Menopause and Perimenopause - Topic Overview
Do you need tests to diagnose menopause?
need to be tested to see if you have started perimenopause or reached
menopause. You and your doctor will most likely be able to tell based on
irregular periods and other symptoms.
If you have heavy,
irregular periods, your doctor may want to do tests to rule out a serious cause
of the bleeding. Heavy bleeding may be a normal sign of perimenopause. But it
can also be caused by infection, disease, or a pregnancy problem.
You may not need to see your doctor about menopause symptoms. But it is
important to keep up your annual physical exams. Your risks for heart disease,
cancer, and bone thinning (osteoporosis) increase after menopause.
At your yearly visits, your doctor can check your overall health and recommend
testing as needed.
Do you need treatment?
Menopause is a natural part
of growing older. You don't need treatment for it unless your symptoms bother
you. But if your symptoms are upsetting or uncomfortable, you don't have to
suffer through them. There are treatments that can help.
step is to have a healthy lifestyle. This can help reduce symptoms and also
lower your risk of heart disease and other long-term problems related to
- Make a special effort to eat well. Choose a
heart-healthy diet that is low in saturated fat. It should include plenty of fish,
fruits, vegetables, beans, and high-fiber grains and breads.
- Eat a nutritious diet and be sure you are getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D to help your bones stay strong. Low-fat or nonfat dairy products are a great source of
- Get regular exercise. Exercise can help you manage your
weight, keep your heart and bones strong, and lift your mood.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and stress. These things can make symptoms worse.
Limiting them may help you sleep better.
- If you smoke, stop.
Quitting smoking can reduce hot flashes and long-term health risks.
If lifestyle changes aren't enough to relieve your
symptoms, you can try other measures, such as breathing exercises and yoga.