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When Do Most Women Go Through Menopause

What The New Research Shows

Early and premature menopause

Much of what we know about how we experience menopause comes from the largest ongoing study of women and menopause, the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation , which began in 1996. Its a multi-site, longitudinal, epidemiologic study focused on the physical, biological, psychological, and social changes during menopause. Women from a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds have participated, giving researchers a glimpse into possible differences in how we all experience the transition.In the US, the median age for reaching menopause is 51. The research in SWAN shows that Black women reach menopause at 49, two years earlier than the national median age. Other SWAN data shows Latina women reach menopause two years earlier than the median age as well. It also appears that Black women spend more time in the menopause transition than white women do.And then there are the differences in hot flashes, one of the most common discomforts of the transition. More Black and Latina women report experiencing vasomotor symptoms than white women do, and Latina women experience more vaginal dryness than other women.

Among the women who report vasomotor symptoms, white women experience hot flashes for around 6.5 years, while for Latinas its 8.9 years, and for Black women its 10 years. Research from the University of Washington shows that Native American women may experience the worst perimenopausal hot flashes of all.

Understand Your Bodys Changes At Menopause

It is important to understand the changes your body is going through before, during and after menopause. There are many different sources of information available. Make sure you seek out reputable websites and brochures that provide up-to-date, non-biased information from organisations that specialise in womens health.

Some examples include:

What Age Will I Be When I Go Through 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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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 treatment for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.

How Can You Alleviate Perimenopausal Symptoms

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Some women deal with the symptoms of perimenopause, and some women seek treatment for specific health concerns. Women with heavy bleeding, periods that last longer than seven days, spotting between periods or cycles that are less than 21 days should contact a doctor.

Typically, perimenopause is a gradual transition, and no particular test indicates what is happening to the body. Hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen treatments and antidepressants can help treat perimenopausal symptoms.

Start by identifying what’s bothering you most and then working with your doctor to address it. There are steps you can take to feel better. Lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in easing perimenopausal symptoms and improving your overall health include:

  • Yoga

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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.

How Should I Prepare For Menopause

Menopause is one of womens many important natural life-stages. For some, it is a challenging period of difficult physical and emotional changes. For others, it is a time of personal growth and renewal. And for many women, it is both at the same time. They dont call it Menopausal Zest for nothing!

Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy your menopausal years to their fullest:

  • Learn about menopause through recent books, articles and other reading materials.
  • Talk to friends and relatives who have already gone through menopause.
  • Join a menopause or midlife support-group in your area.
  • Have a nutritious diet and enjoy regular exercise.
  • Manage your stress by balancing your work and social life.
  • Talk with your health care practitioner about your personal health concerns.
  • Know that you have choices and can take charge of your health.

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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.

What Is Perimenopause Or The Transition To Menopause

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Perimenopause , or the menopausal transition, is the time leading up to your last period. Perimenopause means around menopause.

Perimenopause is a long transition to menopause, or the time when your periods stop permanently and you can no longer get pregnant. As your body transitions to menopause, your hormone levels may change randomly, causing menopause symptoms unexpectedly. During this transition, your ovaries make different amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone than usual.

Irregular periods happen during this time because you may not ovulate every month. Your periods may be longer or shorter than usual. You might skip a few months or have unusually long or short menstrual cycles. Your period may be heavier or lighter than before. Many women also have hot flashes and other menopause symptoms during this transition.

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Can I Have An Orgasm After Menopause

Yes, you can still have an orgasm after menopause. An orgasm may feel hard to achieve once you have reached menopause, but there is no physical reason to prevent you from having an orgasm. Using lubricants and increasing foreplay can help with discomfort. Try to be open with your partner about your feelings and talk to them about what feels good.

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.

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Why Does Menopause Happen

Natural menopause menopause that happens in your early 50s and is not caused by surgery or another medical condition is a normal part of aging. Menopause is defined as a complete year without menstrual bleeding, in the absence of any surgery or medical condition that may cause bleeding to artificially stop As you age, the reproductive cycle begins to slow down and prepares to stop. This cycle has been continuously functioning since puberty. As menopause nears, the ovaries make less of a hormone called estrogen. When this decrease occurs, your menstrual cycle starts to change. It can become irregular and then stop. Physical changes can also happen as your body adapts to different levels of hormones. The symptoms you experience during each stage of menopause are all part of your bodys adjustment to these changes.

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How Long Does Menopause Last On Average

How Long Do Women Go Through Menopause

If you are going through menopause, youre probably wondering how long the symptoms will last. While the answer to this question is different for every woman, it lasts an average of four or five years. The nature of the symptoms also varies from person to person, and the specific timeline of symptoms is highly variable as well. Heres what you need to know.

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What Can Be Done

Lifestyle factors

A healthy lifestyle can minimize the effects of the menopause, helping to keep the heart and bones strong. Many women feel that this is a good time to review the way they treat their body. Here are some tips to consider:

Complementary & alternative therapies

These have become a popular choice and many women use them, although limited scientific research has been done to support their effect or indeed their safety. They may sometimes help with troublesome symptoms, but they are unlikely to have a significant impact on bone strength, the heart or blood vessels.

Choosing a complementary or alternative therapy can be a challenge so many different ones exist. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal treatments, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, yoga and reflexology have all been reported as being helpful in the menopause.

To find out more about available therapies, please consult the WHC fact sheet Complementary/alternative therapies for menopausal women.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective and widely used treatment for menopausal symptoms. As its name suggests, it is simply a way of replacing the hormone oestrogen that is lost during the menopause.

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This one may be an acquired taste, but hear us out it’s one worth acquiring! Cow and chicken liver offer some of the best sources of trace mineral and B vitamins. When shopping, make sure the cow or chicken liver is of the grass-fed, zero-hormone, natural variety. “Liver is a fantastic source of vitamin C complex, iron, and many of the trace minerals our body relies on. When these are in low supply, symptoms such as those experienced in menopause become more pronounced,” explains Dr. Forman.

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Can Menopause Cause Depression

Your body goes through a lot of changes during menopause. There are extreme shifts in your hormone levels, you may not sleep well because of hot flashes and you may experience mood swings. Anxiety and fear could also be at play during this time. All of these factors can lead to depression.

If you experience any of the symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. During your conversation, your provider will tell you about different types of treatment and check to make sure there isnt another medical condition causing your depression. Thyroid problems can sometimes be the cause of depression.

Is Heart Disease Linked To Menopause

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Conditions related to your heart may arise during menopause, such as dizziness or cardiac palpitations. Decreased estrogen levels can prevent your body from retaining flexible arteries. This can impact blood flow.

Watching your weight, eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising, and not smoking can reduce your chances of developing heart conditions.

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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.

What Causes Menopause Does Every Woman Go Through Menopause

Yes, every woman will experience menopause. Menopause occurs due to a complex series of hormonal changes. Associated with the menopause is a decline in the number of functioning eggs within the ovaries. At the time of birth, most females have about 1 to 3 million eggs, which are gradually lost throughout a woman’s life. By the time of a girl’s first menstrual period, she has an average of about 400,000 eggs. By the time of menopause, a woman may have fewer than 10,000 eggs. A small percentage of these eggs are lost through normal ovulation . Most eggs die off through a process called atresia .

  • Normally, FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone , is the substance responsible for the growth of ovarian follicles during the first half of a woman’s menstrual cycle. As menopause approaches, the remaining eggs become more resistant to FSH, and the ovaries dramatically reduce their production of estrogen.
  • Estrogen affects many parts of the body, including the blood vessels, heart, bone, breasts, uterus, urinary system, skin, and brain. Loss of estrogen is believed to be the cause of many of the symptoms associated with menopause. At the time of menopause, the ovaries also decrease their production of testosterone — a hormone involved in libido, or sexual drive.

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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.

Predicting Natural Menopause: Why Does Age Matter

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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 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 or deciding which type of birth control to use, adds Faubion.

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How Is Premature Menopause Early Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Diagnosed

If you begin to have symptoms of menopause before the age of 40, your healthcare provider will do several tests and ask questions to help diagnose premature or early menopause. These tests can include:

  • Asking about the regularity of your menstrual periods.
  • Discussing your family history of menopause at an early age.
  • Testing your hormone levels .
  • Looking for other medical conditions that may be contributing to your symptoms.

Women who have not had a menstrual period for 12 straight months, and are not on any medication that could stop menstruation, may have gone through menopause.

Do Men Go Through Menopause

Andropause, or male menopause, is a term given to describe decreasing testosterone levels in men. Testosterone production in men declines much more gradually than estrogen production in women at about 1% per year. Healthcare providers often debate calling this slow decline in testosterone menopause since its not as drastic of a hormone shift and doesn’t carry the same intensity of side effects as menopause in women. Some men will not even notice the change because it happens over many years or decades. Other names for the male version of menopause are age-related low testosterone, male hypogonadism or androgen deficiency.

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What Hormonal Changes Happen During Menopause

The traditional changes we think of as “menopause” happen when your 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 your body uses calcium and maintains cholesterol levels in the blood.

As menopause nears, your ovaries no longer release eggs into the fallopian tubes, and youll have your last menstrual cycle.

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