What Causes The Menopause
The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases there’s no clear cause.
Sometimes it’s caused by a treatment such as surgery to remove the ovaries , some breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or it can be brought on by an underlying condition, such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
Memory And Concentration Problems
During perimenopause, women often complain of short-term memory problems and difficulty with concentration. Study results looking at the relationship between falling hormone levels and cognitive function have been inconsistent. Some women do believe that low dose estrogen after menopause helps them think. But the research has not supported this. Stress likely plays a more important role in memory and thinking compared to hormonal fluctuations.
Treating memory and concentration problems. Just as it isn’t clear what causes memory and concentration problems, there is no obvious remedy. Staying physically active and scheduling at least 150 minutes per week of dedicated exercise may be the best way to maintain brain health. Brain and memory experts also recommend that people work to keep their brain functioning at its peak by taking on new and interesting challenges. Use your mind in many different ways. Do crossword puzzles. Learn a new musical instrument or sport. Play chess. Read more books. Learn a new language or how to use the computer. The idea is to challenge your brain in new ways.
What Are Menopause Symptoms And Signs
It is important to remember that each woman’s experience is highly individual. Some women may experience few or no symptoms of menopause, while others experience multiple physical and psychological symptoms. The extent and severity of symptoms varies significantly among women. It is also important to remember that symptoms may come and go over an extended period for some women. This, too, is highly individual. These symptoms of menopause and perimenopause are discussed in detail below.
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What Is Premature Menopause
Menopause, when it occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, is considered “natural” and is a normal part of aging. But, some people can experience menopause early, either as a result of surgical intervention or damage to the ovaries . Menopause that occurs before the age of 45 is called early menopause. Menopause that occurs at 40 or younger is considered premature menopause. When there this no medical or surgical cause for premature menopause it’s called primary ovarian insufficiency.
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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Vaginal Lubricants For Menopause Symptoms
In women for whom oral or vaginal estrogens are deemed inappropriate, such as breast cancer survivors, or women who do not wish to take oral or vaginal estrogen, there are varieties of over-the-counter vaginal lubricants. However, they are probably not as effective in relieving vaginal symptoms as replacing the estrogen deficiency with oral or local estrogen.
How Will Menopause Affect Me
Symptoms of menopause may begin suddenly and be very noticeable, or they may be very mild at first. Symptoms may happen most of the time once they begin, or they may happen only once in a while. Some women notice changes in many areas. Some menopausal symptoms, such as moodiness, are similar to symptoms of premenstrual syndrome . Others may be new to you. For example:
- Your menstrual periods may not come as regularly as before. They also might last longer or be shorter. You might skip some months. Periods might stop for a few months and then start up again.
- Your periods might be heavier or lighter than before.
- You might have hot flashes and problems sleeping.
- You might experience mood swings or be irritable.
- You might experience vaginal dryness. Sex may be uncomfortable or painful.
- You may have less interest in sex. It may take longer for you to get aroused.
Other possible changes are not as noticeable. For example, you might begin to lose bone density because you have less estrogen. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Changing estrogen levels can also raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Talk to your doctor about possible for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.
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What Affects The Age You Start Menopause
Certain factors may affect when you begin menopause. Your family history, medical conditions, and hormones all play a role in when menopause is likely to occur for you.
Smoking may influence the age of menopause onset. Studies have found that smoking during the reproductive years was significantly associated with earlier menopause.
What Other Life Changes Affect Menopause
Menopause can be a rough time. In addition to the symptoms that may be tough to deal with, a lot of stressful life changes can happen around the same time as perimenopause and menopause.
Some changes you may go through during this time in your life include:
anxiety about illness, aging, and death
anxiety about the future, getting older, and losing independence
anxiety about being disabled
changes in family, social, and personal relationships
changes in identity or body image
children leaving home
getting divorced or losing a partner
having a partner become ill or disabled
more responsibility for grandchildren
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An Early First Menstrual Period May Lead To Premature Menopause
How do you know if you’re starting perimenopause?
The most telling symptom is changes in your menstrual cycle, says psychiatrist Hadine Joffe, the executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“It’s the menstrual cycle pattern that really defines this lead-up to menopause,” she says. During perimenopause, periods “might be shorter, then a long one, or then a skipped one, or then the flow might be different,” says Joffe.
There’s no blood or hormone test that can “diagnose” perimenopause. Joffe says a hormone test isn’t helpful because hormonal cycles become erratic and unpredictable during this stage.
“There’s not really one point in time when a hormone test is done that can be definitive,” she says. Even if you took several tests over time, “you might get a very different readout.”
Surprisingly, sometimes doctors aren’t prepared to help women recognize the start of this life phase. Edrie was upset at her doctors’ responses â or lack thereof. “I felt so disappointed in the medical industry. How many women has my OB/GYN seen and not recognized the symptoms of perimenopause?”
What symptoms to expect
Can I Still Get Pregnant During Perimenopause
Yes. You may be less likely to get pregnant during perimenopause, but it’s still possible. As long as you have a period, you can still get pregnant. If you want to expand your family during this time, speak with your healthcare provider about your health, fertility and possible fertility treatment options.
When your periods are irregular, you may be more likely to get pregnant unexpectedly. If you dont want to expand your family at this age, continue using birth control until your healthcare provider tells you its safe to stop. Continue to practice safe sex to prevent sexually transmitted diseases throughout your life.
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Symptoms Of Early Menopause
The main symptom of early menopause is periods becoming infrequent or stopping altogether without any other reason .
Some women may also get other typical menopausal symptoms, including:
Read more about the symptoms of the menopause.
Should You Worry About Menopause In 48 Years
Mild and moderate climacteric syndrome is not a cause for concern. But in some situations you should seek the advice of a specialist and to undergo timely examination.
In severe symptoms of menopause prescribed hormone therapy, vitamins and other medications to maintain immunity.
Remember, that is treated not the menopause, and the effects of lower hormone levels. Noticing the first signs, it is not recommended to self-start therapy. The doctor himself individually selects the treatment regimen and dosage, based on analyses of the patient.
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Can A Woman Still Have Hot Flashes After Menopause
An estimated 40 percent of women ages 60 to 65 still get hot flashes. In most women who get hot flashes later in life, theyre infrequent. Yet some women have hot flashes often enough to be bothersome. If you still get hot flashes or other symptoms of menopause, talk to your doctor about hormone therapy and other treatments.
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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The average healthy woman begins menopause at 51, though some women will begin in their 40s or in their late 50s. It’s a natural biological process that marks the time a woman ends her menstrual cycle.
Mood swings, hot flashes and difficulty sleeping are common symptoms that can be effectively managed with hormone therapy. Lifestyle changes also can help relieve these temporary symptoms, says Dr. Denise Millstine, a physician from Mayo Clinic’s Women’s Health Center.
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Hormone therapy may help women who struggle with hot flashes, sleep disruptions and other menopausal symptoms. However, this treatment comes with side effects, and it is not for everybody.
“Many women are not candidates to take hormone therapy, like women who have a diagnosis of breast cancer. But in a woman who’s taking hormone therapy and still having symptoms, lifestyle management can also be effective,” Dr. Millstine says.
“Hit the golf course, for instance. Regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, may help.
Women who exercise regularly are healthier overall, and they might be reducing their hot flash burden, as well.”
If you smoke, Dr. Millstine says quit. “Women who smoke have more frequent hot flashes, and they also have more severe hot flashes.”
Consider yoga, deep-breathing exercises and massage to relieve stress.
The Menopause At The Age Of 48 Years
Signs of menopause at this age is a normal process. At this age, they are transferred much easier. The early development of menopause leads to a rapid aging of the body, and later increases the risk of cancer.
The time of menopause individually and depends on factors, which include:
- gynecological and chronic diseases
The presence or absence of children also affects the development of menopause
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Removal Of The Ovaries
If you have surgery to remove your ovaries , you will experience menopause immediately because the organs that produce hormones and release eggs are no longer present.
Menopause that occurs from the absence of ovaries is known as surgical menopause.
Conditions like endometriosis, tumors, and cancer may require a person to have their ovaries removed.
People who have an oophorectomy will experience typical menopause symptoms however, rather than having them come on gradually as they would with natural menopause, they will experience them all at once, which can be intense.
Hormone replacement therapies can be used to treat menopause symptoms. However, hormone therapy is not recommended for people being treated for breast cancer, as it may increase the risk of recurrence.
What Are The Long
There are several conditions that you could be at a higher risk of after menopause. Your risk for any condition depends on many things like your family history, your health before menopause and lifestyle factors . Two conditions that affect your health after menopause are osteoporosis and coronary artery disease.
Osteoporosis, a “brittle-bone” disease, occurs when the inside of bones become less dense, making them more fragile and likely to fracture. Estrogen plays an important role in preserving bone mass. Estrogen signals cells in the bones to stop breaking down.
People lose an average of 25% of their bone mass from the time of menopause to age 60. This is largely because of the loss of estrogen. Over time, this loss of bone can lead to bone fractures. Your healthcare provider may want to test the strength of your bones over time. Bone mineral density testing, also called bone densitometry, is a quick way to see how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones. The test is used to detectosteoporosis and osteopenia. Osteopenia is a disease where bone density is decreased and this can be a precursor to later osteoporosis.
If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, your treatment options could include estrogen therapy.
Coronary artery disease
- The loss of estrogen .
- Increased blood pressure.
- A decrease in physical activity.
- Bad habits from your past catching up with you .
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How Do I Know If I Am In Menopause
Menopause is defined as 12 consecutive months without having a menstrual cycle. If you are currently not having periods, but it has not yet been 12 full months, you might be in menopause, but you cannot be sure until you have gone a full year without having a period.
Some cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can also lead to medical menopause, which can be temporary or permanent.
Signs Of Menopause: What To Look Out For
Menopause is the natural decline of female hormones in the body. Menopausal women stop having periods because theyre no longer ovulating. Menopause happens at different ages for different women, but the average American woman goes through menopause between 45 and 55. According to the U.S. Office on Womens Health, the average age for menopause in the United States is 52. Symptoms of menopause may begin in the years before you stop getting a menstrual period, referred to as perimenopause. If you have any of the following signs of menopause, it may be time to talk to your OB/GYN about how to treat your symptoms and protect your health.
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Keeping Cool And Staying Comfortable
Dress in loose, layered clothing, especially during the nighttime and during warm or unpredictable weather. This can help you manage hot flashes.
Keeping your bedroom cool and avoiding heavy blankets at night can also help reduce your chances of night sweats. If you regularly have night sweats, consider using a waterproof sheet under your bedding to protect your mattress.
You can also carry a portable fan to help cool you down if youre feeling flushed.
What Are The Complications And Effects Of Menopause On Chronic Medical Conditions
Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the quantity and quality of bone that causes an increased risk of fracture. The density of the bone normally begins to decrease in women during the fourth decade of life. However, that normal decline in bone density is accelerated during the menopausal transition. Consequently, both age and the hormonal changes due to the menopause transition act together to cause osteoporosis. Medications to treat osteoporosis are currently available and pose less risk than hormone therapy. Therefore, hormone therapy is not recommended for prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.
Prior to menopause, women have a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke when compared with men. Around the time of menopause, however, a women’s risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S.
Coronary heart disease rates in postmenopausal women are two to three times higher than in women of the same age who have not reached menopause. This increased risk for cardiovascular disease may be related to declining estrogen levels, but in light of other factors, medical professionals do not advise postmenopausal women to take hormone therapy simply as a preventive measure to decrease their risk of heart attack or stroke.