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Why Do Women Go Through Menopause

Can Menopause Cause Depression

Why do some women gain weight during menopause?

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

If you are experiencing 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.

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

Comparative Endocrine Milieu Of Reproductive And Post

The principles of low estrogen menopausal physiology help explain diseases that appear to increase in frequency and severity during the late postmenopause. Low serum estrogen levels in menopause, compared with low levels during lactation, result in very different metabolic and CNS effects. It does not seem logical that VMS and sleep disorders serve any beneficial purpose later in life, although VMS in infant-caring menopausal grandmothers could potentially offer similar warming advantages for grand-offspring survival.

Vasomotor symptoms affect a large majority of post-industrial menopausal women, with some estimates as high as 90%. Although all women are not equally affected, about one-third of affected women have very severe symptoms causing multiple nighttime awakenings, severe night sweats and disturbed cognitive function ., These studies are reported from present-day sedentary populations and are not representative of hunter-gatherers. Menopausal symptoms at every stage are decreased in very physically active women as compared with those who are less active.,

Hot Flushes May Continue Years After Menopause

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Emotional And Cognitive Symptoms

Women in perimenopause often report a variety of thinking and/or emotional symptoms, including fatigue, memory problems, irritability, and rapid changes in mood. It is difficult to determine exactly which behavioral symptoms are due directly to the hormonal changes of menopause. Research in this area has been difficult for many reasons.

Emotional and cognitive symptoms are so common that it is sometimes difficult in a given woman to know if they are due to menopause. The night sweats that may occur during perimenopause can also contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue, which can have an effect on mood and cognitive performance. Finally, many women may be experiencing other life changes during the time of perimenopause or after menopause, such as stressful life events, that may also cause emotional symptoms.

Hot And Yep Cold Flashes Too

Explainer: why do women go through menopause?

In her early 50s, Liza, 58, of New York City, started having hot flashes that woke her up at night, though she didnt really realize what they were. That soon changed when she began having them during the day.

They were full-blown drenchers, where the sweat would pour down my face, for 10 minutes. And theyd occur every half-hour or so, she says. She carried a fan with her on the subway so she could cool down after a particularly bad flash. She always had tissues to sop up the sweat, and she stopped using facial moisturizer because just putting it on made me sweat.”

So, whats the deal with hot flashes? Deep inside your brain is the cone-shaped hypothalmus, which, among other things, controls body temperature and hormone production. When estrogen levels drop, the hypothalamus has a harder time keeping your core temperature stable. If the brain senses your body is getting hotter , the hypothalmus will trigger the blood vessels to dilate to get rid of the extra heat.

Those hellish hot flashes made Liza miserable, so she asked her gynecologist about hormone therapy . HT are pills or patches that pump female hormones back into your body. Not everyone is a good candidate for hormone therapy. Women who have a history of breast cancer or blood clots are considered at higher risk for strokes or breast cancer because estrogen plays a role in both. But for most women, these risks are minimized if youre put on a low dose and you start before age 60 .

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Where Does Ladycare Come In

Luckily we have created a natural therapy for menopause symptoms, the LadyCare device. LadyCare works by rebalancing the Autonomic Nervous System and has therefore been designed as a safe alternative to other treatments such as HRT.

So even if you have been dealt an unfortunate hand, and you are finding it difficult to cope with many of the unpleasant symptoms that come with menopause, we might have the answer for you. Find out how other women have got on with the LadyCare device.

Which Surgeries Involve Bilateral Oophorectomy

Hysterectomy can sometimes, though not always, include bilateral oophorectomy. Hysterectomy that does not involve removal of the ovaries usually does not result in menopause. Even though menses will stop once the uterus is removed, the ovaries will probably continue to function.

Other surgeries that may involve the removal of both ovaries include:

  • Abdominal resection. This is a surgical procedure done to treat colon and rectal cancer. While this surgery usually involves the removal of the lower colon and rectum, it can also include partial or total removal of the uterus and ovaries, as well as the rear wall of the vagina.
  • Total pelvic exenteration. This procedure is usually only performed in cases of cervical cancer that recurs despite treatment with surgery and radiation. It involves the removal of most pelvic organs, including the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, vagina, bladder, urethra, and part of the rectum.

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Alternative And Complementary Menopause Treatments

Some studies have found that soy products relieve hot flashes, but researchers are still looking into it. There arenât many large studies on whether other supplements such as black cohosh or âbioidenticalâ hormones work for menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor before starting any herbal or dietary supplements.

Yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture are safer ways to manage menopause symptoms.

Extra Weight Around The Middle

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The weight gain took me by surprise, says Liza, who carried those extra pounds around her belly and waist. Im tall, so I get away with it, but tunics became my friends, and Ive gone up a size in some clothes.

Since shed never gained weight that quickly, she even went to her doctor because she thought she might have diabetes. She didnt, but there are reasons why menopause can do a number on a womans weight.

For one thing, your metabolism becomes more sluggish with the decline of estrogen, says Dr. Hirsch. And those extra pounds now gravitate toward your abdomen instead of your hips. Theres also a link between low estrogen and insulin resistance, one reason why post-menopausal women are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than women in their child-bearing years.

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Longevity Demography And Changing Patterns Of Disease

Whether a product of natural selection advantage, chance, or constraint as the cause of design complexity, menopause confers some advantages toward survival. In view of suggestions by others, one should consider any claim of adaptation against constraint and pathology as alternatives. The mechanism by which the naturally occurring state of menopause accelerates somatic aging and advances disease risks over time will be explored.

Survival beyond age 65 of a large percentage of the female population is a very recent phenomenon in terms of evolutionary time. The earliest census data for the United States are from Massachusetts, where life expectancy in 1850 at birth was 40, biased by high rates of infant mortality. If a woman reached age 40, the data predicted 28 additional years of life expectancy, indicating that if one survived infancy and the high mortality of childbearing, then surviving until age 68 was common. This estimate is similar to the maximum 70- to 74-year life expectancy observed in the most fertile women, as reported by Emery Thompson et al. Demographic data do not support life spans beyond the eighth decade as a frequent naturally occurring event.

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

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.

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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

What Happens During Menopause

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Natural menopause isnât caused by any type of medical or surgical treatment. Itâs slow and has three stages:

  • Perimenopause. This phase usually begins several years before menopause, when your ovaries slowly make less estrogen. Perimenopause lasts until menopause, the point at which your ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1 to 2 years of this stage, estrogen levels fall faster. Many women have menopause symptoms.
  • Menopause. This is when it’s been a year since you had a period. Your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making most of their estrogen.
  • Postmenopause. These are the years after menopause. Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes usually ease. But health risks related to the loss of estrogen increase as you get older.

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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.

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.

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.

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Will I Gain Weight When I Experience Menopause

Changes in your hormone levels may cause you to gain weight. However, aging can also contribute to weight gain.

Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and practicing other healthy habits to help control your weight. Being overweight can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.

Low Estrogen Health Risks

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Osteoporosis is when the bones become weak and brittle due to a lack of calcium. Estrogen preserves bone health by preventing calcium loss. When estrogen levels decline because of hormonal changes, it may increase the risk for fractures in the spine, hips, legs, and arms.

Women who drink a lot of alcohol, smoke, and do not exercise are at an increased risk of osteoporosis. Thin and petite women and those with a family history of osteoporosis also have a higher risk of developing this condition.

Heart Disease

Estrogen seems to play a role in protecting the body from heart disease because it may elevate good cholesterol levels in the blood. A sharp increase in heart disease risk occurs with menopause.

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Hot Flashes During Perimenopause

Most women don’t expect to have hot flashes until , so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes sometimes called hot flushes and given the scientific name of vasomotor symptoms are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. They’re also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.

Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire “from the inside out.” A major hot flash can induce facial and upper-body flushing, sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion. Having one of these at an inconvenient time can be quite disconcerting. Hot flash frequency varies widely. Some women have a few over the course of a week others may experience 10 or more in the daytime, plus some at night.

Most American women have hot flashes around the time of menopause, but studies of other cultures suggest this experience is not universal. Far fewer Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian women report having hot flashes. In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, women appear not to have any at all. These differences may reflect cultural variations in perceptions, semantics, and lifestyle factors, such as diet.

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.

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Future Directions And Research Opportunities

Careful examination of the inherent self-preserving physiologic and evolutionarily selected mechanisms for homeostasis during and following lactation may provide new insight into the prevention of disease following menopause. Furthering our understanding of energy conservation during lactation may provide opportunities for reduced caloric consumption and its attendant longevity benefits following menopause, with similar salutary effects. Perhaps the hormonal milieu present during and immediately following lactation, an environment that restores skeletal integrity, could be harnessed later in life to prevent osteoporosis, fracture and other infirmities so prevalent in aged women.

Hair Loss Or Thinning

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While hair loss tends to be subtler in women overall than in men, most women experience thinning rather than bald spots or chunks of hair falling out. Hair thinning for women can occur on the front, sides, or top of the head and can fall out most noticeably during brushing and showering.

Hair loss during menopause is the direct result of the hormonal imbalance women experience in menopause. So you can thank lower levels of estrogen and progesterone again for your hair thinning. As these levels drop, hair grows slowly and can become thinner.

Some women can also experience irregular hair growth on their face and body due to a higher level of testosterone during menopause. This can cause thick and coarse hair to grow on areas, such as the face, arms, back, or chest.

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What Are Hot Flashes And How Long Will I Have Them

Hot flashes are one of the most frequent symptoms of menopause. It is a brief sensation of heat. Hot flashes arent the same for everyone and theres no definitive reason that they happen. Aside from the heat, hot flashes can also come with:

  • A red, flushed face.
  • Sweating.
  • A chilled feeling after the heat.

Hot flashes not only feel different for each person they also can last for various amounts of time. Some women only have hot flashes for a short period of time during menopause. Others can have some kind of hot flash for the rest of their life. Typically, hot flashes are less severe as time goes on.


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