So you’re feeling … itchy. And I don’t mean in that “Oh no, I have poison ivy” kind of way. I mean, you have all this stuff going on and you just can’t place your finger on it. You’re hot, then cold (literally and figuratively). You’re happy then sad. You think you’re going crazy and, well, frankly so does everyone else.
I hate to tell you, but you may be going through the “m” word. That’s right, menopause. You’ve heard horror stories about it (and so has your spouse), but did you know that there is more than one type of menopause?
According to WebMD.com, four different types of menopause exist for women:
The North American Menopause Society says menopause is defined as, “final menstrual period and usually confirmed when a woman has missed her periods for 12 consecutive months” and, on average, occurs for women around age 51. However, symptoms can occur years earlier for some women.
Women going through menopause can experience awesome symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, painful sex, anxiety, irritability, frequent urination and more. If you’re wondering if you’re going through “the change” or feel like your menopausal symptoms are disrupting every day life functions, you should speak with your physician about treatment options.
Studies have shown that some women, even as soon as late 30s and early 40s, start to experience menopausal symptoms like emotional mood swings, hot flashes and changes in periods. Some refer to this as “perimenopause” and the symptoms can last as long as six years.
Premature menopause, or menopause for women 40 and under, can be caused by illness, genetic makeup or even medical procedures that throw the body into menopause early.
Perimenopause and premenopause symptoms may be treated like regular menopause. Physicians may treat mood swings, depression and other items with medication, so don’t be afraid to discuss what is happening with your physician.
Premature menopause can obviously cause issues for women wishing to get pregnant. Work with your health care professional on the best options for you as soon as your symptoms start.
Unfortunately, once your body starts menopause it can’t be “reversed.” So, it’s time to just go with the flow (or, lack of flow).
In some cases, medical procedures and treatments can cause a woman to go into menopause. Even treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy or surgery like removal of ovaries can cause menopause.
Because this type of menopause is caused by something else, your health care provider will more than likely be treating the other issues before your menopause.
So you started symptoms with perimenopause, went through (what could be years) of menopause and now, a sigh of relief, right? Hardly. Postmenopause actually occurs after menopause and officially begins when a woman has not had her period for one year. Although all those pesky symptoms that you’ve been experiencing will gradually disappear, an increase in other issues can occur. Because of factors like lower estrogen levels, a postmenopausal woman’s risk of heart disease and osteoporosis increases.
Although you may feel better because of the resurgence of energy, you should work closely with your doctor to monitor your needs that may arise during this time due to a decrease in estrogen.
This post is provided for informational purposes only. Please check with your health care provider to discuss and treat your personal issues.