Menopause occurs as the change of life as we know for women. As there are many changes with your hormones affecting other areas and not only with your skin. In addition there are other menopause types.
Beginning and ending this change in life can vary between women. It can happen early or later in life than normal. If this is a concern for you there are now test that can help pinpoint where you’re at.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis. More details.
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Five Types of Menopause
You may not know this but there are actually different types of menopause. These may be interchangeable or overlap.
Premature or Early
You may enter menopause early before the age of 40. This can occur naturally or medically induced. Possible causes may be smoking or after a hysterectomy.
The natural course begins around age 45 to 55, typically around 51. This is when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and fertility ends. Usually takes place when your mother and sisters also reached menopause.
During natural menopause your estrogen levels decrease slowly versus surgical menopause where this plummets. Like that elevator when the cord has snapped. This can cause very severe menopausal symptoms.
Surgical removal of the uterus and/or ovaries (these produce hormones) can lead to surgical menopause. If you are not taking any hormones you will have menopausal symptoms right away. When your ovaries are removed they can’t function anymore so hormone levels drop.
Surgical menopause can suddenly cause intense symptoms for those premenopausal. This type of menopause is always permanent.
Medical menopause may happen due to medicines like chemotherapy used for breast cancer. The treatment may interfere with your hormones throwing off ovary function. This menopause may be temporary only lasting during your treatment and awhile after it or permanent.
Other than years what typically happens with natural menopause. Medical menopause can feel more like natural menopause depending on the woman.
You may enter the change when you reach age 55 or older. This is common if over-weight, it is believed that the adipose tissue produces estrogen.
Causes may be:
- Thyroid problems
- Hormonal imbalances
Breast Cancer Treatments Causing Menopause
While chemotherapy is destroying cancer cells it can also harm your ovaries. Depending on your age the medicines and dosages determine if your ovaries will recover from this damage. Your period may also stop with treatment for a time or completely. The older you are presents a higher risk this menopause will be permanent.
You may have this treatment plan if you’re premenopausal and your cancer was hormone receptor positive. It’s called temporary ovarian shutdown or suppression. A medication could be given to temporarily stop your ovaries from making estrogen.
By doing this your body takes a break from high estrogen levels. This in turn helps treat your breast cancer as well as reducing the risk of it coming back. While on these medications you still need to use your birth control.
Bilateral Ovary Removal
Also called prophylactic ovary removal or prophylactic oophorectomy involves removing both ovaries and often the fallopian tubes. Bilateral ovary removal surgery results as immediate and permanent menopause. This may cause extreme side effects because the change literally occurs overnight.
Ovary removal is usually for women who are at high risk of reoccurring breast cancer. This also includes developing ovarian cancer. A family history that includes these diseases or testing positive for a genetic abnormality can increase your risk.
Four Stages of Menopause
Premenopause starts at puberty and stops with perimenopause signs. During this time you still have your regular period involving your reproductive hormones. This gives you the ability to reproduce as long as there aren’t any fertility issues.
Taking into account that puberty hits during early teens and perimenopause starts in your early to mid-40s. An actual average premenopause would last 30 to 35 years (wow).
It is common to have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms within a week or two before menstruation. This is because of the hormonal fluctuations and sensitivity.
Some of the most common symptoms:
In your late 40s you may want to keep track of your periods. That date of your last period is when you started menopause.
The second stage, perimenopause (AKA menopausal transition) is the time when estrogen production declines and symptoms begin, usually at age 45 to 55. This may cause drastic fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone.
The stage can last anywhere from a couple months or possibly be as long as fourteen years, depending on the person. This happens five to ten years before menopause.
Because of the fluctuating hormones with perimenopause some may have extreme hormonal imbalance symptoms.
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
Once you have gone past twelve consecutive months without your period, you have officially started menopause (yeah). On average the age is usually 51.
The perimenopausal symptoms continue.
Postmenopause starts the day after menopause (stage of life after your last period), it is a bit confusing. During postmenopause you may have more vulnerability to serious health conditions, if they aren’t addressed right away.
Eating a healthy diet and getting enough calcium to keep your bones strong is important. To avoid getting pregnant you should keep using birth control at least twelve full months after your last period.
Serious health conditions:
- Urinary tract infections
- Heart disease
Your doctor can do a blood test called Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH ) to tell whether you started menopause if this is a concern. Estradiol (E2) levels can also be checked through a blood test.
Having a hormonal imbalance may change levels of FSH. This can cause ovaries to produce more follicles.
There are many causes for hormonal imbalances. Naturally women may experience these several times in their lifetime:
- Pregnancy, childbirth along with breast feeding
- Perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause
Many books and research has to do with the gut-skin axis. Your gut health affects the appearance of your skin. (I am reading The Health Gut Protocol by John G. Herron now).
This is connected to:
- Liver detoxification
- Insulin sensitivity
- Thyroid function
- Adrenal function
Your detoxifying organ is the liver. It has the responsibility of controlling the flushing out and balancing of your hormones in your body. In addition its health is affected by hormones.
Meaning it not only causes hormonal changes but estrogen is not able to detoxify (because the liver is sluggish or not functioning) more estrogen in your body can increase weight. And with more weight this causes your body to produce even more estrogen!
When your liver is unhealthy increased estrogen doesn’t get flushed out. It then recirculates into your blood stream often resulting in many of those unpleasant menopausal symptoms.
Women may experience more weight and abdominal fat during menopause. This is usually linked to blood sugar (imbalances). Causing this #1 issue: insulin resistance.
Your blood sugar levels supply you with fuel and the feeling of complete body balance during your day. Having your levels go up and down like a roller coaster can cause similar menopausal symptoms.
Insulin, also a hormone, is responsible for controlling your blood sugar balance. Its role is to tell your body how to break down the food you consume.
It keeps track of the right amount of glucose as well as energy entering your blood at any particular time. Insulin resistance is when an excess is circulating your body all at once. Storing fat and symptoms like menopause (blood sugar imbalance) are usual byproducts.
What causes insulin resistance anyway? Not eating right, poor gut health (all comes back to this) and increased cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Insulin resistance along with blood sugar imbalances is common with the menopausal years.
Mainly this is due to more sensitivity of your body dealing with the impacts towards stress.
John G. Herron suggests the importance of eating fermented foods especially the four Ks; kefir, kraut, kimchi and kombucha.
Medical conditions leading to hormonal imbalances:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Hormone replacement or birth control medications
- Early menopause
- Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
- Ovarian cancer
Hormonal imbalance symptoms:
- Heavy periods that are painful
- Osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Acne during or right before menstruation
- Uterine bleeding not linked to menstruation
- Increased hair growth on the face, neck, chest, or back
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair or losing hair
- Skin tags or abnormal growths
Wrapping it up
There are other types of menopause and the four stages. These all present challenging symptoms. After all hormone Imbalances and menopause are normal parts of life.
Yes there is life after menopause, you are not alone and you can survive this. Remember the caterpillar makes a cocoon and comes out a beautiful butterfly during its change.
There is a sense of freedom after menopause. No anxiety and stress over periods. You can save money not purchasing sanitary pads or tampons! Enjoy this new change in your life and take care.
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