Have Some Questions About Menopause?
Menopause. Just the word makes women who aren’t yet to the age get a feeling of dread. Hot flashes. Sleep issues. Moodiness. What’s to come? In this month’s Women’s Health Medical Group blog, let’s address a few of the most common questions about menopause.
What is it?
Menopause is the life stage for a woman when the body is moving past the possibility of pregnancy and stops the process of menstrual cycles. This happens when the ovaries stop making estrogen. Among other things, estrogen controls the menstrual cycle.
When does menopause occur?
The average age for a woman to go through menopause is 51.
What is perimenopause?
These are the years leading up to menopause. When women move into their 30s and 40s the amount of estrogen begins to fluctuate and it usually shows itself in changes in your cycle. There is no set change. Cycles may become longer or shorter. You may skip some periods. Your flow may increase or decrease.
Perimenopause varies with each woman: some don’t have any symptoms, other have many symptoms, some severe. These are common symptoms:
- Hot flashes — A sudden feeling of heat that rushes to the upper body and face is a hot flash. They can last a few seconds to a few minutes. They can happen several times a day or just a few times per month. Night sweats are hot flashes when sleeping, and they will disrupt your sleep.
- Sleep problems — Insomnia is common, as if awakening long before your usual time. Night sweats interrupt sleep.
- Vaginal and urinary tract problems — Vaginal dryness often accompanies perimenopause. This is because estrogen is decreasing, making the lining of the vagina thinner, drier, and less elastic. The urethra can also become dry, inflamed, and irritated. This can increase your chances of acquiring a urinary tract infection.
What types of bone changes can occur after menopause?
Both men and women experience a small amount of bone loss after the age of 35. But for the first 4-8 years after menopause, women lose bone more rapidly. This is because of the lack of estrogen. This can increase the risk and occurrence of osteoporosis.
What other health risks are there during perimenopause and menopause?
Heart attack and stroke risk increase. This is again a result of decreased estrogen, which helps protect against these heart issues. The time of perimenopause and menopause also is mid-life, the time when both women and men often have higher blood pressure, cholesterol, weight issues, and such.
The team at Women’s Health Medical Group is your resource for your questions and health care during this time of your life. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns, and, of course, to schedule needed appointments, (817) 346-5336.