficult menopausal transition here.
The typical North American diet, high in saturated fats and sugars, along with our in-active lifestyle and low childbirth rate, may also contribute to the physical complaints common to many North American women at menopause.
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I Got My First Period Early Does That Mean Ill Go Through Menopause Early
I have many patients tell me, I know Im going to go through menopause earlier because I started my period really early, says Streicher. The reason women think that is because they think menopause occurs when you run out of eggs. This isnt going to happen; were born with millions of eggs and many of those are never used. When you go through menopause is really about the aging of eggs and what causes them to age more quickly, she says.
The average age of menarche in the United States has gotten younger for a variety of reasons, but that hasnt made women go through menopause earlier, she points out.
How To Tell If You Are Going Through Menopause
All women will, at some point or another, go through menopause.
It is a natural part of the female body’s ageing process;and simply indicates the time that the finite supply of follicles in our ovaries dries up completely. Once this happens, the amount of oestrogen and progesterone floating around our bodies drops dramatically, triggering reactions around our bodies, particularly in our reproductive organs and brain cells.;
The average age that New Zealand women will have the menopause is 52, but the range is vast: a small number of women will experience “premature ovarian failure” , others will have what is termed an “early menopause” ;and the majority of us will fall into the 45-55 year age bracket. Some women will become menopausal earlier than their biology dictates this might be because their ovaries have been removed , or damaged .;
As the menopause is strictly defined as the moment from when you have your last menstrual period, it is only possible to diagnose it retrospectively you need to have been free of periods for 12 continuous months to be sure you are menopausal; anything less than that;and it is possible your periods will return and you aren’t yet menopausal. Obviously this is harder to detect in women who don’t get regular periods, for example because they have a mirena intrauterine device, or are on a hormonal pill for contraception.;
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* Bladder frequency, and an increased tendency to get urinary tract infections
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What Are The Stages
The process happens slowly over three stages:
Perimenopause. Your cycles will become irregular, but they havenât stopped. Most women hit this stage around age 47. Even though you might notice symptoms like hot flashes, you can still get pregnant.
Menopause. This is when youâll have your final menstrual period. You wonât know for sure itâs happened until youâve gone a year without one. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and other symptoms are common in this stage.
Postmenopause. This begins when you hit the year mark from your final period. Once that happens, youâll be referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that after more than 1 year of no menstrual periods due to menopause, vaginal bleeding isn’t normal, so tell your doctor if you have any ASAP.
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.
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At What Age Does A Woman Typically Reach Menopause
The average age of menopause is 51 years old. However, there is no way to predict when an individual woman will have menopause or begin having symptoms suggestive of menopause. The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is also not related to the age of menopause onset. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but menopause may occur as earlier as ages 30s or 40s, or may not occur until a woman reaches her 60s. As a rough “rule of thumb,” women tend to undergo menopause at an age similar to that of their mothers.
Symptoms and signs related to the menopausal transition such as irregularities in the menstrual cycle, can begin up to 10 years prior to the last menstrual period.