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Related to Menopause
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Your Guide to Menopause
Menopause is the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility. It happens when the ovaries no longer make estrogen and progesterone, two hormones needed for a woman's fertility, and periods have stopped for 1 year.
The term "menopause" is commonly used to describe any of the changes a woman experiences either just before or after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period.
Menopause simply means the end of menstruation for one year. As a woman ages, there is a gradual decline in the function of her ovaries and the production of estrogen.
Discuss these frequently asked questions and answers about menopause with your doctor.
What Is Premature Menopause?
In addition to dealing with hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms that accompany menopause, many women undergoing premature menopause have to cope with additional physical and emotional concerns.
Premature Menopause: Causes
Premature menopause is menopause that happens before the age of 40 — whether it is natural or induced. Women who enter menopause early get symptoms similar to those of natural menopause, like hot flashes, emotional problems, vaginal dryness, and decreased sex drive.
Surgical menopause It's menopause that develops suddenly after the ovaries -- the main producers of the hormone estrogen -- are surgically removed.
Causes and Symptoms
What Brings On Menopause?
Loss of estrogen is believed to be the cause of many of the symptoms associated with menopause.
Medical Causes of Menopause
Some women experience induced menopause as a result of surgery or medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and pelvic radiation therapy.
If menopausal symptoms occur, they may include hot flashes, night sweats, pain during intercourse, increased anxiety or irritability, and the need to urinate more often.
Hot flashes occur in more than two-thirds of North American women during perimenopause and almost all women with induced menopause or premature menopause.
Doctors often hear their patients complain of night sweats. Night sweats refer to excess sweating during the night.The hot flashes that accompany menopause can occur at night and cause sweating.
Is It Thyroid Disease or Menopause?
Millions of women with menopausal-like symptoms, even those taking estrogen, may be suffering from undiagnosed thyroid disease. While symptoms such as fatigue, depression, mood swings, and sleep disturbances are frequently associated with menopause, they may also be signs of hypothyroidism.
Diagnosis and Tests
How Do I Know I'm in Menopause?
Because hormone levels may fluctuate greatly in an individual woman, even from one day to the next, they are not a reliable indicator for diagnosing menopause.
Home Menopause Testing Kits
So what about this new home menopause kit? It tests the level of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) in the urine.
Talking to Your Doctor About Menopause
Knowing how to talk to your doctor or other members of your health care team can help you get the information you need about menopause.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Since you've recently been diagnosed with menopause, ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
Protecting Your Health
Do Menopausal Women Need Pelvic Exams?
Because the risk of cancer increases with age, having regular pelvic exams may help in early detection of certain cancers in both menopausal and postmenopausal women.
Ovarian Cancer Risk and Menopause
Menopause itself is not linked to a higher risk of developing cancer. But the rates of many cancers, including ovarian cancer, do rise with age.
Menopause and Mammograms
The risk of breast cancer increases with age. That is why it is very important for all menopausal women to get regular mammograms.
How Menopause Affects Your Breasts
During perimenopause -- the years before your periods stop -- you’ll start to notice changes in the size and shape of your breasts. You may also notice that they feel tender and achy at unexpected times. Or they may be lumpier than they used to be.
Breast Cancer and Menopause
Menopause itself is not associated with an increased risk of developing cancer. However, the rates of many cancers, including breast cancer, do increase with age.
Heart Disease Risk and Menopause
If you're going through menopause, you may be concerned about health problems. People who have one or more specific risk factors for coronary heart disease may be at much greater risk for heart disease than people with no risk factors.
How Is Heart Disease Linked to Menopause?
Once a woman reaches the age of 50, about the age of natural menopause, her risk for heart disease increases dramatically. In young women who have undergone early or surgical menopause, who do not take estrogen, their risk for heart disease is also higher.
High Cholesterol Risk and Menopause
Menopausal women who have more than one specific risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), like high cholesterol, may be at much greater risk for heart disease than people with no risk factors.
Osteoporosis Risk and Menopause
There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause and the development of osteoporosis.
Bone Mineral Testing During Menopause
There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the contribution to osteoporosis. Because symptoms of osteoporosis may not develop until bone loss is extensive, it is important for women at risk for osteoporosis to undergo regular bone testing.
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