If you have had unusual menstrual or vaginal bleeding or other
symptoms that may be caused by
postmenopause, your health professional will do a
pelvic exam to make sure your symptoms aren't related to an abnormal
speculum exam is useful for noting changes in the
vaginal walls, such as dryness or thinning related to low
bimanual pelvic exam is used to check the size and
position of the vagina, uterus, and ovaries. Any abnormalities can be further
If your exam results are normal, your are unlikely to need further
testing, particularly if your age and menstrual history strongly suggest that
you are perimenopausal.
When she was 26, Lara Dietz learned she had breast cancer -- a shock to this mother of two very young children. Then came the second blow. When treatment began, so did premature menopause. "I was having hot flashes," she says. "I felt like I was 55 years old."
When menopause occurs between ages 45 to 55, it is considered "natural." When it occurs before age 40 -- regardless the cause -- it is called premature menopause. The ovaries no longer produce an egg each month, so monthly menstrual cycles...