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For most women, menopause is a natural process of aging. Menstrual periods gradually stop. The ability to become pregnant ends. Some women feel relief that they no longer have periods. But other women struggle with the physical and emotional changes that come with menopause.
For most women, menopause happens around age 50. But every woman's body has its own timeline. Some women stop having periods in their mid-40s. Others keep having periods well into their 50s.
And some women go through menopause early because of cancer treatment or surgery to remove the ovaries.
Symptoms may include:
Symptoms related to mood and thinking may also happen around the time of menopause. These include:
You may have only a few mild symptoms. Or you might have severe symptoms that disrupt your sleep and daily life. Menopause caused by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy can cause symptoms to be more severe. A condition you already had, such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, or irritability, can also make symptoms worse.
Symptoms tend to last or get worse the first year or more after menopause. Over time, hormones even out at low levels. Many symptoms improve or go away. But sometimes symptoms don't go away.
After menopause, you may get other symptoms. These include drying and thinning of the skin, and vaginal and urinary tract changes.
If your symptoms are bothering you, there are lifestyle changes and treatments that can help.
If your symptoms bother you, talk with your doctor. You may want to try prescription medicines, such as:
All medicines for menopause symptoms have possible risks or side effects. And there's a very small chance of serious health problems from taking hormone therapy. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your possible health risks before you start a treatment for menopause symptoms.
You can try:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: February 11, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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