Menopause

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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    The safest thing you can say about the effectiveness of botanicals marketed for treating menopause symptoms is this: Some might be worth a try.

    There are many different plant extracts and related dietary supplements aimed at women who are battling hot flashes, sleep problems and other menopause-related difficulties. That makes it impossible to say anything general about their effectiveness. What's more, these products simply haven't been well studied, as a rule. We know far less about how well they work than we know about the effects of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

    However, there is tantalizing evidence from the limited research that has been done to suggest that some of these natural products may help a woman struggling with menopause symptoms. Popular dietary supplements for menopausal women include products containing black cohosh, evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil, red clover and soy extract. If you decide to try one, tell your doctor first and follow the label instructions to the letter. If you develop any new symptoms while taking a botanical product of any kind, stop immediately and contact your physician.
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    There are a number of home remedies that can help bring you relief from hot flashes. Try dressing in layers (of cotton, not synthetics or wool), so you can quickly take a layer off when you get a hot flash. You can also try deep, slow breathing when you get a hot flash. Relaxation techniques you learn through yoga, meditation, or tai chi can help.

    Try to figure out what brings on your hot flashes, whether it’s certain drinks (coffee or tea, for example), the weather (such as when it’s hot outside), stress, or certain foods. Keep ice water handy and a fan nearby. Make sure the temperature in your house or office is cool enough.

    For hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, some women find relief by going to an acupuncturist, getting enough exercise, drinking plenty of water, not smoking, and avoiding certain types of foods and drinks (such as spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine). Soy products are good to incorporate into your meals, because they might help prevent or decrease hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.

    At night, use cotton sheets on your bed, not silk or a synthetic blend. Also wear cotton pajamas when you sleep, which can make night sweats (hot flashes at night) more tolerable.
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    Menopause is when periods stop completely, but it is confirmed after one year of no periods and therefore only recognized 12 months after the fact. Conceiving, therefore, can't happen during menopause because eggs are no longer being released and the ovaries are no longer releasing hormones that make pregnancy possible. However, perimenopause is "the time around menopause" when periods are irregular and hormone levels are changing. Therefore, it could be possible to still conceive during perimenopause.
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    A , Women's Health, answered
    A woman's fertility, ability to get pregnant, becomes unpredictible as she nears menopause. The hormones from the ovaries and the brain that communicate and control the maturing and ovulation of eggs each cycle are less reliable. Overall, women ovulate less frequently but they may ovulate either earlier or later in the cycle. This means an unplanned pregnancy can occur while at the same time a planned pregnancy is more difficult to acheive.
    Since many women are not aware they can still get pregnant as they approach menopause, they may not use contraception as carefully. A large study, the National Survey of Family Growth, showed that the rate of  unplanned pregnancies is highest in the teens, and the in the forties.
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    If you are truly in menopause, which is a permanent end to your periods, then by definition you are infertile. This is because you are no longer producing a monthly egg. You should consult a physician to ensure that you are truly in menopause because there are other reasons to stop having your monthly cycle, and if this is the case, then there may be a chance that you could still conceive.
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    A answered
    The health risks associated with menopause include the following:
    • thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid), which can cause fatigue, weight gain and depression
    • diabetes, which can contribute to heart disease
    • cancer, particularly of the breast and colon
    • bladder infections
    • continence problems
    • gastrointestinal problems such as diverticulosis, in which small pouches bulge from weak spots in the colon and can cause cramps, bloating and constipation
    • hiatal hernia, a painful condition in which the intestine slips through a weak spot of the abdominal wall
    It's always a good idea to ask a healthcare professional about any physical or emotional changes. Some are typical to this life stage, while others may need more serious consideration.
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    A , Family Medicine, answered

    Especially after menopause, it is important for women to stay active and eat healthy. Stop smoking and stay away from second-hand smoke. Make sure you are taking care of other health conditions, such as diabetes, and that you are taking medications properly. Sometimes women may need to take vitamin supplements, such as calcium or vitamin D, for improved health. Talk to your doctor about other ways to reduce the risk of heart disease.

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    A answered
    After menopause, as you get older your risk for heart disease and stroke increase steadily. In fact, heart disease is a leading cause of death and disability in women. In the past, researchers thought estrogen protected younger women from heart disease, but the most recent clinical trials show that the reasons for this increased risk in older women aren't exactly clear. Estrogen therapy alone or in combination with progestin does not appear to protect women from heart disease or stroke and in fact, these hormones may even be harmful.

    Regardless of the exact cause, because of this increased heart disease risk, it's important that you exercise regularly, limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day, refrain from smoking and maintain a healthy weight to help reduce your risk of these forms of heart disease. If needed, there are prescription medications to lower your blood pressure and help regulate your cholesterol levels.
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    A answered
    Women’s risk for heart disease climbs after menopause. In the recent past, women were prescribed hormone replacement therapy to restore estrogen levels, as it was theorized that women’s risk of heart disease increased because of the natural drop in estrogen during menopause. However, estrogen supplementation has since proven to have no effect on heart health, and combination therapies of estrogen and progesterone may actually increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

    So, if estrogen may not be the root cause of women’s increased risk for heart disease after menopause, what is behind it? Here are some factors that in combination may be behind heart disease risk increases in postmenopausal women:

    •    Cholesterol. LDL, or bad, cholesterol rises as much as 10 percent in the years before and after menopause begins.
    •    Iron after menopause. Postmenopausal women no longer lose iron when they menstruate. That iron builds up in organs such as the heart and increases the risk of heart disease. Women should check with a doctor to see if they should continue to take iron after menopause.
    •    Blood pressure after menopause. Watch for increases in blood pressure after menopause. Some studies have shown an increase of three times what it was before menopause.
    •    Early menopause. Whether it occurs naturally or as a result of surgery, menopause before age 40 is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, according to the Women's Heart Foundation.
     
  • 3 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Weight gain during and after menopause feels like cruel and unusual punishment after all those hot flashes. But we need to be myth busters first: Menopause and weight gain don’t always go hand in hand. Some women gain little or no weight at all during and after menopause, while others gain enough that their risk for cardiovascular disease becomes dangerously high. But how much weight you’ve gained isn’t the only factor. Where you carry that extra padding matters, too. If you gain body fat in the abdomen (you know a muffin top, beer belly, love handles), then you are at greater risk for inflammatory diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, memory loss, impotence, joint abnormalities, and cancer. But if you gain body fat around your hips (magazines call this pear-shaped), then you are less likely to get these diseases. Bottom line: Weight gain can lead to some scary diseases, so keep eating right, getting your 10,000 steps a day, and managing your stress (as best you can).
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