CHAPTER 20:PERIMENOPAUSE & MENOPAUSEBy: Ashley Hare
INTRO “This chapter focuses on the reproductive health aspects of perimenopause and the social and cultural context of this significant transition.”
DEFINITIONS Perimenopause: the one-to-ten year stretch during which the ovaries function erratically and hormonal fluctuations may bring a range of changes, such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Menopause: is marked by the final menstrual period, known to be final after twelve months with no periods.
JERILYNN PRIOR’S LIST OF 9 CHANGES COMMONWITH EARLY PERIMENOPAUSE: 1. New-onset heavy and/or longer flows 2. Shorter menstrual cycles 3. Newly sore, swollen or lumpy breasts 4. New midsleep wakening 5. Increased cramps 6. Onset of night sweats 7. New or markedly increased migraine headaches 8. New or increased premenstrual mood swings 9. Weight gain without changes in exercise or eating
PERIMENOPAUSAL FACTS About 25% of women have heavier bleeding known as hypermenorrhea. Taking an over the counter NSAID such as ibuprofen every 4-6 hours during heavy flow will decrease the period blood loss by 25-45% Myth: Once your periods get irregular you can’t get pregnant. -- Wrong! You still may be fertile! 20-30% of woman never get hot flashes. Hot flashes may begin long before cycles become irregular. To reduce comfort during hot flashes: drink water regularly, avoid caffeine, avoid stress, exercise (30 mins a day), put a cold pack under pillow, try nonhormonal medicines, & quit smoking if you’re a smoke.
CONTINUED PERIMENOPAUSAL FACTS Vaginal dryness is sometimes problematic because of a decline in estrogen levels during perimenopause. Many women report memory gaps or lowered ability to concentrate and a decreased interest in sex as well.
TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES DURINGPERIMENOPAUSE AND BEYOND Stay active! Physical activity becomes increasingly important in midlife. Eat Well! Take supplements, like calcium, to prevent health problems like osteoporosis. Avoid smoking! Establish a strong relationship with a healthcare provider.
HORMONESo Estrogens Estradoil: the predominant estrogen during the pre- and perimenopausal years. Estriol: a weak human estrogen usually found in substantial amounts only during pregnancy. Estrone: produced when fat acts on adrenal estrogens after menopause. o Progestogens Women who go on estrogen therapy should use a progestogen (progesterone-like product) along with estrogen. Progesterone mimics the work of the body’s progesterone in preventing overgrowth of the uterine lining that may lead to endometrial cancer.
OVERALL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WOMENSHEALTH DURING MIDLIFE Actively advocate for policies and programs that improve the health, well-being, and financial and social status of women. Consider our health status before taking any type of hormones. Keep up with new research findings regarding hormone therapy. Stay informed and proactive so you can be prepared for peri- and postmenopause!
QUOTE / FACT THAT “JUMPED OUT AT ME”“Women who smoke tend to reach menopause earlier than nonsmoking women.”
DISCUSSION QUESTION Do you think perimenopause / menopause can affect marriages in a negative way? How so?