When your regular menstrual cycle or period stops permanently, and you cannot get pregnant again, this time is described as menopause.
To some people, the time before a woman's last period is called menopause, this time is really the progression to menopause or perimenopause.
During postmenopause - the period after menopause, a woman's body has less use for the hormones progesterone and estrogen. If your level of estrogen is very low, it can affect your health and lead to symptoms like hot flushes. The good news is, you actually can do something about this to relieve the symptoms to improve your quality of life.
Menopause is a time when your period ceases permanently. It's a normal part of your life as a woman. Sometimes, it is called 'the change of life'. Menopause is not a sudden occurrence; you may experience irregular periods and symptoms of menopause as your body transitions over the years to menopause.
If it's been a whole year since you last saw your period, then you have reached menopause. What this implies is that for 12 successive months, you've not experienced any bleeding or spotting.
At the postmenopause age, your ovaries begin to make less use of the hormones progesterone and estrogen.
Perimenopause means 'preceding menopause' or 'about menopause'. It is the menopausal transition or the period leading to your last menstrual cycle.
Perimenopause describes a long progression to menopause or the period when your menstrual cycle ceases permanently, and you can't conceive anymore. During this transition or progression to menopause, there will be changes in your hormone levels that will suddenly bring about symptoms of menopause. Your ovaries produce a varying quantity of the hormones progesterone and estrogen than the normal.
Also, during this time, you may have irregular periods as you may not ovulate every month as usual. You may have longer or shorter periods than you used to. For a few months, you may not see your period or experience abnormally short or long periods. Your menstrual cycle might be lighter or heavier than usual. A lot of women also experience menopausal symptoms before including hot flushes during perimenopause.
The progression to menopause or perimenopause usually begins when a woman is in her middle to late 40s. On average, women experience perimenopause for 4 years before their menstrual cycle ends.
It can be difficult sometimes for you and your doctor to know if you're experiencing perimenopause or the progression to menopause. But you can monitor the following:
Menopausal symptoms may appear at once and be very obvious, or they may be very mild initially. Symptoms may be seen most of the time or only once in a while immediately menopause sets in. Some women observe changes in a lot of areas. Some symptoms of menopause like moodiness, are similar to symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). You may not have experienced others. For instance:
Other signs and body changes are not so visible. For instance, your bone density can reduce because of lower estrogen levels. This could cause osteoporosis, a medical condition where bones weaken and break easily. Unstable estrogen levels can also raise cholesterol level and increase your chances of having a stroke and heart disease.
Should your menopausal symptoms be of concern to you, see your doctor for possible treatment.
The progression to menopause or perimenopause can last between 2 and 8 years before your period ceases permanently. Perimenopause can last for over 4 years in most women. But you can tell whether you have reached menopause if it's been a whole year since you last had your period. This means that for 12 successive months, you've not experienced any bleeding or spotting.
Of course, yes. During the progression to menopause, whether you miss your period for only a month or a few months, you can conceive. Again, you may experience ovulation in some months during this time.
You will not be able to know accurately when your ovulation starts, so if you are not intending to get pregnant, go ahead with the use of birth control until one whole year after your last period. Consult your doctor if you need help with birth control.
After menopause, you cannot get pregnant, but should you have sex, you still stand at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In a case where you have multiple sex partners, use a condom or dental dam to protect yourself when you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex. You are more prone to getting an STI from unprotected sex after menopause. This is because vaginal irritation or dryness, which is very common after menopause can cause minor tears and cuts during sexual intercourse, making you more vulnerable to infection.
Menopause is defined as when you've not had a period in 12 successive months. The age bracket for women is usually 45 to 58 years. You may be able to tell roughly when you'll have menopause if you know the age your mother got hers.
Early menopause can start if:
Some health issues are also associated with early menopause.
It is common for menopause to start on its own. But you can have early menopause if you've had surgery or chemotherapy to remove both ovaries. Find out more about early menopause as you read on.
Once you experience menopause, you can no longer have a baby or see your period. Should you experience any vaginal bleeding after menopause, see your doctor immediately.
Bleeding in the vagina after menopause is abnormal and could be a sign of a severe underlying health issue.
You might notice the following after menopause:
As you grow older and approach menopause, especially during the perimenopause stage, the change in hormone levels could affect your period and lead to symptoms such as difficulty sleeping and hot flushes. With time, you may identify other symptoms like irregular menstruation, urinary issues, and pain during sexual intercourse. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider for help with your symptoms. Other forms of treatment and medicine can be of help to provide relief.
They include the following:
The most common menopause symptom is the hot flush. 3 out of 4 women have hot flushes. Even before menopause, some women experience hot flushes whilst still menstruating.
Hot flushes are an unexpected feeling of heat around the upper body region. When you have hot flushes, your face and neck may turn red. On your arms, back, and chest, red blotches may be seen. You also get to sweat profusely during hot flushes or experience cold chills after the hot flushes. Rather than hot flushes, some women get more cold chills or flushes.
It is very common for women to have hot flushes in the year before and after their period ceases. But recent research has shown that hot flushes can be felt for about 14 years after menopause. There's no established reason why hot flushes are very common in women during menopause. Some hot flushes can be prevented using medications, and there are other ways you can get relief from hot flushes when they occur.
As you approach menopause, the production of less amount of the hormones progesterone and estrogen will cause your vaginal tissue to get more dry and thinner.
Consequently, vaginal problems like a burning sensation, itching, discomfort, and pain may start. Sex may even become painful at this stage due to minor tears and cuts in your vagina since it's dry. You are likely to have an STI because of vaginal tears or cuts.
You may see your period less or more often. They may appear for fewer or more days and can be heavier or lighter. That you missed a couple of periods does not mean that you are experiencing the progression to menopause or perimenopause.
Sleeping at night is difficult for most women in menopause. With low levels of the hormone progesterone, it becomes harder to fall asleep. Low estrogen levels can also result in hot flushes that cause you to sweat during sleep. It is often referred to as night sweats. Frequent urination at night is one of the symptoms a lot of women in menopause experience. Unusual tiredness during the day is another symptom.
You may be forgetting things easily or unable to focus more. About two-thirds of women experiencing perimenopause report that they have issues with focusing or memory. Keep in mind that menopausal hormone therapy is not a treatment or prevention of memory loss or brain disease, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Recent research has shown that memory issues were part of depression and lack of sleep, but not linked to the hormone estrogen levels.
A lot of women go through urinary or bladder problems in menopause. The urethra may become weak from lower estrogen levels. Most women cannot contain their urine; a condition known as urinary urge incontinence. You might pee a little in your undergarments when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. This condition is known as urinary stress incontinence.
Some women going through menopause do not get enough sleep because of the number of times they wake up at night to urinate. Keep in mind that urinary issues after menopause are not associated with ageing and it can be treated.
You may get easily irritated or experience crying spells. Should you have a mood swing during your menstrual cycle or depression after child delivery, you may likely have mood swings with menopause as well. But even if you never had mood swing as you go through your menstrual cycle or after childbirth, you might still experience mood swings during menopause. Again, mood swing at this stage could come from tiredness, family changes, or stress. Mood swings are not similar to depression.
At perimenopause, your chances of anxiety and depression are higher. This could be as a result of menopausal symptoms, changing hormones, or both. It is quite natural to be depressed or sad over the loss of fertility or the body changes you are going through. Should you have symptoms of anxiety or depression, do well to see your doctor. He/she may recommend medicine, therapy, or both as a treatment for anxiety and depression.
Menopause has different sexual effects on women. While some women may feel more comfortable, others may feel less sexually excited. You might find sex unexciting if it is painful or uncomfortable. This could be as a result of a thinner or drier vaginal wall.
A lot of women going through menopause may draw support from understanding family members or friends. In case you're finding it hard to discuss menopause:
Discussing with family and friends can make them comprehend the effect menopause has on you. It might surprise to know that they may have ideas and tips that can help you.
Should your menopause symptoms give you concern, discuss with your doctor or healthcare provider. Some of the treatment discussion may include:
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A lot of women do not require treatment for their symptoms of menopause. You might come to realise that your symptoms disappear on their own, or your symptoms may not be uncomfortable. Should your symptoms give you concern, consult your doctor or healthcare provider to help you with relief methods. You can discuss with your medical team to get the right treatment for you. For some women, a change in eating habits and getting more exercise helps a lot. Other women may have to use medicine to get relief from their symptoms.
Yes. If you are concerned about your menopause symptoms, see your doctor or healthcare provider. They can recommend medicines to alleviate your symptoms. All medicines come with risks, and your doctor could be of help to know what medicines are suitable for you.
This is a medicine that is prescribed to treat your menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, and hot flushes if they are so serious as to make your daily life uncomfortable. Another name for menopausal hormone therapy is hormone replacement therapy or hormone therapy.
When you go through menopause, your ovaries produce little levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. Menopausal hormone therapy puts back some of the hormones that are lost with artificial estrogen and progesterone.
Symptoms of menopause like hot flushes and others can be treated with menopausal hormone therapy. The dosage is one pill daily. You may also get estrogen or estrogen plus progesterone menopausal hormone therapy in the form of a skin patch. Menopausal hormone therapy, just like every other medicine, has risks. Should you choose to use it, take the lowest possible dose within the shortest time.
Topical hormone therapy, a type of menopausal hormone therapy does not treat hot flushes but can relieve vaginal dryness or irritation. There are several other brands of menopausal hormone therapy.
This is a low-dose estrogen cream directly applied to the vagina. It helps with vaginal dryness but may not aid in the relief of other symptoms like hot flushes. It also comes in the form of a vaginal ring, gel, and insert. Topical hormone therapy has its own risk, which varies from that associated with hormone replacement therapy.
Menopausal hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy is safe for use in some women but comes with risks. Which is why the FDA advises women who decide to use this medicine to do so by using the lowest possible dose effective for the shortest period needed.
Research reveals that:
It may not be safe for certain women to undergo menopause or hormone replacement therapy. Talk to your doctor about your risks should you have:
The FDA recommends that women take only estrogen or estrogen plus progesterone menopausal hormone therapy at the lowest possible dose effective within the shortest period.
Consult your doctor or healthcare provider to analyse the risks and benefits of menopausal hormone therapy considering your age, risks factors, and symptoms.
This describes products that are just the same as natural hormones. The term 'bioidentical' is suggested by the companies that produce these medicines. Most of these companies also push forward the notion that their products come with more safety than menopausal hormone therapy. But the FDA does not regulate these products or recognise this term. There hasn't been any research to validate the safety or effectiveness of these products.
Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before taking any bioidentical hormone therapy.
Any menopause that occurs before the age of 40 is known as premature menopause. Menopause that occurs between the ages of 40 and 45 is early menopause. Up to 5% of women experience early menopause naturally. Other habits like smoking and some medications can trigger early menopause as well.
Menopause is said to be early when the ovaries cease the production of hormones and menstrual periods stops earlier than normal. This could be a natural occurrence or a medically-induced activity as in when both ovaries are taken out in a hysterectomy.
The same thing may be responsible for early and premature menopause. The difference is the age at which it occurs. When menopause sets in before the age of 45, it is known as early menopause. Menopause happening before age 40 is known as premature menopause.
Women who have experienced early or premature menopause cannot conceive.
Early or premature menopause may occur by itself for no apparent reasons, or due to certain medications, health conditions, or surgeries. However, some causes of early or premature menopause include:
Of course, you know that going for 12 successive months without menstrual periods shows that you have gone through menopause. Should you suspect that you are experiencing early menopause, see your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.
Early menopause presents symptoms or health issues similar to that of typical menopause. Some women with premature or early menopause may experience:
Based on your doctor's recommendation, you may be referred to a gynaecologist who can help you work on your feelings. Your doctor or healthcare provider can also suggest options like adoption or donor egg programs if you still like to be a parent.
The changes that perimenopause brings might make you more vulnerable to some health issues. Lower levels of estrogen and other age-related changes like weight gain in your body can cause more susceptibility to stroke, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
In postmenopause, your ovaries produce low levels of estrogen. Of course, women who have experienced menopause do have shallow estrogen levels — it could heighten your risk of some health issues after menopause. As you age gradually, other age-related health problems may come naturally.
Some examples of the common health challenges in postmenopause are:
No, it doesn't. Menopausal hormone therapy works on your menopause symptoms like hot flushes and vaginal dryness. Hormone replacement therapy might increase your risk for stroke, certain cancers, and blood clots. It doesn't prevent dementia or heart disease.
Every woman certainly needs routine checkups and screening tests throughout their entire life. Many women can practice safe health with:
Consult your doctor or healthcare provider for flu shots and other vaccines for shingles, pneumonia, and other ailments.
You may have to do other tests recommended by your doctor, depending on your state of health and other specific issues like urinary incontinence.
Various things can be done for you to stay healthy and active during menopause. Some of them include:
Just maybe you will. A lot of women gain an extra 5 pounds on average after menopause. Reduced estrogen levels may contribute to weight gain after menopause. However, weight gain can come as a result of your body's metabolism reducing as you grow older — you may not be physically active or eat healthy as you used to in your younger days. Muscle mass is also lost with age.
Gaining weight can put you at higher risk of cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack. The risk increases if you are obese or not eating healthy nor active.
One way to lose weight if you are obese is to consume small amounts of calories daily. Practice regular exercise and physical activity for a healthier life, but it works better to keep weight off than it does to lose it. Researchers feel that those who are physically active tend to be more hungry. So, to maintain a healthy weight, eat healthily and exercise for 30 minutes minimum a day.
As you approach menopause, your sex life may change. For some women, sex becomes more enjoyable. For others, it becomes less exciting; they do not even think about it. Reduction in the hormone estrogen levels causes your vaginal to become drier and thinner. There is an available treatment that can alleviate your symptoms.
You may or may not experience any changes in your sex life as a result of menopause. But if you do, it may be as a result of some or all of these:
Losing interest in sex as you age is not a medical condition that needs treatment. Should you be concerned about changes in your sexual health, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. They can provide treatment for vaginal dryness.
Steps to improving your sexual life in perimenopause and postmenopause include:
To take care of vaginal dryness that makes sex uncomfortable:
In cases where the vaginal dryness is too much, your doctor may recommend some medicines you can put inside your vagina to boost moisture and pleasure including:
Visit your doctor or healthcare provider to explain your health problems and symptoms. They can recommend one or more treatments that are suitable for you.
Discussing your concerns with your partner can boost your relationship. As you age, severe heart disease or diabetes can affect your sexual health and sex drive. Talk to your partner about things like:
You could book an appointment with a therapist or sex counsellor for private therapy if you are concerned about changes in your sex life. You may also go with your partner to this appointment.
Yes, it is. Should you have multiple sex partners, use a condom every time you have sex. If you have only one partner, sex should be just between the two of you. And you both should have an STI test before unprotected sex.
The use of condoms proves to be the best way to prevent STIs. Since a man does not need to release sperm to give or get an STI, ensure you put the condom on before you allow the penis to get to the mouth, vagina, or anus. You may also stand a chance to get STI from unprotected sex. Vaginal dryness or irritation is widespread after menopause and can cause STI to enter through the small tears and cuts.
Contact Gynae Uk if you have any question or need any assistance concerning menopause. You can visit us at Harley Street, London or place a call to us on 02071830692 today.