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Why Is Menopause A Good Thing

How Does Menopause Affect My Bladder Control

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Unfortunately, bladder control issues are common for women going through menopause. There are several reasons why this happens, including:

  • Estrogen. This hormone plays several roles in your body. It not only controls your period and promotes changes in your body during pregnancy, estrogen also keeps the lining of your bladder and urethra healthy.
  • Pelvic floor muscles. Supporting the organs in your pelvis your bladder and uterus are called the pelvic floor muscles. Throughout your life, these muscles can weaken. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth and from weight gain. When the muscles weaken, you can experience urinary incontinence .

Specific bladder control problems that you might have can include:

  • Stress incontinence .
  • Urge incontinence .
  • Painful urination .
  • Nocturia .

Symptoms Of Premature And Early Menopause

The symptoms of early menopause are the same as for menopause at the typical age and can include:

  • menstrual cycle changes, including changes to the usual bleeding pattern, particularly irregular bleeding
  • hot flushes
  • viral infections the evidence is inconclusive, but it is thought that a viral infection, such as mumps or cytomegalovirus, could trigger premature menopause in some women.
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    Mood problems like depression can spike during perimenopause, especially among women who have previously experienced them. Many of our listeners wrote in to say that during perimenopause, they felt incredibly irritable and quick to anger in a way that they had never experienced before.

    And of course, many â but not all â women experience hot flashes, though they may not recognize them. “It’s hard, because no one sits us down and teaches us, ‘Here’s what a hot flash feels like,’ ” Stuenkel says. “I’ve seen women who think they’re having panic attacks, or heart palpitations. That can be frightening.”

    Other common symptoms include more frequent urinary tract infections, difficulty sleeping through the night, vaginal dryness that can make sex painful, night sweats and a decrease in libido.

    What treatments are there for symptoms?

    Some symptoms, like heavy or irregular periods, can be managed with an oral contraceptive, which can “shut down the body’s own erratic hormonal fluctuations,” says Stuenkel.

    “This can kind of be a lifesaver,” she says. Such medication may help with hot flashes, too.

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    Will I Experience The Same Symptoms As My Mother Sister Or Friends

    The symptoms of menopause vary from one woman to another, even in the same families. The age and rate of decline of ovary function differ tremendously. This means youll need to manage your menopause individually. What worked for your mother or best friend may not work for you.

    Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about menopause. They can help you understand your symptoms and find ways to manage them that work with your lifestyle.

    Understanding The Menopausal Transition

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    Menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition, or perimenopause.

    The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about 7 years but can last as long as 14 years. During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly. Bones become less dense, making women more vulnerable to fractures. During this period, too, the body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily.

    Menopause may be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries, which produce hormones. If you have surgery to remove your ovaries or uterus and are not taking hormones, you will experience the symptoms of menopause immediately.

    This time in a woman’s life is often full of other transitionsnot just physical ones. Women may be caring for aging parents or relatives, supporting their children as they move into adulthood, or taking on new responsibilities at work.

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    Tricks To Battle Memory Loss In Menopause

    Fuzzy thinking, or brain fog, is one of the most frustrating symptoms women face during their menopausal years. These simple tricks can help you stay sharp and clear out that cloudy feeling in your mind.

    Whether you are just starting menopause or are smack in the middle of it, you may feel like youre walking around in a brain fog. Memory loss is a common complaint among women at this time, says Pauline Maki, PhD, professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of womens health research at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In fact studies show that some 60 percent of women in perimenopause and menopause report that their memory is not as good as it used to be.

    Maki says that many women with menopause-related brain fog tend to forget recently learned verbal information and have trouble concentrating. Common complaints include drawing a blank on the names of people you just met at a cocktail party or forgetting what you walked into a room to do. Some women become very frightened, believing they are developing dementia, Maki says. However, in 2009, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that in the more than 2,000 women studied over four years, memory and learning ability tended to return after menopause was complete.

    How To Prevent And Manage Night Sweats

    For both men and women, minimizing and preventing night sweats is really about figuring out what triggers your episodes and then adjusting your habits accordingly.

    If your night sweats are more likely to happen after eating certain foods, cut them out of your diet. If anxiety is an issue, experiment with stress management techniques likemeditation, or sleepgrounded. If you think your weight is a contributing issue, work with your doctor to create a sustainable exercise plan that will help you burn a few extra calories.

    Most of all, though, I would try to tackle the problem through your diet. Eating healthier will address a number of the issues that cause night sweats.

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    Will I Still Enjoy Sex After Menopause

    You should still be able to enjoy sex after menopause. Sometimes, decreased sex drive is related to discomfort and painful intercourse. After treating the source of this pain , many women are able to enjoy intimacy again. Hormone therapy can also help many women. If you are having difficulties enjoying sex after menopause, talk to your healthcare provider.

    Reasons To Look Forward To Menopause

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    If you’re like many women, you may be surprised to find that menopause can bring positive changes to your life

    The thought of menopause usually calls to mind an array of unwelcome symptoms hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, thinning hair, sleep disturbances. The list is long and disheartening. But menopause can have a positive impact on your life as well for one thing, not all physical changes caused by reduced female hormone levels are negative. For another, many of the emotional and social changes can actually be energizing. Read on to find out what many women have already discovered: In many ways, menopause can be a welcome change.

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    Staying Healthy After Menopause

    These tips will help you live a healthy life after menopause. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information:

    • If you are thinking about hormone replacement therapy, discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider first.

    • Don’t smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease.

    • Exercise regularly. Even moderate exercise, such as walking a half-hour, 3 times a week is beneficial.

    • Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced, low-sugar diet.

    • Control high blood pressure with medicine or lifestyle changes. This will help cut your risk for heart disease.

    • Reduce stress in your life through relaxation methods or regular exercise.

    Night Sweats: Are They A Good Thing

    By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

    Theres no good way to wake up in the middle of the night, but soaked in sweat is one of the worst. Not only do you need to get up and change clothes, but you may need to swap out your bedding, toothe absolute last thing anyone wants to do at 2 oclock in the morning!

    Though frustrating , occasional night sweats are usually nothing to worry about. But if youre waking up soaked on a regular basis, it would be a good idea to get checked out by your doctor. Sweating at night can also be a sign that something in the body is out of whack and needs attention.

    Whenever patients told me they had night sweats, for example, I always looked twice for signs of an overactive autonomic nervous system or a silent cardiovascular problem that I hadnt previously detected.

    Lets take a look at some of the other reasons why you may be having night sweats, and what you can do about them.

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    Getting A Good Nights Sleep During The Menopausal Transition

    To improve your sleep through the menopausal transition and beyond:

    • Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day.
    • Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening if you can. It may keep you awake at night.
    • Develop a bedtime routine. Some people read a book, listen to soothing music, or soak in a warm bath.
    • Try not to watch television or use your computer or mobile device in the bedroom. The light from these devices may make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
    • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold, and as quiet as possible.
    • Exercise at regular times each day but not close to bedtime.
    • Stay away from caffeine late in the day.
    • Remember, alcohol wont help you sleep. Even small amounts make it harder to stay asleep.

    If these changes to your bedtime routine dont help as much as youd like, you may want to consider cognitive behavioral therapy. This problem-solving approach to therapy has recently been shown to help sleep disturbances in women with menopausal symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be found through a class or in one-on-one sessions. Be sure that your therapy is guided by a trained professional with experience working with women during their menopausal transition. Your doctor may be able to recommend a therapist in your area.

    Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.

    What Age Will I Be When I Go Through Menopause

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    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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    Night Sweats In Menopause: Hot Flashes While You Sleep

    Another common cause of night sweats is menopause. These episodes are basically hot flashes that happen while youre asleep.

    Somewhat surprisingly, medicine has yet to figure out exactly why hot flashes happen. But since sweating is controlled by the endocrine system, it makes sense that this response would go a little bit haywire as hormone levels fluctuate. It also would explain why, once women progress through menopause and their hormone levels reset, many of them stop having both hot flashes and night sweats altogether.

    Though coping with hot flashes and night sweats can be stressful, heres a little good news about them.

    The simple fact that you can sweat frequently and easily means that your blood vessels are clean and healthy.

    Blood vessels that are starting to harden from cardiovascular diseasewhich women are at significantly higher risk for as they go through menopausedont expand and contract as readily. So, frequent sweating can actually be a sign that your heart and arteries are in good shape. In fact, one study found that having night sweats in addition to hot flashes during menopause reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by almost 30 percent over the next 20 years. Sounds like a bearable trade-off to me!

    It Causes Mood Changes In More Than 20 Percent Of Women

    Have you suddenly begun crying during sad commercials? Snapping at your teenagers when you used to be calm? Had a meltdown during a staff meeting, seemingly out of nowhere? While most women who go through menopause will not develop a major mood disorder, many will experience sort of mood problem during the years leading up to, during, and after menopausewhich may result in . Wildly fluctuating hormone levels are to blame, and this hormonal shifts can begin as early as

    There are several ways that your mood can be affected by the hormone changes and other events around menopause, and nothing will make you burst into tears faster than someone who dismisses it as all in your head. You know its not in your head, although it can feel a little crazy sometimes. Understanding why can help you cope, and it also gives you a way to explain it to your less-than-sympathetic family or colleagues.

    A number of forces converge during midlife to shake your emotional equilibrium, and some women are more vulnerable than others. If you are one of the women suffering from mood shifts, there may be an underlying clinical reason for it and there are treatments and solutions that can help. Pay attention to the nature of your mood problems, and see whether one of the following could be at the root of your emotional symptoms.

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    How Is Menopause Diagnosed

    There are several ways your healthcare provider can diagnose menopause. The first is discussing your menstrual cycle over the last year. If you have gone a full year without a period, you may be postmenopausal. Another way your provider can check if you are going through menopause is a blood test that checks your follicle stimulating hormone level. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland this gland is located at the base of your brain. However, this test can be misleading during the beginning of menopause when your body is transitioning and your hormone levels are fluctuating up and down. Hormone testing always need to be interpreted in the context of what is happening with the menstrual period.

    For many women, a blood test is not necessary. If you are having the symptoms of menopause and your periods have been irregular, talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to diagnose menopause after your conversation.

    Other Drugs Used For Menopausal Symptoms

    Why are menopause symptoms worse in the morning?

    Despite its risks, hormone therapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hot flashes. There are, however, nonhormonal treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

    Antidepressants

    The antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors are sometimes used for managing mood changes and hot flashes. A low-dose formulation of paroxetine is approved to treat moderate-to-severe hot flashes associated with menopause. Other SSRIs and similar antidepressant medicines are used “off-label” and may have some benefit too. They include fluoxetine , sertraline , venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , and escitalopram .

    Gabapentin

    Several small studies have suggested that gabapentin , a drug used for seizures and nerve pain, may relieve hot flashes. This drug is sometimes prescribed “off-label” for treating hot flash symptoms. However, in 2013 the FDA decided against approving gabapentin for this indication because the drug demonstrated only modest benefit. Gabapentin may cause:

    • Drowsiness

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    Womens Wellness: 5 Things To Know About Early Menopause

    So you missed a period. Or two. You think to yourself, Im too young for menopause. Right?

    Not necessarily. Early menopause, between the ages of 40 and 45, affects about 5 percent of women. Premature menopause, before age 40, affects about 1 percent of women.

    You are said to be in menopause if you have gone a full 12 months with no menstrual period. Thats when your ovaries stop making estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones necessary to maintain your menstrual cycles and fertility. For most women, menopause occurs naturally at about age 51. With increasing life expectancy, many women will spend up to 40 percent of their lives in the postmenopausal stage.

    For some women, menopause is induced early because of treatments needed to save their lives, such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. For others, its genetic conditions, autoimmune disorders or even unknown reasons that bring about this change.

    So, without a big neon billboard saying, Welcome to Menopause, what should you do? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know about Early Menopause:

    3. Your family plans may change. If you wish to have a family, you may need to consider options such as freezing embryos or eggs. If you had planned to have children, you may need to allow yourself to envision a new dream, such as building your family through in vitro fertilization with donor eggs, adoption or surrogacy.

    What Is Hormone Therapy

    During menopause, your body goes through major hormonal changes, decreasing the amount of hormones it makes particularly estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are produced by the ovaries. When your ovaries no longer make enough estrogen and progesterone, hormone therapy can be used as a supplement. Hormone therapy boosts your hormone levels and can help relieve some symptoms of menopause. Its also used as a preventative measure for osteoporosis.

    There are two main types of hormone therapy:

    • Estrogen therapy : In this treatment, estrogen is taken alone. Its typically prescribed in a low dose and can be taken as a pill or patch. ET can also be given to you as a cream, vaginal ring, gel or spray. This type of treatment is used after a hysterectomy. Estrogen alone cant be used if a woman still has a uterus.
    • Estrogen Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy : This treatment is also called combination therapy because it uses doses of estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is available in its natural form, or also as a progestin . This type of hormone therapy is used if you still have your uterus.

    Hormone therapy can relieve many of the symptoms of menopause, including:

    • Hot flashes and night sweats.
    • Vaginal dryness.

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