Women past a certain age will experience menopause. Menopause is defined as having no menstrual period for one year. The age you experience it can vary, but it typically occurs in your late 40s or early 50s.
Menopause can cause many changes in your body. The symptoms are the result of a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone in your ovaries. Symptoms may include hot flashes, weight gain, or vaginal dryness. Vaginal atrophy contributes to vagina dryness. With this, there can be inflammation and thinning of the vaginal tissues which adds to uncomfortable intercourse.
Menopause can also increase your risk for certain conditions like osteoporosis. You may find that getting through menopause requires little medical attention. Or you may decide you need to discuss symptoms and treatment options with a doctor.
What are the 1st signs of menopause?
Hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, loss of libido and sexual discomfort. Later: brain fog, heart racing, skipping beats or just general irregular rhythm, insomnia or difficulty sleeping through the night, tiredness, grumpiness, unexpected tears, mental instability.
1. What age will you be when you 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 thought Trusted Source to be genetically determined, but things such as smoking or chemotherapy can accelerate ovary decline, resulting in earlier menopause.
2. What’s the difference between perimenopause (early menopause) and menopause?
Perimenopause refers to the period of time right before menopause begins., During perimenopause, your body is beginning the transition into menopause. That means that hormone production from your ovaries is beginning to decline. You may begin to experience some symptoms commonly associated with menopause, like hot flashes. Your menstrual cycle may become irregular, but it won’t cease during the perimenopause stage.
Once you completely stop having a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months, you’ve entered menopause.
3. What symptoms are caused by the reduced levels of estrogen (women hormone) in my body?
About 75 percent of women experience hot flashes during menopause, making them the most common symptom experienced by menopausal women. Hot flashes can occur during the day or at night. Some women may also experience muscle and joint pain, known as arthralgia, or mood swings., It may be difficult to determine whether these symptoms are caused by shifts in your hormones, life circumstances, or the aging process itself.
4. When do you know that you have a hot flash?
During a hot flash, you’ll likely feel your body temperature rise. Hot flashes affect the top half of your body, and your skin may even turn red in color or become blotchy. This rush of heat could lead to sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of dizziness. After the hot flash, you may feel cold., Hot flashes may come on daily or even multiple times a day. You may experience them over the course of a year or even several years., Avoiding triggers may reduce the number of hot flashes you experience. These can include:
consuming alcohol or caffeine, eating spicy food, feeling stressed, being somewhere hot, being overweight and smoking may also make hot flashes worse., A few techniques may help reduce your hot flashes and their symptoms: Dress in layers to help with hot flashes, and use a fan in your home or office space., Do breathing exercises during a hot flash to try to minimize it., Medications such as birth control pills, hormone therapy, or even other prescriptions may help you reduce hot flashes. See your doctor if you’re having difficulty managing hot flashes on your own.
Hot flash prevention
Avoid triggers like spicy foods, caffeine, or alcohol. Smoking may also make hot flashes worse., Dress in layers., Use a fan at work or in your home to help cool you down., Talk to your doctor about medications that may help reduce your hot flash symptoms.
5. How does menopause affect your 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.
6. Is heart disease linked to menopause?
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.
7. Will you gain weight when you 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.
Focus on a healthy lifestyle to manage your weight., Eat a well-rounded diet that includes increasing calcium and reducing sugar intake.
Engage in 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, or 7 minutes, week of more intense exercise, such as running., Don’t forget to include strength exercises in your routine as well.
8. Will you experience the same symptoms as your 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 you’ll need to manage your menopause individually. What worked for your mother or best friend may not work for you.
9. How will you know if you going through menopause if you have had a hysterectomy (removed your womb)
If your whom was surgically removed through a hysterectomy, you may not know you’re going through menopause unless you experience hot flashes.
This can also happen if you’ve had an endometrial ablation and your ovaries weren’t removed. Endometrial ablation is the removal of the lining of your uterus as treatment for heavy menstruation., If you aren’t having any symptoms, a blood test can determine if your ovaries are still functioning. This test can be used to help doctors find out your estrogen level, which may be beneficial if you’re at risk of osteoporosis. That’s because knowing your estrogen status may be important in determining whether you need a bone density assessment.
10. Is hormone replacement a safe option for management of menopausal problems?
Several hormone therapies are 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.
11. Are there nonhormonal options for the management of menopausal symptoms?
Hormone therapy may not be the right choice for you. Some medical conditions may prevent you from safely being able to use hormone therapy or you may choose not to use that form of treatment for your own personal reasons. Changes to your lifestyle may help you relieve many of your symptoms without need for hormonal intervention.
Lifestyle changes may include: weight loss, exercise, room temperature reductions, avoidance of foods that aggravate symptoms, dressing in light cotton clothing and wearing layers, Other treatments such as herbal therapies, self-hypnosis, acupuncture, certain low-dose antidepressants, and other medications may be helpful in decreasing hot flashes., Several approved medications can be used for prevention of bone loss. These may include:
Can a woman get pregnant after menopause?
After menopause, a woman no longer produces eggs and thus cannot become pregnant naturally. But although eggs succumb to this biological clock, pregnancy is still possible using a donor egg. Therefore, all of the women in the study had an egg from a younger woman implanted into her uterus
What are the negative effects of menopause?
The cessation of menstrual periods is often associated with a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including anxiety, depression, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats). These symptoms may last years after the menopause transition.
After menopause, your risk of certain medical conditions increases. Examples include:
o Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease. When your estrogen levels decline, your risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women as well as in men. So it’s important to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet and maintain a normal weight. Ask your doctor for advice on how to protect your heart, such as how to reduce your cholesterol or blood pressure if it’s too high.
o Osteoporosis. This condition causes bones to become brittle and weak, leading to an increased risk of fractures. During the first few years after menopause, you may lose bone density at a rapid rate, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are especially susceptible to fractures of their spine, hips and wrists.
o Urinary incontinence. As the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose elasticity, you may experience frequent, sudden, strong urges to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence), or the loss of urine with coughing, laughing or lifting (stress incontinence). You may have urinary tract infections more often.
o Sexual function. Vaginal dryness from decreased moisture production and loss of elasticity can cause discomfort and slight bleeding during sexual intercourse. Also, decreased sensation may reduce your desire for sexual activity (libido).
o Water-based vaginal moisturizers and lubricants may help. If a vaginal lubricant isn’t enough, many women benefit from the use of local vaginal estrogen treatment, available as a vaginal cream, tablet or ring.
o Weight gain. Many women gain weight during the menopausal transition and after menopause because metabolism slows. You may need to eat less and exercise more, just to maintain your current weigh.
Menopause and complementary therapies
Some women can benefit from using complementary therapies for menopause. But it is important to remember that ‘natural’ herb and plant medications can have unpleasant side effects in some women, just like prescribed medications. A registered naturopath may provide long-term guidance and balance through the menopause.
Herbal therapies can often be taken in conjunction with hormone therapy. It is important to let both your doctor and naturopath know exactly what each has prescribed, and to consult your doctor before taking any herbal treatments or dietary supplements for menopause. Some natural therapies can affect or interact with other medications you may be taking
Exercise and menopause
Regular exercise is important. At least 30 to 45 minutes on most days of the week will help to:
o Maintain your heart health and improve your general health
o Keep your bones healthy and prevent bone density loss through osteoporosis – particularly weight-bearing and strength-training activities, maintain good balance and reduce the risk of injury from falls, provide a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing, possibly improve hot flushes.