Women go through menopause between the ages of 45 to 55. This occurs when your menstrual period stops and you’re no longer able to become pregnant. Perimenopause is the transition to full menopause when you experience a period on and off for four to eight years.
You are only considered to be through menopause when you have not experienced a period in over a year. Your doctor can test your hormone levels to determine if you are going through perimenopause, but it can be difficult as hormone levels fluctuate from woman to woman.
Procedures That Can Cause Menopause
Menopause can be induced through medical procedures.
These procedures include such things as surgical removal of both ovaries or hysterectomy, either full or partial. If you should keep your ovaries during a hysterectomy, then it is likely that you will enter menopause at an early age compared to others, while complete removal of your ovaries will result in entering menopause.
Hysterectomies are the second most common procedure for women.
Certain cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can also cause early menopause. And, women who smoke enter at an earlier age than women who do not.
Some symptoms occur during perimenopause. These symptoms can last for a few months to years as the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones made in the ovaries begin to drop. (see video below)
- Hot Flashes
- Mood Swings
- Sex Changes
- Trouble Sleeping
- Urinary Problems
- Vaginal Dryness
Menopause carries other health risks with it. There is a greater chance of osteoporosis during this time, and it is vital to take steps to avoid complications which should be discussed with your doctor. Heart disease risks are increased with menopause as estrogen levels begin to drop. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States. It is important to discuss these risks with your doctor as well as any family history of these conditions.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What changes to my lifestyle should I make?
- Are there supplements or certain diets that would help?
- Is this going to affect any pre-existing conditions I have?
- What things can I do to help relieve my symptoms?
- Is hormone treatment right for me?
- How will this affect my sex life?
This is an excellent time also to discuss regular checkups and routine screenings with your doctor. Some items that should be checked include cholesterol, blood pressure, mammograms, and blood sugar.
It is important to take care of yourself during this period of change. By eating well, to ensure you get enough nutrients, and by staying active, you can help to minimize some of the symptoms of menopause. If you are a smoker, it is advised that you quit smoking. It is vital to take care of your gynecological health and talk to your doctor about other important screenings.
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