Uterine Bleeding: What’s Normal What’s Not
One concern for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women is knowing whether irregular uterine bleeding is normal. Most women notice normal changes in their cycle as they approach menopause. Periods are often heavy or more frequent, and they may stop and start. But abnormal uterine bleeding may be a sign of benign gynecologic problems or even uterine cancer. Consult your physician if any of the following situations occur:
- You have a few periods that last three days longer than usual.
- You have a few menstrual cycles that are shorter than 21 days.
- You bleed after intercourse.
- You have heavy monthly bleeding .
- You have spotting .
- You have bleeding that occurs outside the normal pattern associated with hormone use.
When you report abnormal vaginal bleeding, your clinician will try to determine whether the cause is an anatomic problem or a hormonal issue. He or she also will investigate other possible causes. In addition to identifying the cause, he or she will help you manage any excess bleeding, which sometimes leads to anemia.
On rare occasions, postmenopausal women experience uterine bleeding from a “rogue ovulation,” which is vaginal bleeding after a hiatus that may be preceded by premenstrual symptoms such as breast tenderness. Presumably, the ovaries are producing some hormones and maybe a final egg.
Hot Flushes And Night Sweats
The hot flush is experienced by up to 80% of those going through the menopause and is the most common symptom. Often accompanied by extreme sweating , a hot flush is caused by changes in hormone levels upsetting the part of the brain that regulates temperature. Basically, your body thinks it is overheating even when it isnt, and things like hot drinks or alcohol, eating spicy food or sitting in the sun can exacerbate symptoms.
A night sweat is a hot flush that happens at night the sweat is a chemical reaction that opens up the blood vessels in the skin causing a feeling of sudden heat. Sweat is released to dispel that heat.
Hot flushes usually last from three to five minutes and can vary in severity. Some women find them nicely warming but around 20% are instantly drenched and scarlet in the face. This can impact on work, social occasions and disrupt sleep.
Hot flushes usually continue for about two years, but some women continue to have them post-menopause.
Did you know? Whilst we all know about hot flushes, did you know that anxiety and low self-esteem can get much worse around menopause?Dr Jane Davis
Tips for managing hot flushes
Download our helpful menopause symptoms tracker to keep a note of the symptoms youre experiencing.
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Drive
Yes, menopause can affect your sex drive but it doesnt mean your sex life is over.
Dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can make you feel less sexual desire. The symptoms can also affect your sleep and lower your energy which might make you not so into sex. Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation can also feel like a turn-off. Its also normal to feel a range of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, or loss while going through menopause.
If you lose interest in sex during this time, itll probably come back when your symptoms stop.
A pretty common symptom that can affect your sexual desire is vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
For symptoms that affect your sex life, trying one or more of these things can help:
Use water- or silicone-based lube when you have sex. You can buy lube at most drugstores or online.
Give your yourself more time to feel aroused. Moisture from being aroused protects sensitive tissues.
Have sex and/or masturbate more often. This increases blood flow to your vagina, which helps keep your vaginal tissue healthy.
Some people may actually find that they want to have sex MORE after menopause, because they dont have to worry about getting pregnant. This may give you a sense of freedom to enjoy a renewed and exciting sex life.
Menopause is a natural biological process. And while it marks the end of your ability to get pregnant, it definitely doesnt have to be the end of your sexuality.
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How To Improve Fatigue In Menopause
Like so much else in perimenopause, fatigue is likely temporary, but that temporary can be years long. Here are some ways to feel more energized in the meantime.
Get moving. Its probably the last thing that you want to do, so start with just a simple walk. Being physically active raises your energy levels and helps you sleep better . It can also boost the feel-good hormones that may be in short supply at this time. And you dont have do a body-drenching workout. Yoga and tai chi have been found to help with menopausal fatigue, according to research in the journal Maturitas.
Hydrate. Even low levels of dehydration can leave you feeling drained. I slam two big glasses of water in the afternoon to fight fatigue, says Laura Boulay of One Million Women Walking. And then, not surprisingly, she goes for a walk. Water is your best choice for hydrating. In addition, eating more fruits and veggiesmany are over 80 percent watercan add some serious fluids along with important nutrients.
Rediscover naps. Maybe you havent napped since your mom made you, but now might be the time to reinstitute nap time. While you should still take steps to get enough sleep, during this time when a good nights rest may be elusive, a quick snooze during lunch may be the pick-me-up you need. Research shows that naps can improve your energy and mood and increase alertness and performance. Just keep them to under 30 minutes so youll be less groggy when you wake up.
Take A Meditation Break
Stress can sap your energy and interrupt your sleep. One way to beat stress is meditation. To practice one of the most popular forms, mindfulness meditation, sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Slowly breathe in and out, clearing your mind while focusing on your breath. When negative thoughts try to enter your mind, steer them gently back out.
If you have trouble sitting still, try yoga or tai chi, which combine exercise with meditation to harness the benefits of both practices.
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Fuel Yourself With The Right Stuff
Carbohydrates, protein, and fats are the three main macronutrients – and each plays a role in keeping us energized. Carbs provide quick energy to help you feel better right away, whereas protein and fats digest more slowly for sustainable energy until your next meal. Combining all three macronutrients sets you up for the best of both worlds.
Balanced bites to try:
A pear with a side of pistachios
A hearty slice of toast with mashed avocado and white beans
Sliced apple wrapped in prosciutto
A sprinkle of breakfast cereal on top of yogurt
A quick walk in the morning or evening will boost your energy level. A great playlist or audio book are useful tools to keep you moving.
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Fatigue During Menopause
Fatigue is a complex, multi-faceted symptom that can plague people at any stage of life. It is impacted by overall physical and mental health, by daily stresses and life events. But one of the most common and, at the same time, most troublesome times to experience fatigue is during menopause and the preceding perimenopause transition. Whats more, it often lasts for years, and its course is different for every woman.
Menopause-related fatigue can be caused by changing estrogen levels, but it is often compounded by common symptoms. Chief among these are vasomotor symptoms, which are experienced by up to 80% of women and include hot flashes and night sweats that can disrupt sleep. Whatever the point of origin, this fatigue can impact both womens personal and professional lives. With the proper support, however, treatment for fatigue during menopause can address the cascade of related symptoms and significantly improve quality of life.
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Perimenopause And Extreme Fatigue
During perimenopause, your body is going through some pretty intense hormonal changes as your ovaries begin to shut the doors on their reproductive years. Coupled with other symptoms that accompany the perimenopausal period including night sweats, insomnia, and hot flashes, it can feel impossible to get a good nights rest.
In perimenopause, you experience fluctuating hormone levels. Estrogen and progesterone tend to decline as you go through menopause. However, there are receptors for estrogen and progesterone all over your body. Thus, changes in your ovaries affect your whole body.
The Solution To Crashing Fatigue In 3 Steps
If youre experiencing crashing fatigue, you want to interrupt that pattern and reestablish your normal sleep-wake cycle. Careful attention to hormones can restore their natural rise-and-fall patterns, and allow them to interact in a healthy way.
1. Let your hormones send the right messages to your body.
Crashing fatigue is linked tightly to fluctuating estrogen levels, especially when the changes are severe or rapid. The correct balance between naturally-declining estrogen and other hormones smooths out the hormonal spikes and crashes that drain energy and disturb sleep. Women in menopause are more vulnerable to the effects of stress and adrenal hormone responses. That means remembering to pace yourself during the day, and allowing for more time-outs as needed.
You can help your body coax its hormones back into balance using herbal extracts. The best formulas contain combinations of phyto-ingredients that have adaptogenic qualities that allow them to continually adjust as necessary. Look for red clover, ashwagandha, and especially black cohosh these shift naturally to the changing hormonal needs of your body, and they function well together.
2. Take snacking seriously.
Eating regularly is important to fuel energy and prevent crashing fatigue. If youre a meal skipper, youll need to change your ways, at least for a while. Eat every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day and keep snacks super simple, healthy and fast but not junky.
Have snacks ready if you can, and choose:
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What Extreme Fatigue Is Not
Extreme fatigue IS NOT Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Adrenal Fatigue.
CFS is a more serious condition. Its caused by specific condition and can last for six months.
Adrenal fatigue is also another thing. This condition happens when you have chronic stress. Your adrenals go into override and exhaustion. As a result, you dont have control over cortisol and your body. Adrenal Fatigue Solution has an easy explanation about the difference between CFS and Adrenal Fatigue.
Make Time For Regular Exercise
It can be hard to drag yourself out of bed when youre exhausted, but exercise is one of the best solutions for fatigue. A of postmenopausal women found moderate- to high-intensity exercise is associated with higher energy levels.
- chronic pain
- quality of life
Look for activities that are enjoyable and manageable. For example, you can take a short walk during your lunch break or join a yoga class. The important thing is to find something that you can regularly enjoy. If you pick an activity that you dont enjoy or cant find the time to do regularly, try something else. Youre more likely to turn exercise into a habit if you enjoy it.
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A Word On Perimenopause
Medically, menopauseis defined as a time when a woman has not had her menstrual period for at least12 consecutive months . The period before menopause, when you beginnoticing signs of hormonal changes, is defined as perimenopause. During thisphase, the ovaries gradually produce lesser estrogen, and your periods may movebecome farther apart from each other. On the other hand, some women may noticeirregular periods that come closer together and do not follow their previouspattern of being 25-40 days apart. To put it simply, when you experienceperimenopause, your periods become difficult to predict. You may alsoexperience heavier or lighter flow, or notice more blood clots duringperimenopause.
Menopause will kick in when your ovaries produce so little estrogen than it no longer leads to the release of a healthy egg from your ovaries, to trigger menstruation after 14-16 days. Remember, if your last period was less than a year ago, you are not fully menopausal yet, and could still become pregnant. We discuss the various symptoms of perimenopause in a different article, so give that a read too.
Risk Factors For Menopause Fatigue
If a woman experiences menopause fatigue, then she is at risk of experiencing a lower quality of life. It becomes difficult for her to take part in regular activities because of the extreme tiredness that usually comes upon her suddenly.
Furthermore, she becomes more irritable and difficult to be around because of the tiredness and lack of sleep. A woman who is fatigued can also easily get hurt because she has a lower attention span.
Research studies have also shown that sleeping 6 hours a night places a woman at 14% greater risk of stroke than sleeping 7 hours a night.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
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Avoiding Stimulants And Alcohol
It is tempting to rely on stimulants such as caffeine when energy levels are low. However, too much caffeine may disrupt sleep . This may mean a person feels more tired during the day.
Similarly, while alcohol can help people feel drowsy when they are having difficulty sleeping, it lowers sleep quality overall. For some, it is also a hot flash trigger.
How Can I Fight Menopause Fatigue
So thats the problem, but what can you do about it?
Weve said before that menopause isnt something that you fight off. Its a natural transition that every woman who menstruates will go through. But, weve also said before that youre not powerless.
If menopause side effects are disrupting your life, there are some things you can do to help you get through the day with something left in your tank.
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Tips To Help Fight Fatigue During Menopause
I want to get out of this black hole once and for all and step into the light. The fatigue is unbearable. Susie D
Tired, irritable, hot flushes, night sweats and weight gain are all common complaints for women entering the menopause.
Fatigue is one issue that slips below the radar.
Fatigue can be defined as an ongoing and persistent feeling of weakness, tiredness, and lowered energy levels as opposed to sleepiness.
Fatigue involves a lack of energy rather than sleepiness, hence having a nap during the day does nothing to alleviate any fatigue.
You may feel a lag in energy levels that lasts all day, or experience shorter bursts of fatigue intermittently.
Fatigue is particularly frustrating as it has a duel effect on both mind and body, making you feel despondent and frustrated.
The most likely cause of fatigue during the menopause phase of a womanâs life is the fluctuation of hormones that occurs naturally during this time.
Your hormones are responsible for controlling energy, thus, when levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease, so do energy levels.
Here are my four top tips to help you overcome fatigue and have more energy in your day.
1. Stop âdietingâ and start enjoying your food.
As women enter the menopause, weight gain can be an issue. They then begin the diet trap and rather than lose weight, they lose energy and find themselves fighting fatigue.
A diet should not have a time limit on it, nor make you feel deprived.
What Causes Crashing Fatigue During Menopause
Theres not really one cause of crashing fatigueits a combination of the way your hormones make you feel during the day and the way other menopause symptoms can keep you up at night. But the simple answer is that your body is going through some huge changes, and that can be exhausting.
As women age, their bodies begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone. This can affect your mood, leading to higher levels of stress and decreased motivation. Your body reacts to this sudden fluctuation in hormone levels by jumping into fight or flight mode, releasing both cortisol and adrenaline into your body. This can leave you feeling exhausted, but it can also disrupt your sleep cycle.
Producing less estrogen and progesterone also makes you more likely to have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes you to momentarily stop breathing and disrupt your sleep as you wake up to resume your breathing. Other symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, night sweats, heartburn, or restless legs, can also disturb your sleep at night.
Crashing fatigue during menopause can feel like youre burning the candle at both endsyou arent getting enough rest to fully recharge your batteries, and youre draining your battery at a faster rate. If your menopause fatigue is leaving you feeling exhausted, there are steps you can take to help your body adjust to its new chemistry and boost your energy levels.
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Understanding Perimenopause And Menopause
Perimenopause refers to the time of transitional before menopause begins. Your periods may become irregular, and your flow may become heavier or lighter.
Production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone usually begins to slow when a woman reaches her 40s. That happens as a woman enters the perimenopausal period. The full transition to menopause can take 4 to 12 years.
Menopause is the time of life when your periods stop, estrogen and progesterone production ends, and you can no longer become pregnant.
During perimenopause, you might start experiencing symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, and fatigue. Youll officially be in menopause when you havent had a period for 12 months.
Fatigue can be one sign that youre in a menopause transition. Here are a few of the other symptoms that are common during perimenopause:
- hot flashes
- mood changes, such as feeling sad or more irritable than usual
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- weight gain
Talk to your doctor if these symptoms or any others bother you. You can work together to find the best treatment options for your symptoms.