Menopause is a natural occurrence in all women. Menopause is clinically described as the lack of a menstrual cycle for twelve consecutive months. Which means a woman doesn’t have her period. Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 55, but can occur earlier or later.
A good indication of when a woman can expect to go through this transition is what age her mother and grandmother experienced it.
A woman has a menstrual cycle every 21 – 28 days and usually lasts 5 – 7 days. When a woman begins to experience signs of her menstrual cycle changing can be a symptom of menopause.
The cycle can become longer or shorter, more frequent, and even the flow can be affected by becoming lighter or heavier.
When menopause signs first begin, up to the time in which menopause is completed by the consecutive 12 months of no cycle is called perimenopause. Perimenopause is not known as a clinical term but its use is common.
1. Menopause: What You Should Know?
Menopause is a very personal experience for each woman, and no two women will be affected in the same way. They may share common symptoms but the way in which they handle those symptoms and how mild or severe they may be varies for each woman.
A woman can expect to be in the perimenopause transition for quite some time. It can last up to ten years before completing menopause (01 ).
During this time there are some symptoms you should become aware of and expect.
- Irregular Menstrual Cycles – like previously stated there may become a change in your cycle. It can be affected in different ways.
- Hot Flashes: are a warming and sometimes sweating feeling that comes over the body mostly affecting the head and chest.
- Night Sweats: this occurs at night and can become severe enough not only to soak your night clothes but bedding as well.
- Mood Swings: mood swings are common in most women. You may be happy one minute and crying the next.
These are just a few of the symptoms you may experience once the menopausal transition begins.
A hormonal imbalance begins to occur in the body because the ovaries which produce hormones begin to decrease in making the hormones.
This imbalance can create other symptoms like insomnia, weight gain, and other medical conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Some women may become depressed.
There are treatments available for most all symptoms of menopause. Menopause is a condition and not a disease so you treat the symptoms.
Herbal and natural remedies have been known to relieve menopausal symptoms without the side effects that are associated with conventional drugs and medicines
Some women may experience early menopause which is prior to age 30. Most of these cases do not occur naturally but are induced by some other cause like hysterectomy or treatments for some kinds of cancers, like radiation and chemotherapy, and sometimes genetics can cause early menopause.
Women who experience early menopause can and most likely will experience the same symptoms as a woman who is perimenopausal.
2. Menopause Symptoms
2.1. What to Expect
Menopause affects each woman differently. There is a variety of symptoms associated with menopause, some of which are:
2.2. Irregular Menstrual Cycles
One of the first things women notice is their menstrual cycles become irregular. They may become longer or shorter, or they may become heavier or lighter inflow. Sometimes there is a mix of the two.
Having an irregular menstrual cycle doesn’t mean you are perimenopausal, an irregular cycle can be related to many different medical conditions. It is important to get a doctor’s evaluation to confirm a perimenopausal condition.
2.3. Hot Flashes or Night Sweats
A hot flash is a body feeling very warm especially the head and chest sometimes causing perspiration. It is believed women experience these symptoms because of the change in hormone production from the ovaries during perimenopause.
The feeling can last between thirty seconds to a couple of minutes. They can be experienced any time of day or night and can be experienced more than a few times a day.
Night sweats occur usually at night and are a drenching of the body. One who experiences a night sweat is usually awakening with soaked clothes and sometimes drenched bed clothes as well.
Hot flashes and night sweats usually stop within five years but can be experienced for up to ten years. They usually start to decline in intensity by frequency. These symptoms vary and range in each individual.
2.4. Vaginal Changes
The vagina changes as the production of hormones decline during the menopause transition. It’s elasticity lessons, it can become thinner and drier. Some women may experience pain and irritation during or after sexual intercourse.
2.5. Urinary Disorders
The declining production of hormones can also affect the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the bladder. Like the vagina, the urethra can lose some of its elasticity. It can also become dry and thinner.
These conditions make it more susceptible to urinary tract infections, it can cause incontinence, as well as, the feeling to urinate more frequently.
The inconsistency is can be more intense when laughing or coughing or when you lift heavy objects. Sometimes you may experience leakage during these times.
2.6. Emotional Changes
Many emotional changes in women during perimenopause is difficult to justify menopause as the only culprit causing the emotional change. Changes like fatigue and irritability which are common symptoms of menopause can also be caused by night sweats and hot flashes, and can also be caused by stress from another situation going on in their life.
Memory loss and confusion are also symptoms of menopause but these symptoms can also be brought on by other means. Mood swings have been related to the hormone change, but again may also be caused by another disorder.
It is very difficult to prove the emotional changes a woman experience is only being experienced due to menopause transition.
2.7. Miscellaneous Changes
Some perimenopausal women experience getting acne for the first time or a worsen adult acne in those who have had an acne problem. There is always the middle age spread, a degree of weight gain, mostly in the waist and abdomen.
The skin may become drier, wrinkled, or change in texture. As estrogen levels may decline, testosterone levels may elevate causing some women to develop hair on the chin, lip or chest.
3. Signs of Menopause
When a woman begins menopause she may notice her menstrual cycle becoming shorter or longer or she may notice a change in blood flow. The cycles may become different in more than one way at a time.
The age at which these signs start may vary just like the starting of the menstrual cycle age.
You may begin to experience hot flashes or become very moody and emotional. You may cry at the drop of a hat or over something very trivial.
This period is sometimes referred to as perimenopause. Perimenopause isn’t a true medical term but it is used to describe the period of time from the onset of menopausal symptoms to the completion of menopause.
Menopausal symptoms vary for each individual and it can last for up to ten years before actual menopause. Some women find the need for medications to help reduce symptoms, while others may need hormone replacement drugs to control their symptoms.
Sometimes a doctor will prescribe birth control to regulate the menstrual cycle during perimenopause. A woman’s experience of her last menstrual cycle is also different.
Some will just stop while others may have flooding of flow, some compare this flow gush to hemorrhaging.
Post-menopause, a true clinical term, refers to all the time after the menstrual cycle stops. Post menopausal women are more susceptible to a range of conditions due to the lack of hormones.
It may be necessary for some individuals to have some type of hormone replacement drugs to maintain a normal lifestyle.
Doctors will check the age of when your mother and grandmother went through menopause to estimate what age you can expect to begin menopause.
Again it would only be an estimation because it is different for every woman.
4. Menopause Treatment
The best way to have menopause diagnosed is by noting a continuous twelve-month time frame without a menstrual cycle. Prior to experiencing menopause women go through perimenopause.
Perimenopause is referred to as the time frame which is the onset of menopausal symptoms to the ceasing of menstrual cycles.
When menopausal symptoms first begin a doctor may order blood tests. The blood tests can check the hormone levels in the patient. However, the hormone levels do not mean a woman is in a menopausal state.
Hormone levels can vary in each woman on a daily basis. This means you can have high levels today and low levels tomorrow. Although when a woman is perimenopausal her hormone levels also change the blood tests are inconclusive as part of a diagnosis for menopause.
4.1 Hormone Therapy for Menopause
Because menopause is a natural occurrence in women and not a disease there is no actual treatment for menopause, but one can seek treatment for the menopausal symptoms.
These symptoms include hot flashes, mental stress disorder, depression, irregular menstrual cycles among others.
Hormones produced by the ovaries help control these symptoms from occurring in premenopausal women but once you begin perimenopause the hormones are not produced as much.
Is Hormone therapy consists of the replacement of estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone?
Some women who experience severe symptoms may lean towards hormone replacement drugs, hormone therapy.
Hormone therapy consists of the replacement of estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone. The hormones must be active to be effective. This type of therapy is the best treatment for hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Hormone therapy can be used in two forms, oral which is a pill or transdermal which is applied to the body as in a spray or patch. Oral hormone therapy must do the first pass before becoming active.
A first pass means that they must pass through the liver before becoming active. Transdermal therapy is already active and doesn’t affect the liver.
Transdermal therapies are preferred for most patients using hormone therapy. There is a variety of hormone therapies available and vary for each individual.
Studies of women using a combination of estrogen and progesterone hormone therapy long term had an increased risk of having a heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer.
When studies were done in women using estrogen therapy alone the risk for heart attack and breast cancer declined but not for stroke.
4.2. Estrogen Alone Therapy Treatment
In addition, the Estrogen alone therapy also showed an increased risk of endometrial cancer in post menopausal women.
These increased risks deterred some women from using these conventional hormone therapies raising interest in bio-identical hormone therapies.
4.3. Bioidentical Hormone Treatment
Bioidentical hormone products are the same hormones, that are made in the body, are made from natural plants in a laboratory. The usage of these products is called bioidentical hormone therapy.
Natural plant products are altered in a lab to create the identical hormones made in the body. The bioidentical hormone therapies are usually used in gel or cream form which makes them a transdermal therapy.
The FDA has approved some types of bioidentical hormone and these are being manufactured by some drug companies. Some bioidentical hormone therapies are made on an individual case by case basis, however, these are not the US – FDA approved and are manufactured by compound pharmacies.
There haven’t been any studies as to the effectiveness or adverse risks in long term usage of these bioidentical therapies but their advocates praise their results and like the fact they don’t carry the risks that the conventional therapies have.
4.4. Oral Contraceptives Therapy (pill)
Another therapy is oral contraceptives. Yes, the pill. Not only does it regulate the menstrual cycle, but it also relieves hot flashes, as well as, provides protection from the change of life pregnancy .
There are also local therapies for estrogen deficiency like the vaginal estrogen ring, or estrogen creams that can be applied vaginally.
Hormone therapies should be discussed with your doctor. Each individual case is different and there are things needed to be considered like an overall medical condition, medical history, as well as, risks involved and long term usage and benefits.
If hormone therapy is your plan of action it is recommended that its use be in the smallest dosage for the least amount of time.
5. Menopause Complications
How Does Menopause Affect Your Chronic Health Condition?
Menopause usually starts to affect women in their 40′s. During menopause, a woman’s body goes through hormonal changes due to the lack of ovulation.
The decrease in hormonal productivity can cause weakening and thinning of the bones. This process can make the bones more susceptible to fractures.
5.1. Osteoporosis Progresses
Whereas, osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bone’s density as well. Osteoporosis progresses so slow that sometimes women don’t find out they have the condition until they are perimenopausal.
A woman is diagnosed with osteoporosis before she becomes menopausal the disease can be intensified.
Calcium and vitamin D are important vitamins in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. When a woman begins the menopausal transition, it can only benefit to take some precautionary measures to prevent osteoporosis.
Increasing vitamin D and calcium will help keep the bones from weakening. There are other symptom reduction products that may help as well.
For women who already suffer from osteoporosis before menopause, you may want to speak to your health care professional on other treatments. Treatments for menopause and osteoporosis are sometimes the same treatment.
For instance, diet and exercise are important measures to consider when trying to reduce symptoms of either condition. There are vitamin supplements, low range exercises that will aid in reducing symptoms of both conditions.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death in men and women. A post menopausal (a woman who has completed the menopausal transition) woman’s chance of heart disease increases two to three times that of a woman who is perimenopausal ( a woman who is going through menopause but has not completed it), but maybe the same age.
A lack of the hormone estrogen is believed to be related to the increase.
5.2. Estrogen Decrease (Affect the ovaries)
When a woman is going through menopause her production of estrogen decreases because the ovaries which produce estrogen decrease.
And although the body turns calories into fat where estrogen can be made, it may not be enough to balance the hormone levels. In turn, this decrease can increase the chance of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart disease.
When a woman begins the menopausal transition it sometimes becomes necessary for her to seek conventional medications to treat her menopausal symptoms.
These treatments carry the risk of cardiovascular disease. Thus, some women prefer to use natural and herbal treatments to treat their menopausal symptoms because they don’t carry the risks of cardiovascular disease.
5.3 Menopause & Cardiovascular Disease
Again in regards to menopause and its effect on cardiovascular disease diet and exercise are important. Keeping a well maintained weight and increasing fruits and vegetables in your diet can help produce a healthy body and mind.
Menopause can be a stressful condition. Stress is just another factor that can cause strokes and heart attacks. Walking is a good stress reliever, as well as, an aid for an overall healthy body.
No matter what concerns you have about menopause, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, or the combination of them you should always speak with a healthcare professional. They can help diagnose and aid in a healthy, possibly preventative treatment plan.
6. Relieving Menopause the Natural Way
Many women are looking at the benefits of using natural substances to relieve their menopausal symptoms. Natural products don’t carry the side effects of conventional hormone therapies like heart disease and some cancers.
Natural remedies help relieve many different menopausal symptoms. If you are concerned about the side effects of conventional hormone therapies then maybe you should consider or talk with your doctor about some herbal treatments you can try.
6.1. Red Clover
Red Clover is effective in aiding bone loss, helps prevent some cancers as well as helps prevent heart disease.
Menopausal women use red clover isoflavones to prevent and control hot flashes and night sweats. Red clover isoflavone can be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies or health stores.
6.2. Black cohosh
Another well-known natural therapy to relieve menopause symptoms is black cohosh. When black cohosh is combined with other naturals like ginseng and primrose oils a type of estrogen is formed.
Adding additional estrogen to your body can lessen the menopausal symptoms without the potentially harsh side effects of some conventional HRT’s (Hormone Replacement Therapies).
In some conventional HRT’s, it is necessary for the estrogen to be metabolized and that goes for some natural treatments as well.
Natural treatments like Bifidus and lactobacillus acidophilous help metabolize estrogen while it also helps women prevent yeast infections. Bifidus is a good bacteria found in the intestine.
6.3. Vitamin Supplements
Some women will use vitamin supplements to help prevent their menopausal symptoms.
Vitamin E prevents hot flashes and when taken with vitamin E absorption enhancers like calcium and magnesium it can also decrease capillary fragility.
There are also other natural treatments like bioidentical hormone treatments.
These products are manufactured by some drug companies while others that are manufactured on a case-by-case basis are done so in what is called a compound pharmacy.
Compound pharmacy products are not US FDA regulated. Bioidentical, an identical hormone, to one’s own body-produced hormone, made from natural plant extracts in a lab.
There haven’t been many test studies as to the effectiveness of natural treatments but advocates of these therapies claim they work as well as the conventional therapies without the side effects.
There are a few other treatments that can be helpful in treating menopause symptoms whether you use conventional or natural therapies.
Exercising a few times a week not only helps prevent bone loss, but it also helps keep a healthy body overall.
6.4. Watching what you eat is also important.
Foods like red meats, foods containing caffeine, and carbonated drinks slow down the liver’s ability to process estrogen.
Excessive sugar intake not only slows down the liver’s capability of metabolizing estrogen also affects the immune system.
6.5. Adding foods that contain oats, wheat, grains, and soy
Adding foods that contain oats, wheat, grains, and soy is beneficial in preventing menopausal symptoms. Eating nuts like almonds and cashews help the liver metabolize estrogen.
You can’t go wrong with adding additional fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet either.
We know that every individual woman experiences menopause and its symptoms in different ways. It is a very personal experience and should be discussed with your doctor before you decide which treatments are best for you.
Some natural remedies may affect other conventional medications you may be taking so make sure you talk with your doctor.
7. Depression and Menopause
Menopausal experience many symptoms one of which is mood swings. Mood swings are thought to be contributed by the imbalance of hormones. When a woman is in the transition of menopause it is believed that the lack of the ovaries producing estrogen causes the woman to have mood swings.
Also, a woman that experiences night sweats and hot flashes may become irritable causing one to believe the mood swing is menopausal.
Typically a woman may experience some depression while making the menopause transition. Mental depression is usually characterized by an altered mood.
There may be a lack of interest in everyday activities and/or pleasurable activities, fatigue, loss of appetite, and insomnia are just a few symptoms of depression. Depression is clinically divided into three categories:
Dysphoria is an exaggerated feeling of depression and restlessness without apparent cause. Dysphoria is a normal brief feeling of sadness that is short lived and doesn’t require any treatment.
7.2 Reactive Depression
Reactive depression usually occurs when one experiences any life changes. One may become sad from losing a job, getting divorced, or losing a loved one. Reactive depression usually doesn’t require any treatment although in some cases the depression is severe enough to need medication.
7.3 Clinical Depression
A person who experiences signs of depression every day for at least two weeks may be diagnosed with dysthymia. Dysthymia is any mental depression that is caused by the defective function of the thymus gland.
Dysthymia requires treatment due to the imbalance in the brain.
7.4. Menopausal Transition Mood Experience
Women in the menopausal transition have experienced being happy one minute and crying the next. Most women have good days as well as bad days, happy one minute, crying the next, not being able to sleep due to hot flashes or night sweats, these things can be aggravating thus causing mood swings.
There is help available to women who have experienced these symptoms.
Some women believe oral contraceptives help prevent mood swings. The estrogen and progesterone hormones delivered to the body keeps the hormone levels at a balance preventing mood swings.
Oral contraceptives also help regulate menstrual cycles.
There are also some herbal remedies that can help prevent mood swings during the menopause transition.
St John’s Wort can be very effective when used in conjunction with the following lifestyle changes:
A.) A person should only do as much as they can, so they may need to break large tasks into smaller ones.
B.) A person should participate in activities that make them feel good.
C.) A person should be patient in regards to their condition. Realize the condition is temporary and will improve with time.
D.) A person should postpone any important or life changing decisions until the moodiness passes. You may want to discuss the situation with someone who if very familiar with your decision-making.
There is sometimes a need for antidepressant medication. There may be a chemical imbalance in which the medication can regulate, but this process can take up to a few weeks before you may see any improvements.
The mental stability or condition is not something a general practitioner is qualified to diagnose.
When it comes to depression, mood swings, or any mental condition you should seek the help of mental health professional.
8. Diabetes and Menopause
Most women don’t realize the relationship between diabetes and menopause. When in fact the symptoms of menopause can be the same as diabetes, in some instances.
Diabetes can also occur in menopausal women, especially if they become pregnant.
When a woman experiences symptoms like hot flashes and moodiness, these symptoms can also be symptoms of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is the type of diabetes when the blood sugar level in the blood becomes low.
Usually, a quick intake of sugar will for hypoglycemia stop the episode and control the symptoms.
Type II diabetes can occur in menopausal women and menopausal women who become pregnant.
A pregnant menopausal woman is prone to type II diabetes. The symptoms of both of this diabetes can resemble the symptoms of menopause.
However, a common symptom of menopause, weight gain, is not a symptom of diabetes. Usually, a person who suffers from diabetes will experience weight loss versus the weight gain of menopause.
Women who are menopausal in their mid to late 40′s are more susceptible to diabetes.
As the body changes during menopause and there is a decrease of female hormones being produced makes women in their forties a better candidates.
8.1 See A Healthcare Professional
It is very important to see a healthcare professional at the first signs of diabetes or menopause so a thorough medical exam can be performed for a correct diagnosis.
There are some cases where a menopausal woman may become diabetic (inflicted with diabetes), and as she completes the menopause transition can become diabetes free.
In both situations, diabetes or menopause, diet and exercise both play an important role in maintaining the condition and preventing and/or reducing the symptoms.
Exercising a few times a week can reduce symptoms and make way for a better and healthier body.
A change in your diet, by increasing fruits and vegetables, as well as, other supplements may have the same results. There are products on the market that can relieve symptoms of diabetes as well as menopausal symptoms.
Herbal and natural remedies have been used to treat both of these conditions with positive outcomes. Herbal and natural remedies are being sought by many patients because they don’t carry the side effects of conventional medications.
However, conventional medications are very productive in their treating the same ailments.
9. Menopause A Contributing Factor To Heart Disease
A known fact is that heart disease is the number one killer in women. Women who are post-menopausal (completed the menopausal transition), have a doubled risk of heart disease.
This is mainly because of the lack of production of the estrogen hormone from the ovaries.
Estrogen helps regulate cholesterol. By keeping the HDL’s (good cholesterol) and the LDL’s (bad cholesterol) regulated the chance of heart disease lessens.
Raising LDL’s can clog arteries, causing a blockage which can lead to a heart attack.
Heart attacks are more severe in women than men. This is mainly because women do not experience the classic symptom of a heart attack which is chest pain.
Women experience more subtle symptoms like fatigue, heartburn, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, and anxiety.
These subtle symptoms are usually overlooked, or they may be misdiagnosed. These symptoms are common in women for being stress related or from a busy lifestyle.
They can sometimes be related to another illness. Since women have a higher tolerance to these symptoms they are often ignored. Which can attribute the higher death rate.
Menopause also has some of the same symptoms, and as with menopause, some factors that need to be considered, when getting a diagnosis for heart disease is age, family medical history, and overall current medical condition.
Although, menopause is a natural occurrence and can’t be prevented, there are some things that may help in preventing heart disease.
One of the first things and that is classified as the leading risk factor for heart disease is to quit smoking.
There are smoking cessation therapies that can be very helpful with this difficult addiction. Talk to a health care professional.
Stress causes the blood vessels to constrict and increases blood pressure so reducing stress would be helpful. Short walks, deep breathing are stress relievers.
Helpful Tips in Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease
Watching your diet and keeping a healthy weight is also helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease. Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet will not only increase vitamins and minerals but can aid in weight reduction.
Being overweight causes stress on the heart to work harder and use more oxygen to work, reducing your weight can reduce the overworking process and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Exercise is also helpful in reducing the risk. You don’t, however, want to do heavy workouts, you will want to moderate your exercise routine. Pushing yourself isn’t always healthy for your cardiovascular system or muscles.
Menopause can be a contributing factor to heart disease. It not only changes your body it has an effect on your mental state as well. It is very important that you talk to a healthcare professional when it comes to your condition and treatments for you.
The healthcare professional will work with you to find the best treatment for your menopausal symptoms and help make a treatment plan to reduce your symptoms and help prevent heart disease.
Remember everyone is different in their symptoms of menopause and their treatments can/may be different.
10. Why Menopausal Woman Gain Weight
A common factor in menopausal women is weight gain. The weight gain that is associated with menopause usually affects the mid section, not the hips and buttocks.
This weight gain is usually caused by the hormonal imbalance that occurs during menopause.
When the hormones produced by the ovaries begin to decline, progesterone is the first to decrease. When the hormone production from the ovaries declines, estrogen is formed in the fat that’s produced from the calories you intake.
The fat is usually formed in the abdomen and that’s why it is so hard to keep a well-maintained weight.
There are natural and herbal products on the market that can help you sustain a normal weight. They can also help provide hormone replacement which will aid in weight loss.
The extra pounds around the middle section of the body can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular conditions because of the metabolic changes.
Menopausal weight gain is a symptom of metabolic changes in the body. This is caused by hormonal imbalance. Estrogen, progesterone, growth hormone, and cortisol are all affected.
You can help keep these hormones balanced by beginning a natural hormone treatment, which can be purchased in any health store.
When the hormones are balanced they help prevent weight gain and can even help you lose weight.
Estrogen causes weight gain in menopausal women. When the ovaries decline to produce estrogen the body works overtime to turn the calories into fat where estrogen can be made.
Progesterone is the water hormone. When the decrease of progesterone occurs you can become bloated and retain water. Although it is not a weight gain as we know it, it aids in feeling fat.
Growth Hormone is a protein that helps balance the fat and muscle in the body. When the growth hormone is imbalanced it can make it difficult to adjust the fat and muscle making weight loss difficult.
The loss of deep sleep in menopausal women reduces the growth hormone.
Cortisol is the hormone affected by stress related to the thyroid. When the thyroid becomes overactive the cortisol levels increase causing bloating.
Insomnia in menopausal women can also have an effect on cortisol levels by stimulating cravings and increasing your appetite causing weight gain.
Testosterone also affects menopausal women’s weight gain. Testosterone affects the way the body creates muscle mass.
Muscle mass burns fat and when it declines it causes weight gain.
It is important for women in the menopause transition to know a few of the most common reasons women gain weight at this time. They are:
- Hormone imbalance
- Lack of movement
- A slow metabolism
It would be in the best interest of any woman going through the menopausal transition to begin a counter action against this weight gain.
If you begin an exercise plan, change your diet to a healthier one, start a vitamin supplement and/or medications or herbs that can help keep your metabolism up and hormone levels balanced, you can have the upper hand on menopausal weight gain.
11. Menopause and Pregnancy
Most women begin the menopausal transition in their 30′s. By the time they hit 40, they feel safe from pregnancy but in fact, they shouldn’t.
We’ve all heard the phrase, change of life baby, and indeed it is a strong possibility to become pregnant during menopause.
It is true that women in their 20′s and early 30′s have a better chance of getting pregnant than that of a woman in perimenopause, but perimenopausal women are still at risk.
When the menstrual cycle begins to change or not come at all, it is very difficult to predict whether fertilization can occur or not.
A menstrual cycle begins with the brain telling the body to ovulate. An ovary will release an egg.
The egg will travel the fallopian tube and while this process is happening the uterine wall will become thick with blood.
If the egg gets fertilized it will attach to the uterine wall where it will begin to grow. If the egg doesn’t get fertilized the uterus flushes it, thus causing the menstrual cycle.
A menstrual cycle occurs in pre-menopausal women every 21 – 28 days.
A change of life pregnancy holds some risks not only for the baby but for the mother as well.
The baby may develop some chromosome abnormalities. The baby can be premature and/or be born with low birth weight.
The mother may experience a breach of birth or develop osteoporosis. Pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s body in many ways, and the older you get your body continues to experience changes of its own, so adding a pregnancy in middle age usually ends with an abortion.
11.1. Chances of a Woman Becoming Pregnant
Although the chances of a woman becoming pregnant in her 40′s is reduced by 50 %, pregnancies still can occur.
The older you get the probability of pregnancy decreases, but it’s not impossible until complete menopause when a woman is then infertile.
Although, a woman in perimenopause does not have the luxury of knowing if she will have her cycle because they can become so unpredictable.
She can skip a month or two before she has one. This is why some perimenopausal women will decide to use an oral contraceptive, like birth control pills.
Not only does birth control pills prevent pregnancy, even the change of life pregnancy, but it also regulates the menstrual cycle, as well as, provide some hormone replacement a perimenopausal woman may lose.
If a change of life pregnancy concerns you, you may want to consider some kind of contraceptive.
Whether it is birth control pills or not there are other means of contraception, like refraining from intercourse, the male partner may get a vasectomy, tubal ligation may be an option, as well as, over the counter contraceptives like birth control creams, condoms, or gels, among others.
It is always best to discuss any treatments and/or your condition with a healthcare professional. They can assist you in what treatment or treatments may be best for you.
12. Menopause Before 40 (Premature Menopause)
Menopause usually affects women between the ages of 35 and 55. Most women will complete the menopausal transition by the age of 55.
Menopause is a natural occurrence that happens to the female body. However, some women may experience menopause in their 20′s or 30′s, this is often referred to as premature menopause.
Premature menopause is when a woman at a younger age experiences menopause symptoms. Premature menopause has three common causes.
The most common cause for premature menopause is a surgical procedure, such as a hysterectomy. When the ovaries are removed menopause begins.
A woman can experience premature menopause if she is undergoing treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Genetics can also be the culprit for premature menopause.
Most women can estimate the time in which they may experience the change, by knowing the age of their mother and grandmother was when they went through the change.
No matter what the cause is, though, most women who experience premature menopause symptoms are beside themselves, wondering why me?
They are often left confused as to what is happening in their body and how they are to manage the symptoms they are experiencing.
Premature menopausal women have the same symptoms as that of an older woman going through the menopausal transition.
In some cases of premature menopause, it may be necessary to have prescribed medications to control and maintain symptoms.
Some signs of early menopause symptoms include the same symptoms as regular menopause symptoms like hot flashes, moodiness, and night sweats.
You may experience an urgency to use the restroom, or you may become irritable for no reason. These conditions all can be menopause symptoms.
You may experience one, two, or all symptoms, you can experience them by themselves, separately, or in combination with each other.
Many times one symptom will bring forth another symptom like having night sweats or incontinence can be very discerning causing mood swings and irritability.
It is usually recommended that any woman experiencing menopause should do some preventative measures and it is said to be beneficial in premature menopausal women as well.
Exercise is vital in keeping the bones regenerated and a relaxed mind. A good healthy diet can reduce hot flashes and night sweats as well as promote good health.
12.2. Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness and decreased libido are often symptoms of menopausal women. These symptoms can be very upsetting, especially in younger women.
There are treatments available to help aid in these situations, like KY Jelly, or other vaginal lubricants.
There are also vaginal estrogen creams, pills, and rings available to not only help in hormone replacement but help prevent bone loss and provides lubrication.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels are sometimes evaluated to confirm menopause. It is usually accepted that a woman has attained menopause when her FSH blood level is regularly risen to 30 mIU/mL or above and she has not had a menstrual cycle for a year.
Their ovaries also produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which regulate their menstrual cycle and egg production (ovulation). Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing an egg each month and menstruation ceases [01 ].
There are three stages of menopause:
- Absence of period for 12 months.
- Hot flashes.
- Night sweats.
- Mood swings and irritability.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Cognitive changes (difficulty remembering names, directions, losing focus/train of thought)
- Vaginal dryness.
- Vaginal/vulvar itching
- Generalized itching
- Bone loss
- While most women’s menopause symptoms will recede four to five years after their last period, symptoms can resurface several years later in a minor version. Hot flashes are one of the most prevalent menopause symptoms that women suffer years after the majority of their menstrual periods have stopped.