The Symptoms of Menopause and What Menopause Care Entails
Menopause is the milestone in every woman’s life that marks the end of her reproductive years. When you have had no menstrual periods for 1 year, you have reached menopause. While the average age of menopause is around 50, every woman’s body has its own unique timeline. Some women stop menstruating in their mid-40s, and others continue well into their mid-50s. Symptoms of menopause include mild to severe hot flashes, insomnia, cloudy thinking, headaches, heart palpitations, mood swings, irritability, depression, and anxiety. These symptoms can begin well before menopause and can last for a year or more afterward. Symptoms are different for every woman.
Perimenopause refers to the 2 to 8 years of changing hormone levels, leading up to menopause. The most common sign of perimenopause is longer, often irregular menstrual cycles that are caused by hormonal fluctuations. Most women start perimenopause between ages 39 and 51.
Postmenopause begins after 1 year of having no menstrual periods. Hormone levels continue to decline, and menopause symptoms tend to persist or increase into the first year or more of postmenopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels then stabilize at low levels, and symptoms usually subside.
Incontinence is as an uncontrolled release of urine from your bladder. Incontinence in women usually occurs because of problems with the muscles that help hold or release urine. The right treatment will depend on the type of urinary incontinence that you have.
There are 4 types of established urinary incontinence that are most common in women:
- Stress urinary incontinence: the unintentional release or leakage of urine during sudden movements such as coughing, sneezing, laughing and exercising.
- Urge Incontinence: the sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by a loss of urine. You may feel like you never get to the bathroom fast enough, you may wake several times a night with the strong urge to urinate.
- Mixed Incontinence: occurs when women have symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence.
- Overflow Incontinence: occurs when the bladder doesn’t completely empty. It may be caused by dysfunctional nerves or a blockage in the urethra that prevents the flow of urine.
One myth about incontinence is that it is a natural part of the aging process. In reality, it can affect women at any age. And although common, it is not a normal part of aging. The weakening of the pelvic floor, connective tissues and muscle can happen as a result of:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Chronic heavy lifting or straining
Osteoporosis & Osteopenia
Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones. About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and 34 million more are at increased risk because of low bone mass—a condition called osteopenia. Although more likely to affect women, men may also develop Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can be disabling and is caused by a reduction in bone mass usually causing no symptoms until fractures occur. The three primary treatments for Osteoporosis include:
- Life style changes including quitting cigarette smoking, curtailing alcohol intake, exercising regularly, and consuming a balanced diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D
- Prescription medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength-Medications that increase bone formation
Contact Peoria Women’s Health
Tamara Olt, M.D. & Amy Pheiffer, WHNP
5401 N. Knoxville, Suite 109
Peoria, IL 61614
Phone: (309) 692-2805
Lindsey Ma, M.D. & Jamie King, WHNP
5401 N. Knoxville, Suite 114
Peoria, IL 61614
Phone: (309) 683-0200
Exchange: (866) 899-6594 (for off hour emergent calls)