How do you know when you’ve begun menopause?

Menopause is a journey that is experienced a little differently for every woman. Since the signs of menopause vary from person to person, it might be tricky for you to tell when you’ve entered menopause. Your doctor at West Hills Hospital can give you the personalized, compassionate care you need to thrive during all of life’s stages.

Menopause onset
The start of menopause could happen relatively early in life. Premature or early menopause is the term used when it occurs before age 40. The following medical treatments can cause premature menopause:

  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy directed at the pelvis
  • Hysterectomy
  • Surgical removal of the ovaries

For other women, early menopause might be attributed to genetic factors or autoimmune diseases.

After age 40, menopause could happen at any time, but usually happens at age 51, according to the Office on Women’s Health .

To best protect your health, your doctor needs to know about any unusual symptoms you’re experiencing. It’s possible for the hallmark characteristics of menopause to be caused by serious medical conditions that need treatment. Keep track of your symptoms in a journal and bring it to your check-ups.

Menstrual changes
The time leading up to menopause is called perimenopause. You can hear more about it when you watch this video, which features an interview with an Ob/Gyn at West Hills Hospital.

During perimenopause, it’s normal to experience irregular periods. Your doctor will confirm that you have gone through menopause when you’ve had 12 consecutive months with no menstrual bleeding at all.

Hot flashes
Symptoms like hot flashes are more common during perimenopause than menopause. A hot flash is the feeling of warmth that spreads over your upper body or entire body. It can cause excessive sweating followed by chills, and areas of reddened skin.

Vaginal issues
The lower estrogen levels associated with menopause can cause the vaginal walls to be thinner and drier. This can cause pain or discomfort during sex. Some women become more susceptible to vaginal infections.

For every stage of life, West Hills Hospital is here for you. Your doctor in West Hills will work closely with you to manage your health during menopause, and can refer you to our excellent Women’s Diagnostic Center for advanced screening tests as needed. Call a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321.

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