Menopause Fatigue: A Cause or a Symptom?
The causes of menopause fatigue are not fully understood. However, it is known that women have higher levels of estrogen during their reproductive years. During these times, there is increased production of the female hormone estradiol. Estrogen increases bone density and helps with menstruation and ovulation. It also helps with maintaining a healthy weight. Estrogen is responsible for making uterine lining (endometrium) thick and strong. When estrogen levels decrease, endometrial thickness decreases and menstrual periods become irregular. Women may experience nausea, loss of libido, mood swings, headaches, insomnia and other symptoms associated with menopause.
It is believed that low levels of testosterone cause many of the symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. Testosterone plays a role in muscle growth and fat burning.
Low levels of testosterone can also lead to depression, anxiety, irritability and even suicidal thoughts.
Many women do not realize that they are experiencing some of the symptoms associated with menopause. They may think that they just feel tired all the time.
Many doctors believe that most of the symptoms are due to stress or aging.
In addition to declining hormones, women are also more susceptible to changes in their circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the sleep wake cycle that is regulated by hormones and the body’s internal clock.
The average person usually feels most tired between 2am and 4am when the levels of melatonin begin to rise. Melatonin is a hormone that helps the body prepare for sleep. As a woman enters perimenopause, they may begin to experience sleep disturbances. Menopause fatigue can also cause a lack of energy.
Perimenopause is a phase that begins 1 to 2 years before the last menstrual cycle. During this time, a woman’s body begins to make less estrogen and progesterone.
A woman may experience irregular periods, especially during perimenopause. Menopause itself is the period of 1 year when a woman no longer has her period. Menopause can begin as early as 40 and as late as 50. A woman is considered to be in Post Menopause after 1 year of not having a period.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is used to manage the symptoms of menopause. HRT can speed up the rate at which estrogen and progesterone are metabolized by the body.
Some brand names for HRT creams and pills are: Estrace, Menostar, Vivelle and Premphase. While HRT can relieve menopause symptoms, it is not without risk. There have been studies showing an increased risk of cancer among HRT users. Other risks include: blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. In addition to the risks listed above, some women have complained of memory loss and mood swings.
HRT is only intended to be used to alleviate the effects of menopause. It should not be used for more than 1 to 2 years.
HRT should not be used by women who have a history of cancer or blood clots. Women who are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis should not use HRT.
HRT should only be taken under the supervision of your physician. Your physician will help you to decide which type of HRT would be best for you.
It is important to note that most physicians are reluctant to prescribe HRT for women who are within 10 years of menopause.
There are some natural ways to manage the symptoms of menopause. Some herbs that are believed to have estrogenic effects are: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai and Red Clover.
This herb is most often used to alleviate the discomforts of menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. It should only be taken for a maximum of 3 months.
Over prolonged use it can cause adverse effects such as liver damage. Before taking this or any herbal supplement, it is best to consult with your physician.
This herb is believed to balance female reproductive hormones. It can be used to alleviate hot flashes.
It may cause vaginal bleeding and should not be taken during pregnancy. Also, Dong Quai may decrease the effectiveness of Coumadin (a blood thinner).
This herb’s estrogen like effects may help to alleviate menopause symptoms. It can also help to protect the lining of the uterus.
Red clover should not be used by women who have hormone dependent cancer. Also, it may interfere with the way some prescription drugs work.
Some other ways to alleviate menopause symptoms are: maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active and stress management. It is important to see your physician to rule out any serious medical problems that may be causing your menopause symptoms.
Also check with your physician before taking any type of supplement.
Menopause is a normal part of every woman’s life. Women usually experience menopause between the ages of 45 and 55.
It is a time when a woman’s ovaries stop producing hormones. This results in a series of physical and emotional changes that can have a significant impact on a woman’s life. The most well known physical change is the cessation of menses (a.k.a. your period). In addition to this change, a woman may experience hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, insomnia and depression. Some women may also experience a loss of libido (sexual desire).
This condition should not be confused with menopausal syndrome. Menopausal syndrome is a group of more serious medical conditions that occur during menopause.
These conditions may include: heart disease, osteoporosis, vaginal bleeding and hypertension (high blood pressure).
These medical conditions can be managed and treated by a physician. Some women may also benefit from taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Some of the most common side effects of HRT are headaches, upset stomach, fluid retention, nausea, vomiting and night sweats.
There are many different types of hormones that go into HRT. Some examples are: estrogen, progesterone, androgens, and human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG).
The specific type of HRT is based on a number of factors such as age, medical history and whether or not a woman has had a hysterectomy.
Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can increase a woman’s risk of uterine cancer. Human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG) does not have this side effect.
However, there may be other risks such as an increased risk of multiple births or ovarian cancer.
A woman and her physician should discuss the pros and cons of all the different types of HRT before a decision is made regarding treatment.
Hormone Replacement Therapy is only one way to treat the discomfort of menopause. Other options may include: lifestyle changes, herbal supplements, and alternative medicine.
Lifestyle changes can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause. Exercising, getting enough rest and avoiding stress can go a long way in reducing menopausal symptoms.
Herbal supplements have been used for centuries by women to alleviate the symptoms of menopause. Some examples are black cohosh, chasteberry, dong quai and blueflag.
Some studies have shown that these supplements can help with hot flashes and night sweats. However, other studies have shown no benefit.
There are many different types of alternative medicine used to treat menopause. Some examples are: acupuncture, reflexology and yoga.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to increase energy flow throughout the body.
Many people say it relieves their menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
Reflexology is based on the concept that there are points on the feet that correspond to every part of the body. By massaging and manipulating these points a person can alleviate symptoms in the corresponding area of the body.
Yoga involves stretching and exercising to promote relaxation and relieve stress. It has been shown to improve quality of sleep.
Some women say it alleviates their hot flashes.
An alternative medicine treatment that has received much attention in the media is Black Cohosh. It has been used by Native Americans for centuries to treat a wide range of medical conditions.
Some studies have shown that Black Cohosh can alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Other studies have shown no benefit.
There are many different ways that Black Cohosh can be prepared such as capsules, tablets, tinctures and teas. The amount of cohosh in each preparation is not consistent.
A woman taking Black Cohosh should buy it from a trusted source and follow the dosing instructions exactly.
Since there is limited information about Black Cohosh, interactions with other drugs and possible side effects are not known. Any woman taking this or any other herbal supplement should do so only under the supervision of their physician.
Black Cohosh can be found in health food stores, drug stores and grocery stores.
The market for menopausal symptom relief is a large one. The most commonly used drug for this condition is hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
It has been in the news a lot lately as questions have been raised about its safety. Currently it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a treatment for menopausal symptoms. It is approved only for the treatment of moderate to severe symptoms associated with menopause that cause problems with daily living. Hormone replacement therapy involves taking medication that contains both estrogen and progestin. The FDA has issued a strong warning about the risks of using this type of medication.
Hormone replacement therapy comes in many forms including skin patches, tablets, creams, and vaginal rings. Some forms, such as the vaginal ring and skin patch, contain the same combination of estrogen and progestin that is found in traditional HRT medications.
Others contain different combinations including different types of estrogen and progestin. Not all types of HRT have been found to increase the risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Talk to your physician about which one may be right for you.
Other drugs used to treat menopausal symptoms are not hormones at all. For instance, some antidepressants have been shown to reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
Anticonvulsants such as gabapentin (Neurontin) have also been found to alleviates these symptoms.
Currently there is no perfect treatment for menopausal symptoms. When choosing a treatment, every woman should weigh the possible benefits against the possible risks.
Discuss all treatment options with your physician and decide what is best for you.
Menopause is a natural part of aging that typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55. However, menopause can begin as early as the late thirties or as late as the fifties.
Every woman experiences menopause differently. Some women experience very few menopausal symptoms. Others may experience a wide range of symptoms that can be very disruptive to their lives. These symptoms tend to be more severe in women who have gone through early or premature menopause.
The most common menopausal symptom is frequent episodes of night sweats. Other symptoms include:
Bone loss (osteoporosis)
Night Sweats – Hot flashes are extremely common among menopausal women. They can be described as a sudden and extreme rise in body temperature followed by a red flush to the surface of the skin.
Hot flashes may be accompanied by profuse sweating. These episodes may last up to several hours at a time. They are most common at night and can cause extreme discomfort, leaving one’s pajamas/nightwear drenched with sweat. The frequency of hot flashes tends to decrease over time. Most women find that hot flashes become less frequent after the first year of menopause.
Most women experience night sweats at some point in their lifetime. However, menopausal women have prolonged and more severe episodes of night sweats.
They may even wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat with damp sheets and blankets. Night sweats can lead to problems with insomnia as one may find it difficult to fall back to sleep after experiencing a hot flash. If you are experiencing night sweats, see your doctor. Menopausal women should make sure to get enough calcium and Vitamin D to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. (See “Hormone Replacement Therapy” below).
Water Retention – In addition to hot flashes and night sweats, many women experience temporary episodes of water retention during menopause. Water retention can lead to an expansion in blood pressure levels in some women.
If you’ve recently gone through menopause and have noticed a significant increase in your blood pressure levels, then this may be the cause. Again, make sure to see your doctor.
Insomnia – For many women, one of the most frustrating menopausal symptoms is the reduction in quality of sleep. Most women experience a surge in the frequency and duration of waking up at night.
Most women also report a decrease in the amount that they’re able to fall asleep and stay asleep. For some women, sleep deprivation can become a real problem. If you begin to experience problems with insomnia, consider taking steps to better regulate your sleeping pattern. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Avoid beverages such as coffee, tea, and soda before bedtime. Avoid engaging in stimulating activity before bedtime.
During menopause, a woman’s ovaries stop producing the same amount of estrogen that they once produced. This sudden drop in estrogen can cause hot flashes.
For some women, hot flashes will be more than just an annoyance – they can be extremely disruptive to one’s daily life. If left untreated, hot flashes can lead to a variety of dangerous health issues.
Hot flashes are more than just a sudden sensation of feeling hot. They are often accompanied by a red face and an accelerated heart rate.
They can be so severe that they wake one up from sleep. In many situations, these hot flashes will trigger a strong sensation of sweating.
Hot flashes affect all women differently. Some women only experience hot flashes for a few weeks or months.
Other women may never experience a hot flash. Some women experience hot flashes at night, while others only experience hot flashes when they’re active.
Treatments – There are a variety of over-the-counter treatments available to help deal with menopause related hot flashes. Most of these products have limited effectiveness and come with their own sets of side effects.
Many women prefer to treat hot flashes with natural remedies.
Light exercise has proven to be an effective, all-natural way to reduce the number and intensity of hot flashes. If you haven’t been active for awhile, start slow and build up endurance.
Take walks in the evening or during the day. Jog in your neighborhood. Go swimming. Join a gym or take dance lessons. The goal is to get your heart pumping and increase blood flow to the face.
Another popular, all-natural treatment for hot flashes is the use of herbal supplements. There are a wide variety of products available that have been proven effective at reducing the number and intensity of hot flashes.
However, many of these natural remedies can take weeks before an effect is noticed.
Treatment – There are a wide variety of methods for treating hot flashes. Most menopausal women use a combination of over-the-counter and natural remedies to keep hot flashes at bay.
If you are experiencing a large number of hot flashes and they are disrupting your regular life, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she will have combination of treatments available that can help keep hot flashes at bay.
Aging causes our bodies to produce less lubrication in the vaginal area. This vaginal dryness can cause painful sexual activity in some women.
Many women mistake this problem for a yeast infection or some other sexually transmitted disease. It is relatively common for older women who experience vaginal dryness to experience minor pain and bleeding during and after sexual activity.
Vaginal dryness can be caused by a drop in estrogen levels. During menopause, it is not uncommon for women to experience vaginal dryness accompanied by burning and itching.
While this isn’t considered to be a dangerous condition, it can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Treatments – There are many ways to treat vaginal dryness. If you have been recently diagnosed with this condition, make an appointment with your doctor or gynecologist as soon as possible.
He or she will have a wide selection of treatment options available. Many women find relief with non-prescription estrogen creams and lotions that are applied directly to the skin. If these over-the-counter treatments don’t work, prescription estrogen pills can be taken orally. There are also vaginal moisture suppositories and hormonal gels that can be prescribed if other options fail.
Most women experience some level of vaginal dryness during menopause. While this condition can’t be cured, there are a wide variety of treatments available that can help relieve the pain and discomfort typically experienced.
Talk to your doctor or gynecologist if you experience vaginal dryness to see what treatment options are best for you.
Hair loss is a very common menopause symptom faced by most women around and during menopause. There are three types of hair loss that can occur in women suffering from this particular condition.
Essential hair loss occurs when your hair grows in thinner and shorter than before. In some cases, the hair can become so weak that it falls out easier than before.
Treatments – There are many women that suffer from essential hair loss that don’t require any kind of treatment at all. If you find that your hair is falling out or growing in thinner and shorter than usual, there are many over-the-counter solutions available to you.
If your hair loss is due to your hormones lowering, you can take over-the-counter bioidentical hormones that are similar to the hormones your body produces normally.
Telogen effluvium hair loss is when your hair goes into “survival mode” and grows in thinner and shorter than before due to an illness or stressful situation. This type of hair loss requires the least amount of treatment and most women see their hair return to normal after the stressful event has passed.
Treatments – If you are suffering from this type of hair loss, you will probably see your hair return to its normal state after the stressful event has passed. There is no reason to treat this condition since your hair will most likely return to normal on its own.
Normally, women suffer from androgenic alopecia as they get older. This type of hair loss is caused by hormones and genetics.
It is the most common form of hair loss in women around the world. Like men, women with androgenic alopecia suffer from a loss of hair on the top of their heads.
Treatments – Since androgenic alopecia is caused by hormones and genetics, there isn’t too much that can be done to fully cure this condition. If you are suffering from androgenic alopecia, there are many different treatments available that can help relieve the symptoms.
Many women are able to find relief through over-the-counter treatments. Bioidentical hormones are also available if you are suffering from androgenic alopecia due to low hormone levels.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become fragile and brittle. Women are more prone to this condition due to hormonal changes that occur during and after menopause.
One of the first places women begin to notice a difference is in the spine and hip area. Osteoporosis makes these areas fragile and more susceptible to breaks and fractures.
Treatment – There is no known way to reverse or cure osteoporosis, but it can be prevented. If you are in menopause or beyond, it is very important that you stay active.
Exercising not only keeps your bones strong, it can help improve your mood and keep the rest of your body healthy. Talk to your doctor about which exercises are best for you. They might even be able to recommend a physical therapist to help design a personalized exercise plan just for you.
If you are in menopause and suffering from osteopenia, there are prescription drugs that can help slow down the effects of the condition. Many women also benefit from bioidentical hormones.
Talk to your doctor if you feel you are suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Skin conditions can cause a woman’s self-esteem to plummet. While it is true that skin conditions can affect anyone, women are particularly prone to suffering from them.
Some of the most common skin conditions women suffer from are acne, rosacea, and eczema.
Acnea causes the pores in your skin to get clogged with oil and dead skin cells. If left untreated, bacteria can get in these clogged pores and cause pimples.
Acne is most commonly found on a person’s face, but it can show up anywhere there are pores. Acnea is especially difficult to get rid of and can last for many years.
Treatments – If you suffer from acne, you are most likely very familiar with all of the different treatment options that are available. It is best to consult a dermatologist for specific treatment options.
Many over-the-counter treatments are available, but prescription medication can be very effective and should be considered. Some of these prescription medications come in the form of gels, lotions, or even pills. It is important to stick with your treatment until the acne is gone and do not quit if you start to see results right away. It can take as long a four months for some treatments to start showing results, so it is very important that you keep using the medication as instructed by your doctor.
Acne usually shows up around puberty when a person’s body begins producing more hormones. If you suffer from acne as an adult, there are still treatment options available to clear up skin.
Stress can also cause acne to flare up as a response from your body. Excessive consumption of alcohol can also cause acne or make it worse if you already suffer from it. It is important to keep your skin clean and free of excess oil to help prevent acne from occurring.
Over-the-counter products such as washes, gels, and lotions are the most common treatment for adult acne. Many of these products claim to be non-irritating and help remove excess oil and clean the pores.
These products can be purchased at any store without a prescription.
Oral antibiotics can also be prescribed to you if your acne is found to be a result of bacteria overgrowth within the pores. These antibiotics can come in pill or liquid form.
It is very important to finish all of your medication, even if you start to see results. It can take up to six weeks for the full effects of the medication to be seen, so it is important to stay on your treatment.
Acne can leave a person feeling embarrassed and self-conscious. If you suffer from acne, you are certainly not alone.
Many people suffer from this condition and there are many different treatment options available that can help clear up your skin.
If you suffer from rosacea, your facial skin likely becomes very red and irritated looking. This condition most commonly occurs in women and may at times be mistaken for acne.
While the causes of rosacea are not entirely known, it is believed to be triggered by a person’s blood vessels and their reaction to external factors such as the sun, cosmetics, stress, or spicy food.
Signs and Symptoms – If you suffer from rosacea, you likely have experienced an episode at some time in your life. However, not everyone who has rosacea experiences a visible flare up.
The main sign of rosacea is a flush to the skin that may look like a very mild sunburn. There may also be small blood vessels just below the surface of the skin that will show up visibly through the skin, causing a pink or red appearance on the face. In some more serious cases of rosacea, bumps or pimples that appear at the site of the redness. These bumps may be irritated, or even cracked and sore. A chronic case of rosacea can cause a person’s nose to become swollen and bumpy from thickened skin.
Treatment Options – If you think you are suffering from rosacea, there are a variety of over-the-counter treatments that may help alleviate your symptoms. Lotions and creams that tighten the skin and reduce swelling are the most common type of treatment.
It is important to keep your face clean to prevent bacteria from aggravating your rosacea symptoms.
Prescription strength creams and ointments are also available if over-the-counter treatments don’t seem to help. These medications typically come in the form of antibiotics and are designed to treat the inflammation that occurs when rosacea is present.
It is also important to keep your face protected from the sun, as it can worsen your condition considerably. Hats and sunscreen should be a part of your daily wardrobe if you suffer from rosacea.
While rosacea is not a serious condition, it can be very damaging to a person’s self esteem. If you suffer from this condition, there are many ways to keep your face free of flare ups and to prevent it from getting worse.
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the US. While severe acne is most commonly found in teenagers, it can effect people of all ages.
Acne occurs when plugged hair follicles become infected under the skin and begin to swell. This swelling creates a bump on the skin’s surface and is commonly accompanied by redness and pus.
Acne most commonly appears on a person’s face, but can also be found on other areas of the body with a high concentration of oil producing skin cells, such as the neck, back, chest, and sometimes even the forehead.
Signs and Symptoms – There are a wide variety of signs that indicate you may have acne. The first and most obvious sign is a white bump appearing on the skin.
This bump may be painful and burning if infected. Along with the bump, redness and inflammation around the area is common. In more extreme cases of acne, pus-filled boils can form.
Acne can cause more than aesthetic concerns. Infected pores can easily become infected, causing small abscesses to develop that may rupture and release foul-smelling pus.
Acne most commonly affects the face, but can appear on the back and chest as well
Treatment Options – Fortunately, there are a wide variety of treatment options for acne. From over-the-counter gels and creams to prescription strength medications, there is something for everyone.
It is important to find a treatment that works for you and one that you are comfortable using on a regular basis.
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