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 Symptoms Of Perimenopause
During perimenopause, you can experience a variety of symptoms. The reason: Your ovaries have been making estrogen since your first period. During perimenopause, the estrogen production decreases substantially. Your body has to adjust to functioning with less of the hormone, putting you into estrogen withdrawals. The type and intensity of symptoms vary greatly among women some just feel a little off or don’t notice anything at all.
Others can experience perimenopausal symptoms including:
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling irritable, anxious or depressed
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
About 80 percent of women will experience some form of a hot flash during perimenopause or menopause. Hot flashes happen when your brain has trouble regulating your internal temperature, which is a common response to having less estrogen. The shift in temperature may not be noticeable. Or, it may feel like someone cranked up the thermostat on your core body temperature. You suddenly feel uncomfortably hot and sweaty, or you may wake up drenched in sweat .
When Does Menopause Begin
Menopausal symptoms usually start from around age 47 years. The final menstrual period is usually about age 51 but can vary considerably. There is currently no reliable way to predict when you will experience menopause and what your menopausal symptoms will be like.
When menopause happens before 40 years it is called premature, and when it happens before 45 years it is called early. Menopause after age 45 years is considered normal and there is no upper age limit to when it can begin. However, most women have experienced menopause by age 55 years.
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Can We Prevent Gaining Weight
Yes, given you take the bull by the horns! Ideally, from the age of 40, the lady who wishes to protect against the common weight gain of menopause has all interest to require herself to great health of life.This implies working out as well as carefully checking her diet. What Is The Youngest Age For Menopause
What Tests Diagnose Menopause
Because hormone levels may fluctuate greatly in an individual woman, even from one day to the next, hormone levels are not a reliable method for diagnosing menopause. There is no single blood test that reliably predicts when a woman is going through the menopausal transition, so there is currently no proven role for blood testing to diagnose menopause. The only way to diagnose menopause is to observe the lack of menstrual periods for 12 months in a woman in the expected age range.
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Facts You Should Know About Menopause
- Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It is the time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases.
- The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman.
- The average age of menopause is 51 years old, but menopause may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s. There is no reliable lab test to predict when a woman will experience menopause.
- The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is not related to the age of menopause onset.
- Symptoms of menopause can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, hot flashes, vaginal and urinary symptoms, and mood changes.
- Complications that women may develop after menopause include osteoporosis and heart disease.
- Treatments for menopause are customized for each woman.
- Treatments are directed toward alleviating uncomfortable or distressing symptoms.
Management & Treatment Of Premature & Early Menopausal Symptoms
Seeking treatment and advice is recommended to reduce your risk of earlier onset of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, as well as to treat your symptoms.
Treatment with menopause hormonal therapy or the pill is recommended to reduce severe symptoms and to reduce the long-term health risks associated with early menopause, such as osteoporosis. However, other therapies may be recommended for moderate to severe symptoms, or if there are reasons, such as breast cancer, for not being able to take MHT or the pill.
Discuss these issues with your doctor so you can make the right decision for you.
It may be possible to reduce some symptoms of menopause with the following options:
- healthy diet and eating
- cognitive behavioural therapy or hypnotherapy for hot flushes.
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Treatments For Early Menopause
A GP will probably recommend you take this treatment until at least the age of natural menopause , to give you some protection from osteoporosis and other conditions that can develop after the menopause.
If you have had certain types of cancer, such as certain types of breast cancer, you may not be able to have hormonal treatment.
The GP will talk to you about other treatment options and lifestyle changes you can make to help protect your health.
If you’re still getting symptoms, the GP can refer you to a specialist menopause centre.
Going through the menopause early can be difficult and upsetting.
Permanent early menopause will affect your ability to have children naturally.
You may still be able to have children by using IVF and donated eggs from another woman, or using your own eggs if you had some stored. Surrogacy and adoption may also be options for you.
Counselling and support groups may be helpful.
Here are some you may want to try:
Page last reviewed: 02 February 2021 Next review due: 02 February 2024
Why Does Menopause Happen
The reasons for menopause are not well understood. Currently, we think that menopause happens because the ovaries run out of eggs. This leads to changes in the hormones produced by the ovaries and the hormones from the brain that control the ovaries. Eventually, the ovaries stop producing eggs and menstrual periods stop permanently. After menopause, the ovaries continue to produce oestrogen at lower levels and also testosterone.
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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.
A More Difficult Sexuality
Without treatment, estrogen deficiency one way or another results in the genital mucosas dryness, which can then degeneration. The female experiences a experience of genital dryness, causing pain throughout sexual relations, specifically throughout penetration. Due to the fact that the correct equilibrium of the vaginal vegetation is interrupted, she is additionally more vulnerable to tiny infections as well as cystitis. Does all this possibly explain why 58% of menopausal women claim they no more seem like making love? What Is The Youngest Age For Menopause
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Treatments For Menopausal Symptoms
Your GP can offer treatments and suggest lifestyle changes if you have severe menopausal symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day life.
- hormone replacement therapy tablets, skin patches, gels and implants that relieve menopausal symptoms by replacing oestrogen
- vaginal oestrogen creams, lubricants or moisturisers for vaginal dryness
- cognitive behavioural therapy a type of talking therapy that can help with low mood and anxiety
- eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly maintaining a healthy weight and staying fit and strong can improve some menopausal symptoms
Your GP may refer you to a menopause specialist if your symptoms do not improve after trying treatment or if you’re unable to take HRT.
How Long Does Menopause Last
Menopause is a single point in time and not a process it is the time point in at which a woman’s last period ends. Of course, a woman will not know when that time point has occurred until she has been 12 consecutive months without a period. The symptoms of menopause, on the other hand, may begin years before the actual menopause occurs and may persist for some years afterward as well.
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.
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.
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
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What Is Perimenopause Its When Menopause Symptoms Begin
Perimenopause or pre-menopause is a word that means around menopause. Perimenopause describes what happens to your body leading up to menopause. This stage typically starts about four to eight years before menopause.
When you enter perimenopause youll probably start to notice some early menopause symptoms like changes to your period or mood shifts. These changes happen because your bodys estrogen and progesterone levels are starting to naturally decline. As your ovaries produce lower amounts of these hormones, your body adapts. Its basically the reverse of what happened to your hormones as a teenager.
Summary Of Underlying Physiology
Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation which reflects cessation of ovulation owing to a loss of ovarian follicles, which in turn results in reduced ovarian production of estradiol, the most biologically active form of estrogen,, as well as increased circulating concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone and decreased concentrations of inhibin, which inhibits the release of FSH. Age at menopause may be more sensitive to varying rates of atresia of ovarian follicles than to the absolute number of oocytes depleted, but menopause is reached when depletion of follicles reaches approximately 1000 ., The age at which sufficient depletion of follicles occurs is affected by the number of follicles achieving migration to the gonadal ridge during gestation, their mitotic abilities until mid-gestation, and the rate of follicular atresia.,
The nature and timing of bleeding may vary both within and between women. What is known about the host, environmental, or lifestyle factors that may affect such variation is summarized herein. Although some factors have been identified that are associated with early age at natural menopause, the relation of many has not been examined, and most have not been examined in relation to duration of the perimenopause.
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Calcium And Vitamin D
A combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the bone loss associated with menopause. The best sources are from calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods.
Doctors are currently reconsidering the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that healthy postmenopausal women don’t need to take these supplements. According to the USPSTF, taking daily low-dose amounts of vitamin D supplements , with or without calcium supplements , does not prevent fractures. For higher doses, the USPSTF says there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation. In addition to possible lack of benefit, these supplements are associated with certain risks, like kidney stones.
However, calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients. Supplements may be appropriate for certain people including those who do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and those who do not consume enough calcium in their diet. They are also helpful for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take supplements.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones.
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.
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Women And Menopause: Why This Group Wants To Change The Discussion
I found some or other life hack for every symptom. And while I wasnt sad I had made my peace with shutting fertility down when my husband got a vasectomy shortly after our second child was born I struggled with the incongruity of it happening so soon to me.
According to WomensHealth.gov, natural early menopause affects about 5 percent of women. I would never have bet on myself to be in this 5 percent because Ive always been a late bloomer. I didnt start my period until the end of my first year in high school, when I was 14. I didnt date until I was about 20, get married until I was 33, have kids until I was 34.
As a writer who specializes in writing about honesty, this experience offers a chance to speak with candor about a thing so many people dont want to talk about.
Ive mostly had a sense that I belong at the tail end. Not only did a September birthday mean I was usually the youngest person in my class, Im also the youngest of seven children. My brothers and sisters were getting married and tending to teething babies when I was still losing baby teeth. My parents were older, my siblings were older and I was the young one meandering along the scenic route, a little out of step, though not unhappy to do things on my own schedule.
All during my year of calendar-watching, menopause still felt implausible, and even as I was very happy not to have to deal with periods, I found myself whispering to my ovaries, “I think you have the wrong 5 percent.”