Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Change
Menopause FAQ will answer your questions about the changes you can expect or encounter during this phase in your life.
As there is obviously a lot more information that can be answered here, check out the links at the end of the page. There you will find the links to most other important facts about menopause and its symptoms.
You will also find 2 options to ask additional questions if you can't find your answers here:
We are updating this page on a regular basis with more menopause FAQ from our readers. We encourage you to subscribe to the Hot Flash Blog (you'll find the link to the subscription on the top left corner) so you can always get the news.
Researchers have come a long way in understanding the hormonal, physical and emotional changes during this time. However, there are still lots of "Menopause Myths" around (such as the whole issue around pregnancy in menopause).
But the biggest myth is this is the beginning of getting old. So let's begin with this busting this myth.
Menopause FAQ 1: Is this the Beginning of Getting Old?
Q: I guess this is the beginning of getting old. Even my doctor said that my aches and pains are because I am getting older and menopause just adds to it.
A: Yes, there is no denying it that the menopausal transition starts the last 1/3 of your life. But that is a long time for reasonably healthy women. Feeling old is mostly related to your health. Severe menopausal symptoms, especially aches, pains and memory problems, can make you feel old until you deal with them. Then you suddenly feel young and vibrant again.
Your aches and pains could well be a menopause symptom. Go to the list with the 34 symptoms and read about menopausal arthritis.
This myth comes from a time, when 65 was more or less the life expectancy (that is why retirement age was set to 65). Today, when surveys ask people about their opinion regarding the start of old age, the answer changes with the age of the person that is asked - but clusters around the late 70s. My mother, who is a very active 87, always tells me about the old women in her retirement community - who are usually younger than she is.
Menopause FAQ 2: Is Hormone Therapy Dangerous?
Q: My doctor gave me a prescription for hormones but I am reluctant to take them. Aren't they causing breast cancer?
A: You probably heard about the results from the Women's Health Initiative that showed that hormones are not without risks. This study indicated a relationship between hormone replacement therapy, breast cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Since that time, researchers have done several follow up studies to re-evaluate the data. Now the consensus is that hormone therapy is safe for women with severe symptoms for the shortest possible period, in the smallest effective dose, as close to menopause as possible.
Additionally, several new hormone treatments have been developed that use natural hormones and are delivered in different forms.
Menopause FAQ 3: Hot Flash Treatments
Q: I am looking for a natural remedy for my hot flashes. But my best friend told me that they didn't work for her. Is there something that does work?
A: There are many good options for natural remedies for hot flashes. But not every herb will work for every woman. There are many herbs that help with different symptoms and at different times of menopause. It is difficult to say what will work.
But check out the articles about natural menopause remedies and supplements. We will give you the links at the end of the page.
Menopause FAQ 4: First Signs of the Menopausal Transition
Q: What are the first signs of menopause I can expect? My period is getting irregular but I have no hot flashes.
A: Sounds like you are indeed starting the menopausal transition. You are probably in early perimenopause if you have no other symptoms.
As a matter of fact, the irregular periods are usually the fist sign of menopause. But make sure that you are getting a check up by your health care provider to eliminate any other reason for your symptoms.
Read the article about the first signs of menopause to learn about what else you can expect.
Menopause FAQ 5: Black Cohosh for Hot FlashesQ: I am thinking about taking Black Cohosh but because some family history of breast cancer I am hesitant.
A: Black Cohosh was for the longest time classified as a phytoestrogen, meaning that scientists thought that is would act like a weak form of estrogen. But recently it was discovered that Black Cohosh has no estrogenic effect.
Its action is not on the estrogen receptors but on the neurotransmitters. These chemicals influence certain brain activity that is tied to hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Black Cohosh acts similar to other hormone balancing herbs like Maca.
Menopause FAQ 6: Does Every Woman Have Severe Symptoms?
Q: I am having the most difficult time with hot flashes, night sweats and terrible mood swings. My head feels like it is in a bubble and I can't sleep. But my sister-in-law didn't have any of these symptoms. All she had was problems sleeping. Is this normal?
A: Most of women experience some symptoms, with hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and mood swings being the most common.
There are some lucky women who go through the change with hardly a hot flash and others have a lot of symptoms. But even if you have severe symptoms, there are numerous remedies and treatments that can help to make you feel better.
Menopause FAQ 7: Can I Get Pregnant?Q: I haven't had a period for over six months. I think I can stop using birth control, right?
A: First, you are NOT post menopausal because your last period was NOT over a year ago. So you may still be able to get pregnant. The definition of menopause is 12 months without a menstrual cycle.
It is true that after a woman has completed menopause, she can't get pregnant, because the ovaries have shot down. However, during the premenopausal years, pregnancy is possible because the ovaries still release eggs in some cycles.
And during the early peri-menopause phase, your brain releases more hormones to stimulate ovulation - kind of a last ditch effort. Ever heard the term "menopause baby"?
Menopause FAQ 8: Nutrition during the Change
Q: I heard that soy has natural estrogen. Do I have to eat a lot of tofu to avoid hot flashes?
A: Yes, soy beans have a lot of Isoflavones, a kind of natural estrogen. But there are other ways to get soy if you think it will help you. Plus there are a lot of different (and in my opinion better) natural estrogen sources.
Soy has never been proven to help much with hot flashes, especially soy isoflavone supplements. Recently researchers have found that only a portion of women can break down soy in a way to benefit from the natural estrogens so that would explain the negative research results.
Check out the information about soy if you want to know more.
To have a healthy diet during menopause is very important because the vitamins and minerals will help with your symptoms.
Menopause FAQ 9: Menopause and Depression
Q: Lately I am always so depressed. There are a lot of things going on in my life but I used to be able to cope with things. Now I feel like the world is crashing around me and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Could this be because of menopause?
A: I am sorry to hear about your troubles. But first let me say that if at any time you are thinking about harming yourself, seek professional help immediately. Depression is a serious illness and you can get help.
Some women experience depression for the first time when they enter menopause. There is a strong (but not fully explained) relationship between the hormones that are linked to depression and the menopause hormones.
There are several ways to treat depression and if your symptoms are mild enough even natural remedies can help. But talk to a health care specialist about your symptoms to make sure they are menopause related and not do to unrelated causes.
A Final Word about Menopause FAQ?
Obviously, the content of this page is changing frequently. So make sure that you are subscribing to the hot flash blog to stay up to date.
If you want to ask a question, just send us a message and we will do our best to help you out. Just keep in mind that the information here is not considered medical advice in any way and you should always address health questions to your doctor. Please check out this disclaimer.
Here are the links for more information related to Menopause FAQ:
First Signs of Menopause
Natural Remedies for Menopause
Black Cohosh Root
Diet and Dietary Adjustments
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