Monday, 14 April 2014

Menopause and perimenopause: Whats the difference?

The second 40 years and beyond can be the prime of a womans life. While physical changes for a woman are inevitable, a positive outlook, a healthy lifestyle and good communication with her gynecologist can keep her feeling young.

The natural shift in hormones brings on the symptoms of perimenopause the time prior to menopause. During this time, the body transitions toward the end of the reproductive years and ovulation becomes less frequent, but true menopause does not occur until there have been 12 consecutive months with no period. Once that milestone occurs, subsequent years are known as post-menopause.

When should a woman begin planning for menopause?

According to the National Institute on Aging, the average age of menopause in this country is 51. Typically experienced between ages 40 and 50, symptoms of perimenopause can last for a few months or several years. Each woman is different; some experience severe symptoms while others have none at all. Estrogen is used by many parts of the body, so a drop in the level of this hormone causes various changes. The most common symptoms of perimenopause are changes in ones period, hot flashes, problems with the vagina and bladder, trouble getting a full nights sleep, mood changes and weight gain.

Women experiencing bothersome symptoms should talk to their gynecologist for help deciding how to best manage perimenopause. The doctor should know the medical history of the patient and her family, and should discuss with the patient the risk for heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer. Because symptoms and needs may change over time, patients should review them with the doctor during annual checkups.

Staying healthy after menopause

Staying healthy after menopause may involve some lifestyle changes. Barnabas Health and the National Institute on Aging recommend that women:

- Empower themselves to get informed.

- Dont smoke. Tobacco users, remember that it is never too late to quit.

- Learn what your healthy weight is, and try to stay there.

- Eat a healthy diet, low in fat, high in fiber and with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.

- Make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D in the diet or with supplements.

- Do weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging or dancing at least three days a week for healthy bones. Also, try to be physically active in other ways for general health.

- Take doctor-prescribed medicines. Many serious health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and osteoporosis cannot be seen or felt.

- Get regular pelvic and breast exams, Pap tests and mammograms.


No comments:

Post a Comment