Menopause occurs after a woman’s final ovulation. For most, it is between the ages of 45 and 55 and marks the end of your fertile period. Unfortunately, hormone tests alone cannot tell when you are in menopause. However, physical complaints like irregular periods, hot flashes, sweating, fatigue, headaches, and aches are key indicators. You may have psychological complaints too, like trouble accepting menopause changes, or fatigue, or apathy.
Is it hot in here? Perimenopause
Your body’s transition begins several years before actual menopause, with perimenopause. As a result, your changing estrogen levels cause irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, and mood swings.
Knowing that you are in perimenopause can give you peace of mind. The doctor may be able to diagnose it. She will review your medical history, menstrual history, and look for other signs and symptoms. In addition, a complete medical examination can reveal problems that look like perimenopause. Your doctor can test you for other causes of your symptoms, like thyroid disease.
Your body changes in perimenopause and continues changing at menopause, so extra attention to your health will help keep you feeling well.
Early menopause changes
Surgery on your ovaries or loss of normal function of your ovaries before you are 40 can cause menopause symptoms. Lower estrogen levels can affect your bone density. In addition, it may affect your brain and sexual functions. Early menopause means that you have become infertile before the typical menopause age of 51.
Natural menopause typically happens between ages 40 and 58. Smokers may get there about two years earlier than nonsmokers. But your age at menopause seems unaffected by fertility medications, your use of birth control pills, your age at first period, or your race. Your age at menopause onset is most likely genetic.
Menopause Changes and Symptoms
You will have lower levels of reproductive hormones, especially estrogen.
Low estrogen can cause these menopause changes:
- hot flushes and night sweats
- mood swings, depression, and difficulty concentrating
- vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and urinary incontinence
- skin thinning and decreased elasticity
Lower androgen levels can also contribute to the loss of sex drive.
In addition, lower levels of reproductive hormones increase the risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, heart attack, and stroke.
Be sure to report any abnormal vaginal bleeding to the doctor. A precancerous or cancerous uterus or endometrial lining may cause bleeding.
After you have stopped menstruating, your estrogen levels will continue to decrease. As a result, vaginal dryness and hot flashes may continue. At the same time, your risk for related diseases like osteoporosis increases. Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes may be helped with hormone replacement therapy.
At menopause, you must consider lifestyle changes. Now’s the right time for quitting smoking and reducing alcohol use. And your bone health, cardiovascular risk, and cancer screening/prevention may suggest additional changes. Happily, you can address these with your doctor. Finally, together, you can discuss how to maintain your health and vitality.
Wherever you are…
And no matter where you are in your perimenopause, menopause, or postmenopause, come in to see Dr. Nangrani for a checkup. If you have uncomfortable symptoms, we may be able to make you feel better.
You are our top priority here at Vedas. Located in The Woodlands, Texas, our North Houston office is only minutes from I-45 (Houston’s North Freeway). We offer you a free consultation for personalized information on menopause changes. Come get acquainted with Dr. Nangrani, our board-certified Medical Director, who has practiced for over 15 years. Please call our office to schedule your consultation at (281) 298-5476. We look forward to seeing you soon!