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Menopause :
Menopause is the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility. It triggers some profound changes in a woman's body. Proper information and treatment give you comfort and menopause. Don't worry! Start following female menopause health tips provided by experts on Hellodox Health App.
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Why women need to be cautious about their health during the peri menopausal phase

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#Menopause#Menstruation#Cervical Cancer

Women never have it easy and when it comes to the matters of health and hormones they have to endure the tortures lifelong. Right from puberty to periods to pregnancy to menopause a woman is constantly struggling to attain a balance with her notorious hormones and her life. Of course, these hormones are not to be blamed as they are only functioning a certain way to ensure that a woman’s physiological and psychological health is balanced and stable. But the fallouts like mood swings, fatigue, lethargy is too much to deal with. While we all speak about how the hormones govern every bit of a woman’s life – puberty, pregnancy, menopause – not much is spoken about a particularly important phase of her life again ruled by the hormones – perimenopause.

In fact, Dr Veena aurangabadwala, Gynecologist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur, says, ‘Many people think that this phase is one of the most relaxing phases for a woman but in reality, this is the time when many health issues crop up, especially if the woman is ignorant about her health. In fact, a midlife crisis is not a myth but a reality for women facing perimenopause.’

Dr Veena cautions that during this period a lot of health issues and complaints are seen among women.

Health and you

According to Dr Veena, this is also the time when 30-40 per cent of women develop benign conditions such as fibroids in the uterus/breasts, cysts in the breasts causing some or no symptoms. Some of them also develop menstrual irregularities which can be either stress induced or due to hormonal change. Women do experience extremes of mood swings, hot flashes, phases of depression, loosening of the abdominal skin, bloating, vaginal and at times urinary symptoms too. But they may also be a sign of the most dreaded precancerous or cancerous changes in the reproductive organs. It is important to seek medical attention of a specialist, to rule out possible cancerous changes and treat these conditions by medications, or surgically (if required).

What she can do

In the light of increasing sporadic (not inherited) incidence of breast cancers, and the less aggressive cervical cancer, all women above the age of 40 years, must get their Pap smears and Mammography done at regular intervals of 1-3 yrs (based on familial risk factors). All women must know the technique of Self Breast Examination (SBE). A health check-up once in a year or two (including these screening tests) will help us women stay fit and help identify any new medical conditions requiring attention. A healthy Midlife can make a richer and healthier second innings.

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Perimenopausal depression: Why there is an urgent need to address this in women

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#Menopause#Depression

Perimenopause is a tough phase of a woman’s life. While most of us keep talking about the challenges – physiological and psychological — a woman has to face during menopause little is spoken about the perimenopause phase. This phase is the transitional phase for a woman, the phase between pre-menopause and menopause. This particular phase is denoted with a variety of problem that becomes difficult to deal with – abnormal menstrual periods, hormonal fluctuations, insomnia, hot flashes, lack of sexual desire etc. Studies suggest that this is a phase when a woman can go through depression too owing to the hormonal imbalances. This kind of depression is termed as perimenopausal depression and it can make the existing symptoms of depression go worse.

In fact, a study published in Archives of General Psychiatry noted that perimenopausal women were twice as likely to be diagnosed with the major depressive disorder (MDD) as those who hadn’t yet entered this hormonal transition. They are also four times as likely to develop depressive symptoms as women who hadn’t gone through perimenopause. In fact, in this phase women who had the highest frequency of hot flashes reported having the most significant symptoms of depression.

Women who were at the high risk of developing depression were

Women without children

Women who took antidepressant

Here are some signs and symptoms of perimenopausal depression

There isn’t much of a difference between depression symptoms and that of perimenopausal depression, however, women who face perimenopausal depression experience a severity of these following symptoms

lack of energy and fatigue

slow cognitive function

inattentiveness and inability to concentrate

general lack of interest

feel of worthless, hopeless or helpless

extreme mood swings

irritability

crying for no reason or tearfulness

heightened anxiety

profound despair

insomnia along with hot flashes or night sweats

Why does it happen?

Perimenopausal depression is a trigger of hormonal fluctuations. When estrogen levels fluctuate, the mood-boosting hormones serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain are affected.
Serotonin, norepinephrine along with dopamine helps to keep your mood upbeat and make you feel happy. They also help to lower anxiety levels. But when estrogen levels fluctuate these neurotransmitters don’t work effectively this result in mood swings and depression. It is better to speak to an expert and seek help if the symptoms are getting the better of you. Many women are capable of overcoming these symptoms on their own but if you need help don’t hesitate to look around.

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Women With Late Menstruation And Menopause May Live Longer

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#Menopause#Menstruation

Late onset of puberty as well as a late arrival of menopause is likely to increase the chances of women surviving upto 90 years, says a study. The findings showed that women whose puberty began at the age of 12 or later as well as experienced menopause, either naturally or surgically at age of 50 or later may survive nine decades.In addition, women with more than 40 reproductive years were also significantly associated with increased odds of longevity. "Our team found that women who started menstruation at a later age were less likely to have certain health issues, like coronary heart disease, and those who experienced menopause later in life were more likely to be in excellent health overall," said Aladdin Shadyab, postdoctoral student at the University of California, San Diego. Women who started menstruation and experienced menopause at a later age were also less likely to be smokers or have a history of diabetes. Factors, such as smoking, can damage the cardiovascular system and ovaries, which can result in earlier menopause, the researchers said. "Women with later menopause and a longer reproductive lifespan may have decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases," Shadyab added in the paper published online in Menopause.
In the study, which is the first to evaluate the association of reproductive factors with survival to a specific advanced age, such as 90 years old, approximately 16,000 participants were followed for 21 years.Out of these 55 per cent survived to age 90.

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Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease May Spike Before Menopause

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#Diabetes#Heart Disease#Menopause

Women may be at greater risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke in the years before menopause, rather than afterward, a U.S. study suggests. This may mean that the higher cardiovascular risk seen among post-menopausal women could be related to changes in that time before menopause and less so to the changes after menopause has occurred," said lead study author Dr. Mark DeBoer, a researcher at University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville. While the reasons for this are unclear, the findings suggest that women may need to pay especially close attention to cardiovascular risk factors in the years leading up to menopause and consider lifestyle changes like improved diet and exercise habits that can make problems like diabetes and heart disease less likely, DeBoer added by email.
Menopause typically happens between ages 45 and 55. As the ovaries curb production of estrogen and progesterone, menstruation stops, and women can experience symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Certain treatments for menopause symptoms that contain man-made versions of the hormones estrogen and progestin have also been linked to an increase risk of heart attack and stroke.Previous research has also linked menopause to an increased risk of what's known as metabolic syndrome, a constellation of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Obesity, inactivity and a history of smoking appear to make these problems more likely.
For the current study, researchers examined data on 1,470 white and African-American women participating in a national study of the causes and health effects of hardening of the arteries.All of the women went through menopause during the ten-year study period.Researchers focused on five things that contribute to metabolic syndrome: expanding waist circumference, elevated fats in the flood, declines in so-called "good" HDL cholesterol, spikes in blood pressure and increased levels of sugar in the blood. After taking into account whether women used hormone-replacement therapy, researchers still found bigger changes in triglycerides (fats in the blood), cholesterol and glucose (blood sugar) before menopause than afterwards.For white women, waist size spiked more after menopause, however.African-American women experienced larger increases in blood pressure after menopause than before, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
One limitation of the study is that researchers defined the timing of menopause based on whether women said they had a menstrual period in the previous two years, the authors note. Menopause is commonly diagnosed after women cease menstruation for one year, which means the study may have categorized some women as going through this transition who had already completed it. Researchers also lacked data on hormone levels for individual women, even though these can fluctuate and influence the risk for metabolic problems, said Dr. Robert Eckel, of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
Not all types of hormone-replacement therapy carry the same risks, and the study also didn't account for the way hormones were administered, Eckel, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email. "Cardiovascular disease screening remains important for all adults including men and women," Eckel said. "Perhaps the frequency of evaluation should be more emphasized in this important peri-menopausal interval (between ages 45-55) in women - more science needed here."

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Menopause Before 40 Ups Fracture Risk

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#Menopause

If you are in menopause before the age of 40, you have a higher fracture risk, even with calcium and vitamin D supplements, says a study.For years, calcium and vitamin D have been touted for their abilities to increase bone mineral density.

Hormone therapy is also recognised for its ability to help ward off osteoporosis.

That is what prompted this latest study -- published online in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) -- to evaluate the effectiveness of calcium, vitamin D, and/or hormones in offsetting the higher fracture risks for women experiencing early menopause.

Based on an evaluation of nearly 22,000 women included in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) clinical trials, the researchers found that women younger than 40 years already in menopause had significantly higher risks for fracture than women who experienced menopause between the ages of 40 and 49 or after 50, regardless of treatment intervention.

"This study highlights the need for healthcare providers to take into consideration a woman's age at menopause onset when evaluating patients for fracture risk," JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS Executive Director, said in a statement.

"Women at risk for bone loss need 1,200 mg of calcium per day, with adequate vitamin D, and encouraged to get as much as possible through diet due to concern that too much supplemental calcium may increase atherosclerotic plaque in women," Pinkerton said.

"Women with early menopause should discuss whether they are candidates for hormone therapy with their providers, appropriate amount of calcium, vitamin D and hormones," Pinkerton pointed out.

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