Personalized Menopause Care
Menopause is a natural, normal body change that happens when a woman stops menstruating. Although every woman is different, menopause tends to occur between the ages of 45 to 55. Menopause is considered complete when you have not had a period for one year.
Menopause has two stages. Perimenopause starts when you begin having menopause symptoms and can last up to ten years. During perimenopause you will still have periods and can still become pregnant. Postmenopause occurs when you have not had a period for one year. This indicates your ovaries are no longer releasing eggs. You cannot become pregnant once you are postmenopausal.
Menopause occurs naturally when your ovaries start making less estrogen and progesterone. This results in reduced hormone levels and causes your ovaries to stop producing eggs and your periods to stop.
Menopause can also be caused by:
- Surgical removal of your ovaries, often during a hysterectomy to remove your uterus
- Chemotherapy, radiation or hormone therapy used during cancer treatment
Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook
Menopause symptoms and their severity vary from woman to woman. At first, you may experience irregular periods, which can last for several years before they stop completely.
Common symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Racing or pounding heart
- Night sweats
- Flushed skin
Other symptoms may include:
- Mood swings, irritability, anxiety and depression
- Decreased sex drive
- Vaginal dryness and painful sex
- Vaginal infections
- Urine leakage
- Joint aches and pains
The signs and symptoms of menopause are generally enough to determine whether you’ve started menopause. Although tests are not typically needed to diagnose menopause, under certain circumstances your doctor may order bloodwork to check your hormone levels and perform a pelvic exam to examine the lining of your vagina for changes due to hormone fluctuations.
Many of the health challenges associated with menopause are temporary. Treatment is not always needed, but is available if your symptoms become severe. After menopause, changes to your hormone levels may make you more susceptible to bone loss and heart disease.
Experts in Care
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Why Choose Penn State Health
Our experts are leaders in the field of women’s health, with years of experience providing hormone and endocrine treatments to relieve your menopause symptoms and help maintain the lifestyle you enjoy. Our board-certified gynecologists will partner with you to answer questions, educate and walk you through the challenges of menopause.
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
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