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When Is Menopause In A Woman

Talk To Your Doctor About Health Risks

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

Even if youve found ways to manage your menopause symptoms, its essential to reach out to your doctor to discuss the health risks associated with estrogen loss. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or heart disease, it is especially important to speak with your doctor. Protecting your heart and bone health is one of the best ways to take care of yourself.

The Stages Of Menopause: When Does It End

It is possible to divide the menopausal period into three distinct stages:

  • Perimenopause: the months or years leading up to the final menstrual period
  • Menopause: officially defined as 12 months after the final menstrual period
  • Post-menopause: from 12 months after the final menstrual period onward

Perimenopause usually begins in a womans mid-40s. However, it can happen much earlier or later in some women. The exact duration of the perimenopause can also differ greatly.

Some women experience symptoms for several years before their final period. Others might not notice any significant changes until their periods stop altogether.

This makes it very difficult to predict precisely when menopause will end. However, some factors that might play a role include:

  • Age of puberty

If you’re wondering how to lose weight during menopause, these tips will help you in your journey to better health throughout your menopause years.

How Long Does Perimenopause Last

The length of each stage of the menopause transition can vary for each individual. The average length of perimenopause is about four years. Some women may only be in this stage for a few months, while others will be in this transition phase for more than four years. If you have gone more than 12 months without having a period, you are no longer perimenopausal. However, if there are medications or medical conditions that may affect periods, it can be more difficult to know the specific stage of the menopause transition.

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Rates Of Change In Bmd By Menopause Stages Within Weight Tertiles

Figure 3 shows the annual rates of change in lumbar spine and total hip BMD, adjusted for covariates, during each menopausal stage by tertile of baseline body weight. In each weight tertile, BMD loss accelerated substantially in the late perimenopause. There were significant differences in rates of late peri- and postmenopausal spine BMD loss across weight tertiles . Rates of postmenopausal hip BMD loss also differed significantly across weight tertiles . BMD loss was most rapid in women in the lowest tertile of body weight and slowest in women in the highest tertile of body weight. In late peri- and postmenopausal women, rates of spine and hip bone loss were approximately 3555% slower in women in the top tertile vs. the bottom tertile of body weight. Similar patterns of bone loss in relation to weight tertiles were observed for the lumbar spine ) and total hip in African-American, Caucasian, and Chinese women but not in Japanese women.

What Are The Effects Of Early Or Premature Menopause

Menopause symptoms shown using medical animation still shot

Women who go through menopause early may have or similar to those of regular menopause.

But some women with early or premature menopause may also have:

  • Higher risk of serious health problems, such as and , since women will live longer without the health benefits of higher estrogen levels. Talk to your doctor or nurse about steps to lower your risk for these health problems.
  • More severe menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor or nurse about to help with symptoms if they affect your daily life.
  • Sadness or over the early loss of fertility or the change in their bodies. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression, including less energy or a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed that lasts longer than a few weeks. Your doctor or nurse can recommend specialists who can help you deal with your feelings. Your doctor or nurse can also discuss options, such as adoption or donor egg programs, if you want to have children.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause

You may be transitioning into menopause if you begin experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:

These symptoms can be a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen, or a sign of increased fluctuation in hormone levels. Not all women get all of these symptoms. However, women affected with new symptoms of racing heart, urinary changes, headaches, or other new medical problems should see a doctor to make sure there is no other cause for these symptoms.

Will Being Super Healthy Help Delay Menopause

Although maintaining good overall health is important for a variety of reasons, it wont necessarily translate to later menopause, says Streicher. I have women who tell me, I have a healthy diet, Im thin, I work out all the time, and I look young. Im sure Im not going to go through menopause early, and when I do, I wont have hot flashes and other symptoms. I wish I could say that was true, but its not, she says.

Body weight might matter, though. We do know that the extremes of weight, in someone who is very obese or someone with very low body weight, may impact the onset of menopause, but for the majority of women in the middle it doesnt seem to have a big impact, says Streicher.

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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.

Antidepressants And Other Medications

At what age do women reach menopause?

Antidepressant medications: The class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and related medications has been shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of hot flashes in up to 60% of women. Specifically, venlafaxine , a drug-related to the SSRIs, and the paroxetine , desvenlafaxine , citalopram , and escitalopram have all been shown to decrease the severity of hot flashes in some women. However, antidepressant medications may be associated with side effects, including or sexual dysfunction.

Other medications: Other prescription medications have been shown to provide some relief for hot flashes, although their specific purpose is not the treatment of hot flashes. All of these may have side effects, and their use should be discussed with and monitored by a doctor. Some of these medications that have been shown to help relieve hot flashes include the antiseizure drug gabapentin and clonidine , a drug used to treat high blood pressure.

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Are There Any Risks Related To Hormone Therapy

Like most prescribed medications, there are risks for hormone therapy. Some known health risks include:

  • Endometrial cancer .
  • Gallstones and gallbladder issues.

Going on hormone therapy is an individualized decision. Discuss all past medical conditions and your family history with your healthcare provider to understand the risks versus benefits of hormone therapy for you.

Menopause Occurs When A Woman Hasnt Menstruated In 12 Consecutive Months And Can No Longer Become Pregnant Naturally

Menopause occurs when a woman hasnt menstruated in 12 consecutive months and can no longer become pregnant naturally.

It usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55, but can develop before or after this age range.

Menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain. For most women, medical treatment isnt needed for menopause.

Most women first begin developing menopause symptoms about four years before their last period. Symptoms often continue until about four years after a womans last period.

A small number of women experience menopause symptoms for up to a decade before menopause actually occurs, and 1 in 10 women experience menopausal symptoms for 12 years following their last period.

The median age for menopause is 51, though it may occur on average up to two years earlier for Black and Latina women. More studies are needed to understand the onset of menopause for women of color.

There are many factors that help determine when youll begin menopause, including genetics and ovary health.

Perimenopause occurs before menopause. Perimenopause is a time when your hormones begin to change in preparation for menopause.

It can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Many women begin perimenopause some point after their mid-40s. Other women skip perimenopause and enter menopause suddenly.

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Confirming That The Menopause Has Taken Place

Its not always easy to confirm that the menopause has actually happened. Of course, irregular periods and the occasional hot flush are a sign that changes are taking place, but identifying the time of the actual menopause is not so simple, especially if you are taking the Pill or have started Hormone Replacement Therapy for the relief of peri-menopausal symptoms.

The question may seem irrelevant, but it is helpful to know the date of your last period, not only so that you can respond to symptoms in the most appropriate way, but also for contraceptive purposes. A truly menopausal woman will be infertile and will have no need of contraception. However, most doctors advise menopausal women under 50 to continue with their contraception for two years after their last period and for one year if they are over 50.

Most doctors will evaluate a womans menopausal status according to her symptoms , pattern of periods, and medical record. It is possible to take a blood test to measure levels of a reproductive hormone known as FSH. However, while elevated FSH levels may be a sign of the menopause, the test is not always accurate and results cant be guaranteed. Measurement of FSH is not required to diagnose perimenopause or menopause in women aged over 45 years.

This is also the case in those rare instances of premature ovarian Insufficiency, when the hormonal system fails at an early age and the ovaries lose their normal function.

What Are The Hormonal Changes During Menopause

Menopause Symptoms

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 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.

What Happens And How Does It Feel

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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What Are The Complications And Effects Of Menopause On Chronic Medical Conditions

Osteoporosis

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.

Cardiovascular disease

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.

How Long Does Menopause Last

Menopausal Symptoms in Women

Menopause is permanent and marked by no menstrual bleeding for 12 consecutive months. However, the symptoms that are typically associated with menopause actually occur in the eight to 10 years before your final period, Gersh says.

This time frame is called perimenopause and it’s when your body starts to decrease estrogen production and your ovulation becomes more inconsistent, which can lead to physical symptoms, including:

Symptoms of perimenopause are usually the worst in the first two years, says Zaher Merhi, MD, an OB-GYN, reproductive endocrinologist, and founder of the Rejuvenating Fertility Center.

And symptoms will usually continue through menopause, but fade about a year after your last period. However, this too can vary and some people experience ongoing symptoms for years after their periods end due to fluctuating estrogen levels.

In fact, a 2015 study examining the duration of menopausal symptoms in women ages 42 to 52 found that vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flashes, persisted for 4.5 years after their final menstrual period.

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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 women can experience menopause early, either as a result of a surgical intervention or damage to the ovaries . Menopause that occurs before the age of 45, regardless of the cause, is called early menopause. Menopause that occurs at 40 or younger is considered premature menopause.

Can Menopause Affect Sleep

Some women may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.

If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:

  • Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
  • Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.

Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.

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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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