7 Things You Need to Know About Menopause
 
Menopause is the cessation of the menstrual cycle for a period of at least one year. It usually occurs between a woman's late forties and early fifties, but can vary. During menopause, a woman's body goes through many changes due to a decrease in the amount of estrogen and progesterone in the body. Some women experience symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, weight gain, or vaginal dryness. For many, these symptoms can be severe, while others hardly notice them at all.

1. What Happens During a Hot Flash?

During a hot flash, the upper portion of the body feels like it has risen in temperature. Some women may get flushed and sweat when this occurs. For some, the flashes accompany heart palpitations and dizziness. Some women may experience hot flashes multiple times a day, while others only experience them a few times a year.

There are certain triggers that women report bringing on hot flashes. These include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, stress, and smoking. Women who are overweight tend to experience hot flashes more often.

To combat hot flashes, try keeping a small fan available around the house or at work. Dress in layers for the day so that clothing can be easily removed during a hot flash. Some women have help dealing with hot flashes with hormone therapy, birth control pills, or other prescriptions. Talk to your doctor about these options if you are having trouble.

2. Does Menopause Cause Osteoporosis?

Due to a reduction in estrogen, osteoporosis can occur during menopause. This can lead to hip, spine, and other fractures. To help the bones to stay strong, women should take a calcium and vitamin D supplement.

3. Does Menopause Contribute to Heart Disease?

Estrogen helps arteries remain flexible. The decrease in estrogen during menopause can have an effect on blood flow and may exacerbate any underlying heart issues. To combat this, women should maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise, and refrain from smoking.

4. Will I Have the Same Symptoms as Other Women in my Family?

The age of onset of menopause and the severity of symptoms vary from woman to woman, even those who are related. Management of the symptoms must be individually tailored.

5. I Had a Hysterectomy, How Will I Know if I am in Menopause?

For women who have had a hysterectomy or other surgical procedures that lead to the cessation of menstruation prematurely, often the only symptom of menopause is hot flashes. Your doctor can order a blood test to determine if your estrogen levels have declined and to see if your ovaries are still functioning. This is useful in determining your risk for osteoporosis.

6. Should I Get Hormone Replacement?

As with anything you put in your body, there are risks and benefits to hormone replacement. Hormone replacement can lower the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, while lessening the severity of hot flashes. Talk to your doctor about whether or not hormone replacement is the right choice.

7. What Can I Do to Manage Symptoms Without Hormone Replacement?

For some women, hormone replacement is not the right choice for managing symptoms of menopause. But there are some lifestyle changes that can help manage the symptoms. Some of these changes include weight loss, exercise, lowering the thermostat, avoiding alcohol and certain foods, and dressing in light, cotton layers.

In addition to lifestyle changes, there are other medications besides hormones that your doctor may recommend to prevent bone loss and help with mood changes.

While there are certain medical issues to be considered during menopause, there are many things that you and your doctor can do to alleviate the more annoying symptoms. If you are struggling with severe mood changes and hot flashes, talk to your doctor about the best ways to alleviate these symptoms.
 
Menopause is the cessation of the menstrual cycle for a period of at least one year. It usually occurs between a woman's late forties and early fifties, but can vary. During menopause, a woman's body goes through many changes due to a decrease in the amount of estrogen and progesterone in the body.


Some women experience symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, weight gain, or vaginal dryness. For many, these symptoms can be severe, while others hardly notice them at all.

1. What Happens During a Hot Flash?

During a hot flash, the upper portion of the body feels like it has risen in temperature. Some women may get flushed and sweat when this occurs. For some, the flashes accompany heart palpitations and dizziness. Some women may experience hot flashes multiple times a day, while others only experience them a few times a year.

There are certain triggers that women report bringing on hot flashes. These include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, stress, and smoking. Women who are overweight tend to experience hot flashes more often.

To combat hot flashes, try keeping a small fan available around the house or at work. Dress in layers for the day so that clothing can be easily removed during a hot flash. Some women have help dealing with hot flashes with hormone therapy, birth control pills, or other prescriptions. Talk to your doctor about these options if you are having trouble.

2. Does Menopause Cause Osteoporosis?

Due to a reduction in estrogen, osteoporosis can occur during menopause. This can lead to hip, spine, and other fractures. To help the bones to stay strong, women should take a calcium and vitamin D supplement.

3. Does Menopause Contribute to Heart Disease?

Estrogen helps arteries remain flexible. The decrease in estrogen during menopause can have an effect on blood flow and may exacerbate any underlying heart issues. To combat this, women should maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise, and refrain from smoking.

4. Will I Have the Same Symptoms as Other Women in my Family?

The age of onset of menopause and the severity of symptoms vary from woman to woman, even those who are related. Management of the symptoms must be individually tailored.

5. I Had a Hysterectomy, How Will I Know if I am in Menopause?

For women who have had a hysterectomy or other surgical procedures that lead to the cessation of menstruation prematurely, often the only symptom of menopause is hot flashes. Your doctor can order a blood test to determine if your estrogen levels have declined and to see if your ovaries are still functioning. This is useful in determining your risk for osteoporosis.

6. Should I Get Hormone Replacement?

As with anything you put in your body, there are risks and benefits to hormone replacement. Hormone replacement can lower the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, while lessening the severity of hot flashes. Talk to your doctor about whether or not hormone replacement is the right choice.

7. What Can I Do to Manage Symptoms Without Hormone Replacement?

For some women, hormone replacement is not the right choice for managing symptoms of menopause. But there are some lifestyle changes that can help manage the symptoms. Some of these changes include weight loss, exercise, lowering the thermostat, avoiding alcohol and certain foods, and dressing in light, cotton layers.

In addition to lifestyle changes, there are other medications besides hormones that your doctor may recommend to prevent bone loss and help with mood changes.

While there are certain medical issues to be considered during menopause, there are many things that you and your doctor can do to alleviate the more annoying symptoms. If you are struggling with severe mood changes and hot flashes, talk to your doctor about the best ways to alleviate these symptoms.