When To Seek Help
Its common and normal to experience irregular periods when youre perimenopausal.
- suddenly experience very heavy periods or periods with blood clots
- have periods lasting longer than usual
- spot or bleed after sex
- spot or bleed after your period
- have periods close together
Osteoporosis and heart disease are long-term health risks associated with menopause. Thats because estrogen plays a significant role in protecting your bones and your heart. Without estrogen, youre at an increased risk for both diseases.
Youre also at an increased risk of urinary tract infections because menopause can cause your urethra to become dry, irritated, or inflamed. Vaginal infections can also occur more frequently because your vagina has become dryer and thinner.
Report menopausal symptoms when visiting the doctor. Get assessed by your physician if you continue to have menopausal symptoms that are unbearable or last more than five years after your last menstrual period.
Although menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms for some women, this natural process has possible upsides, too. There are several potential benefits of menopause to consider:
You will still need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.
Treatment Options For Hot Flashes
Non-hormone options. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of paroxetine. This is a low-dose antidepressant that uses a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor to treat hot flashes.
Women who use an antidepressant to help manage hot flashes generally take a lower dose than people who use the medication to treat depression. Side effects depend on the type of antidepressant you take. They can include:
Cynthia Managed Her Severe Night Sweats Using A Little Hot Flush Kit She Kept Beside Her Bed
In the early days, I had to get up physically on the hour every hour. It woke me without fail and I had to get out of bed, go into the other room, had a big fan, stand in front of it until I cooled down and then I went back to bed. You do get used to doing that and you do sleep in between. As I got better at managing them I think, I identified that I couldnt drink anything and I couldnt eat curry or Chinese food I got so that I had my little hot flush kit beside the bed. I had a towel and gel pack, sports injury gel pack that had been frozen inside of a pillow case. And Ive got dozens, dozens and dozens, and Ive still got them in a little basket of those little hand fans like youd have on holiday. And I had that beside the bed so when I woke with a hot flush starting, Id grab the towel and slip that underneath me, the gel pack behind my neck and the little fan resting on my chest and Id just lie there like a sack of potatoes until it passed. And then Id chuck it all off and go back to sleep until the next one. And I did sleep. I did get used to being tired but I did sleep in between each hot flush. But they were on the hour.
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Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Postmenopause
People in postmenopause are at an increased risk for several conditions:
Estrogen helps protect against cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, heart disease and stroke. It is also common for people in postmenopause to become more sedentary, which contributes to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These factors combined can increase a womans risk for cardiovascular diseases after menopause. A healthy diet, not smoking and getting regular exercise are your best options to prevent heart disease. Treating elevated blood pressure and diabetes as well as maintaining cholesterol levels are also ways to lower your risk.
People lose bone more rapidly after menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen. You may lose up to 25% of your bone density after menopause . When too much bone is lost, it increases your risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures. The bones of the hip, wrist, and spine are most commonly affected. Bone mineral density testing, also called bone densitometry, can be done to see how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones. The test is used to detectosteoporosis and osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.
Mental health issues
On A Bad Night Christina Wakes Up Drenched And Has To Get Up And Wash Before Trying To Get Back
The night sweats are terrible. It doesnt matter whether I go to bed with nothing on and I sleep on my own, and I will still wake up absolutely drenched. And I can have a sheet over me and that will be wringing wet in the morning as well so its like having to go to sleep with towels. And I dont have a plastic cover on my mattress because that tends to aggravate the situation so its just me having towels underneath me so you wake up with marks all over your back and everything else. But, even just going with no sheet you still have the sweats.So this is even in winter you are sleeping with a sheet.Yeah. Windows open and everything else so just trying to calm that down.And how many times would you be woken up at night?On a bad night at least three or four times and then having to go and get washed and try and dry off and everything else and change everything and then try and get back to sleep again.So you actually change your clothing and your bedding do you?Yeah, if Im wearing like a cotton nightie. That all has to come off. The towels that are on top of the sheets have to come off and be changed again. And then I go to the other side of the bed and try and make sure that youre sleeping on a dry patch. I mean Im quite lucky because I am on my own and I dont have to disturb anybody.
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How Does Menopause Affect Iron Levels In My Blood
If you are still having periods as you go through menopause, you may continue to be at risk of a low iron level. This is especially true if your bleeding is heavy or you spot between periods. This can lead to anemia. Talk with your doctor about the amount of iron thats right for you. Good sources of iron include spinach, beans, and meat. Your doctor may also suggest that you take an iron supplement.
When To See Your Doctor
While hot flashes are common during menopause, some people get them intensely and often. In some cases, hot flashes are disruptive to a persons life and can greatly affect their well-being.
If your hot flashes are interfering with your day-to-day life or preventing you from getting a good nights sleep, talk to your doctor. There are some treatments that you might be able to try that can help control hot flashes.
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What Causes Hot Flashes After 60
Peri- and postmenopausal hot flashes are most typically caused by decreased estrogen levels.
Low estrogen causes the area of the brain that controls body temperature – the hypothalamus – to malfunction and falsely detect an increased internal temperature. In attempt to cool down, a hot flash occurs.
Hot Flashes After Hysterectomy: Your Guide
Research shows that hot flashes and night sweats are almost twice as common in women who have had a hysterectomy, than those who are going through ânaturalâ menopause. How long you have them for and how you manage them will largely depend on the type of hysterectomy you have had, as well as your stage of life and other lifestyle factors.
In this article, weâll take a look at hot flashes after a hysterectomy, and what management tools are available to you.
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Estrogen And Body Temperature
In addition to its effects on women’s reproduction, estrogen also helps regulate body temperature by interacting with the hypothalamus, a region in the brain that monitors and adjusts your temperature. Fluctuating estrogen levels makes it difficult for the hypothalamus to regulate temperature.
The altered body temperature causes minor changes in the blood vessels that are located near the skin.
How Hot Flushes May Feel
Hot flushes can vary from one person to another. They can start as a feeling of warmth in your neck or face. This often spreads to other parts of your body. You might have:
- reddening of the skin
- feelings of your heart beating in your chest
- feelings of panic or irritability
Hot flushes can last between 2 to 30 minutes. You may have a few a month or more often. The flushes usually last for a few months but for some people they carry on for longer.
They can be disruptive and might make sleeping difficult.
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When To See A Gp
It’s worth talking to a GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
They can usually confirm whether you’re menopausal based on your symptoms, but a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re under 45.
What Can I Do To Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis isnt entirely preventable, but you can take steps to strengthen your bones. Eating foods high in calcium like cheese, yogurt, spinach or fortified cereals can help boost calcium intake. Adding a calcium supplement can also help. Some people also need a vitamin D supplement because it helps their body absorb calcium.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do my symptoms indicate that I might be going through menopause?
- My menstrual cycle is irregular. Could it be caused by something other than menopause?
- Im uncomfortable and/or dont feel well. Is there a way to safely treat my symptoms?
- Ive heard that soy products or herbal supplements may help. Are these effective? Are they good options for me?
- Am I a candidate for hormone replacement therapy?
- What are the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy?
- Am I at risk for heart disease or osteoporosis?
- Do I need any tests, such as bone density screening?
- Now that Im going through menopause, what changes, if any, should I make to my diet and exercise?
Medicine Versus The Placebo Effect
There are a number of different medicines that your doctor might prescribe to help reduce and control hot flushes. But before taking any of these, there is something important to bear in mind.
When researchers want to find out how well a treatment works in a trial, they sometimes test it against a dummy treatment, or placebo. The people taking part in the trial dont know whether they are taking the new treatment or the placebo. Many of us feel better when taking something that we think will help.
In nearly all trials looking at treatment for hot flushes, people taking the placebo said that their flushes were reduced by about a fifth . It is important to bear this in mind when we are looking at other treatments. If a treatment reduces hot flushes by 20% or less, it may not be better than a placebo.
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Will My Hot Flashes Stop After Menopause
Some people still experience hot flashes after menopause. Postmenopausal hot flashes are caused by decreased estrogen levels. It is not uncommon to experience a random hot flash for years after menopause. If your hot flashes are bothersome or intensify, speak with your healthcare provider to rule out other causes.
How Common Are Hot Flashes After 60
However, studies have shown that 42% of women between the ages of 60 to 65 still suffer from hot flashes, with 6% of them rating them as moderate to severe.1
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Other Changes During Menopause
The loss of estrogen during menopause can cause changes in the vaginal and vulvar skin. These changes can result in vaginal dryness, burning and discomfort, or painful intercourse. Most women need a lubricant.
There are many different formulations, but silicone-based lubricants are best. Be aware that most over-the-counter lubricants contain preservatives, which can cause irritation. A preservative-free silicone lubricant or natural product, such as extra virgin olive oil or organic unrefined coconut oil, can also work.
Many women also experience painful spasms of the interior pelvic muscles, called vaginismus. Specialized physical therapy is a very effective treatment. Our center has a group of female physical therapists who are specially trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
What Women Experience During Menopause
During the time, months, or years, prior to menopause, women can experience a wide variety of symptoms that are brought on by the hormonal changes in their bodies. Aside from the decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels, physical and emotional symptoms are very common and include:
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain and/or slowed metabolism
- Dry skin and other tissues
- Thinning or loss of hair
- Sleep disturbances
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How Long Is Too Long For Hormone Therapy
Utian agrees that women should use the lowest effective dose of hormone therapy. He adds that it is increasingly clear that the combination of progestin and estrogen may pose more health risks than estrogen alone. Progestin is recommended for women who have not had hysterectomies.
All the experts contacted by WebMD agreed that there is no clear answer to the question, “How long can a woman safely stay on hormone therapy?”
“It is a personal decision that has to be made by a woman and her doctor taking her individual risk factors into account,” Ockene says. “Right now, medical science can’t really say how long is too long.”
The Journal of the American Medical Association
What About The Dreaded Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause caused by the hormonal changes in your body. It’s a feeling of intense warmth that can appear suddenly or slowly and cannot be attributed to an external source.
A hot flash may have no clear trigger, but can also be caused by alcohol, hot drinks, caffeine, spicy foods, smoking, or room temperature. They can be as mild as feeling flushed or severe enough to wake you from a sound sleep, also known as night sweats. Most hot flashes last 30 seconds to five minutes. They usually disappear within a few years after menopause, but some women may experience them for decades.
Women in menopause can experience hot flashes as often as several times a day. But this experience can vary from one woman to the next and may include:
- Sudden warm feelings or sweating.
- Redness of the face, neck, ears, chest, or other areas.
- Tingling fingers.
- Racing heart beat or palpitations.
- Feeling cold or getting the chills as the hot flash ends.
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Are You Postmenopausal And Still Having Hot Flashes Youre Not Alone
Hot flashes are supposed to get better with time, but that’s not always the case. So, what solutions are available for women?
Editors note: In honor of Menopause Awareness Month, we are running a series of stories about menopause. Our goal is to illuminate a topic that is sometimes shrouded in misinformation and shame. We hope to change that.
Did you think your hot flashes and night sweats would stop after your last period? Not so fast. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but menopausal symptoms can continue after menopause, sometimes for many years. And it’s more common than you might think.
Avoid Your Hot Flash Triggers
Some hot flashes seem to happen spontaneously, but you may have noticed that others are triggered by certain foods, drinks, places, events or even feelings. By keeping track of what is happening immediately before a hot flash, you may start to notice some recurring triggers.
Common hot flash triggers can include:
- Spicy food
- Tight clothes
Hot flashes can also be triggered by places you go, and things you do such as taking public transport, cooking a meal, or even putting on makeup.
Some triggers may be easier to avoid than others. By understanding your triggers you can start to make lifestyle adjustments that can help reduce the frequency of your hot flashes and stop some of them from happening at all.
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How Do I Manage Symptoms Of Postmenopause On My Own
Certain lifestyle or at-home changes can help you manage symptoms of postmenopause. Some of these include:
- Using a water-based vaginal lubricant during sex to make it more pleasurable. Lubricating the vagina helps with dryness and pain.
- Regular exercise, meditation and other relaxing activities can help with depression and other side effects of postmenopause.
- Eating a diet rich in phytoestrogens such as whole-grain cereals, flaxseed, chickpeas and legumes. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake has also been shown to help.
Tips For Managing Hot Flashes
There are a few different treatments you can try to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes:
Lifestyle changes. Dress in layers that you can remove if you feel a hot flash coming on. It can also help to carry a portable fan to help you cool down.
Avoid certain foods and drinks. Things like alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine can make hot flashes worse.
Stop smoking. If you smoke, it can help to quit. It will reduce your hot flashes and help you stay healthy overall.
Healthy weight. Keep exercising and try to stay fit. Women who are overweight tend to have more frequent and more severe hot flashes.
Mind-body practices. Self-calming techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and yoga can help improve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
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