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What Is Menopause Age For Women

Hormone Levels Fluctuate Leading To Menopause

Menopause – What is menopause?

As you approach menopause, the production of female hormones by the ovaries starts to slow down. Hormone levels tend to fluctuate, and you may notice changes in your menstrual cycle such as:

  • period cycles may become longer, shorter or totally irregular
  • bleeding may become lighter
  • bleeding may become unpredictable and heavy .

Eventually, your hormone levels will fall to a point where your ovaries stop releasing eggs, your periods stop and menopause is reached.Although fertility after the age of 45 is low, you still need to use contraception to prevent pregnancy. Its recommended to continue contraception until you have had one year without a natural period if youre over 50 years old, or two years without a natural period if youre under 50.

How Do I Know If Changes In My Periods Are Normal Perimenopausal Symptoms Or Something To Be Concerned About

Irregular periods are common and normal during perimenopause . But other conditions can cause abnormalities in menstrual bleeding. If any of the following situations apply to you, see a doctor to rule out other causes.

  • Your periods are changing to become very heavy, or accompanied by blood clots.
  • Your periods last several days longer than usual.
  • You spot or bleed after your period.
  • You experience spotting after sex.
  • Your periods occur closer together.

Potential causes of abnormal bleeding include hormonal imbalances, hormonal treatments, pregnancy, fibroids, blood-clotting problems or, rarely, cancer.

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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What Are The Stages Of Menopause

The stages of menopause include perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. In perimenopause, a woman begins to produce less estrogen, with symptoms that could include irregular or heavier/lighter periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances and mood swings. Menopause officially begins after a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months. The final stage of menopause is postmenopause. This phase would be the rest of a womans life after menopause. Estrogen levels continue to decrease at this time, so symptoms such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes and/or night sweats could continue. Lower hormone levels at this time also increase a womans risk for diseases like osteoporosis.

How Is Early Menopause Treated Or Managed

Average Age Of Menopause

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.

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Are Women Who Arent Experiencing Menopausal Symptoms Still Fertile

No matter when you experience natural menopause, your chances of getting pregnant after the age of 40 are low, says Faubion. But you can still become pregnant as youre transitioning to menopause, and you still need to use birth control if you don’t want to conceive, she adds.

Streicher confirms, saying, Fertility and menopause are not the same thing there are plenty of women who are pumping out estrogen and menstruating and are not fertile. If youre sexually active, its important to consult with your doctor before making any decisions about birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

On the other hand, dont assume that just because you are still menstruating that you can get pregnant. Women who are concerned that they may have trouble conceiving or think they may experience menopause early and still want children should discuss options such as egg freezing with their doctor, says Streicher.

What Are The Causes Of Andropause

While menopause affects all women at some point in their life, andropause occurs in only a portion of men. As males grow older, their testosterone levels naturally begin to wane, especially once theyve reached the age of 40. If these levels become low enough, andropause will begin to become a problem.

Common symptoms of andropause in men include:

  • Mood swings

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Is Hormone Replacement A Safe Option For Management Of Menopausal Problems

Several hormone therapies are FDA-approved for treatment of hot flashes and prevention of bone loss. The benefits and risks vary depending on the severity of your hot flashes and bone loss, and your health. These therapies may not be right for you. Talk to your doctor before trying any hormone therapies.

What Is Hormone Therapy

The Average Age Of Menopause In The U.S.

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

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.

Predicting Natural Menopause: Why Does Age Matter

If theres not a lot that women can do to change when theyll experience menopause, why does predicting it even matter?

It would be helpful for every woman to know exactly when menopause will arrive. Beyond recognizing and addressing issues such as increased cardiovascular disease risk and risks related to bone health, if a woman knows her age of menopause and how long the perimenopause transition will last, it could help her make important health decisions, says Faubion.

If youre bleeding like crazy it would be helpful to know, she says.

As of now, research hasnt uncovered a way to determine when a women will go into menopause, but having that information could be useful in making decisions such as whether to have a hysterectomy or other invasive procedures, says Faubion. If menopause is going to be a few months or a year from now, you may choose to wait it out if it’s going to be five years from now, you might want to go ahead and have an invasive procedure, she says.

The ability to predict when menopause will occur could also help with managing menopause symptoms or deciding which type of birth control to use, adds Faubion.

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Increased Risk Of Some Health Conditions

After menopause, the risk of certain health issues appears to increase. Menopause does not cause these conditions, but the hormonal changes involved may play some role.

Osteoporosis: This is a long-term condition in which bone strength and density decrease. A doctor may recommend taking vitamin D supplements and eating more calcium-rich foods to maintain bone strength.

Cardiovascular disease: The American Heart Association note that, while a decline in estrogen due to menopause may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, taking hormone therapy will not reduce this risk.

Breast cancer: Some types of breast cancer are more likely to develop after menopause. Menopause breast cancer, but hormonal changes involved appear to increase the risk.

Skin changes can also occur around the time of menopause. Find out more.

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Can Menopause Cause Facial Hair Growth

Menopause Signs and Symptoms

Yes, increased facial hair growth can be a change related to menopause. The hormonal change your body goes through during menopause can result in several physical changes to your body, including more facial hair than you may have had in the past. If facial hair becomes a problem for you, waxing or using other hair removers may be options. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options to make sure you dont pick a product that could harm your skin.

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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.,,

Can I Get Pregnant During Menopause

The possibility of pregnancy disappears once you are postmenopausal, you have been without your period for an entire year . However, you can actually get pregnant during the menopause transition . If you dont want to become pregnant, you should continue to use some form of birth control until you have gone fully through menopause. Ask your healthcare provider before you stop using contraception.

For some women, getting pregnant can be difficult once theyre in their late 30s and 40s because of a decline in fertility. However, if becoming pregnant is the goal, there are fertility-enhancing treatments and techniques that can help you get pregnant. Make sure to speak to your healthcare provider about these options.

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Whats The Difference Between Perimenopause And Menopause

Perimenopause refers to the period of time right before menopause begins.

During perimenopause, your body is beginning the transition into menopause. That means that hormone production from your ovaries is beginning to decline. You may begin to experience some symptoms commonly associated with menopause, like hot flashes. Your menstrual cycle may become irregular, but it wont cease during the perimenopause stage.

Once you completely stop having a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months, youve entered menopause.

What Happens And How Does It Feel

What is perimenopause, and at what age does a woman experience it?

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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Lifestyle Factors In Controlling The Symptoms And Complications Of Menopause

Many of the symptoms of menopause and the medical complications that may develop in postmenopausal women can be lessened or even avoided by taking steps to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Which types of doctors treat menopausal symptoms?

The symptoms of menopause are often treated by a woman√Ęs gynecologist. Primary care providers, including family medicine specialists and internists, may also treat the symptoms of menopause.

How Long Will Menopausal Transition Symptoms Last

Menopause is technically one full year without bleeding, and perimenopause is the stage before the final menstrual period, also known as the menopausal transition. Puberty and perimenopause are similar in that they both involve hormonal changes, and the transitions can take place over several years. Some medical organizations, such as the American Osteopathic Association, refer to perimenopause as reverse puberty in women.

According to NAMS, this phase can last four to eight years, and it comes with symptoms caused by hormone fluctuations, such as mood swings, poor sleep, and hot flashes.

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The age at which a woman begins perimenopause can help predict how long the transition to menopause will last, according to research published in the journal Menopause in February 2017. The authors found that perimenopause lasted longer in women who started the transition at a younger age, and the women had more symptoms, such as hot flashes.

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What Does This Mean For Women Of Color

You may be experiencing perimenopause symptoms sooner than you expected to. Now is a good time to find a gynecologist who specializes in menopause who can help you through this transition. For many women, perimenopause is a critical opportunity to make some lifestyle changes to support your health through the latter half of your life. Its time to start putting yourself first, so you can serve as the elder your community needs.

The North American Menopause Society has a directory of menopause practitioners by location, where you can find a NAMS-certified menopause practitioner in your area.

See our list of sources for further resources.

What Causes Racial Differences In The Menopausal Experience

5 Signs of Early Menopause (Perimenopause)

Dr. Nanette Santoro, professor and E. Stewart Taylor Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has contributed to the research in SWAN. When asked why women of color experience menopause differently, she says, My educated guess is that a lot of the differences have their basis in lifestyle, SES , and other stressors such as systemic racism and their long-term consequences.

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What Happens After Menopause

After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.

You may experience any of the following after menopause:

  • Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop , including osteoporosis, .
  • Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from or menopause . However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.,
  • Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about for vaginal dryness.

Cancer Risk And Age At Menopause

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, women who experience late-onset menopause have an increased risk of uterine and breast cancer. This is due to having an increased exposure to hormones such as estrogen. As women menstruate longer, they have more ovulations which also increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Women with a long reproductive life, menarche before the age of 12 years and menopause after age 55 years have an increased risk of these hormone-dependent cancers. A pooled analysis of data from more than 400,000 women found for every year older a woman was at menopause, breast cancer risk increased by approximately 3%.

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