Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
One of the most common symptoms of perimenopause is hot flashes, which often coexists with night sweats. Almost 80 percent of people who are in perimenopause or transitioning into menopause have hot flashes. Also, most women who receive chemotherapy or undergo surgery to remove their ovaries will experience hot flashes.
Scientists know that hot flashes occur as a result of low estrogen levels. Each hot flash involves a sensation of heat that starts in the chest area and travels to the neck and the head. It can last for a few minutes and may cause sweating. Some women also develop a faster heart rate during hot flashes.
If a hot flash happens during sleep, they are called night sweats. Women who have night sweats often wake up in the morning feeling tired.
Some people experience redness along their neck and face during a hot flash. This is called a hot flush.
On average, each hot flash lasts for about three to four minutes. Hot flashes can occur for a few months to several years. In a few rare cases, some people had hot flashes for 10 years.
Other signs of hormonal imbalance include:
- Heavy or irregular periods, missed periods, frequent periods, or stopped periods
- Vaginal dryness and itching
- Weakened muscles
- Pain in the muscles, tenderness, and stiffness
- Pain and swelling in the joints
Can You Test While On Bioidentical Hormones
For my patients on oral bioidentical progesterone, I use blood and dried urine. Serum tells me levels that are clinically relevant and supported by research. Dried urine tells me about the metabolism of progesterone and cortisol. I do not use saliva testing for my patients on bioidentical hormones as I believe the data suggests it leads to underdosing.
Understanding How Hormones Should Work
Its a little bit like a symphony. Most of us have all the notes, they are just not playing in key. The ovaries produce three different estrogens; estradiol, estrone, and estriol, progesterone, and about half of the bodys testosterone production. The other half of testosterone production is produced in the adrenal glands.
Each month during a womans menstrual cycle, the ovary has a list of things to do, and the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, has a list of things to do. In the role of the egg development and lining development, there are four different hormones . Note, your body requires a pretty big jump of progesterone in the luteal phase, and when the body doesnt produce that, it is pretty noticeable . Hence the symphony analogy, you probably have all the right hormones, but if you dont have the spikes of them during this cycle, then the notes are not playing in tune. Dont worry, it is fixable.
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If Youre Over 45 And Having Menopausal Symptoms
Firstly, your doctor will take a full medical history including family history and current symptoms. This information, combined with age will inform whether symptoms are considered menopausal or not.
Expect the medical history to cover:
- Current symptoms; there are 34 symptoms which you may experience during your menopause
- Family history of major disease
- Discussion of changes to periods
- Gynaecological history
- Health behaviours that can impact health risks
- Blood pressure
- Risk factors for long term diseases .
- Theyll only do a physical exam of the breasts and abdomen if its needed because of your specific symptoms.
If you have typical menopausal symptoms, and the doctor does not suspect other causes, then theyll most likely conclude that your menopausal. No blood tests are needed for official diagnosis.
If youre between 40 and 45 and having menopausal symptoms
Have a read of our article Menopause between 40 and 45 if you think you may be entering your menopause during this time.
If you are under 40 and having menopausal symptoms
The doctor will run a blood test for FSH check for premature ovarian insufficiency . Theyll run this twice over a 6-8 week period to confirm your levels this is because your hormones will fluctuate a lot during the lead up to menopause. Uncharacteristically high FSH results will suggest that your symptoms are due to hormonal changes that typically arise as you approach menopause.
Want to check where you are at with your menopause?
Can You Test Hormone Levels
Yes, you can. Hormone testing is routinely done these days and is available for all types of hormones that commonly become unbalanced, including women hormones, men hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisol and much more. Most hormone imbalance tests are blood tests that measure the level of certain hormones circulating in the blood stream, and in some cases, whether complimentary hormones estrogen and progesterone, for instance are present in the proper ratios to work together effectively.
- Hormone tests are commonly done for the following purposes:
- To diagnose hormonal imbalances
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Why Do I Need An Estrogen Test
You may need an estradiol test or an estrone test if you:
- Are having trouble getting pregnant
- Are a woman of childbearing age who is not having periods or having abnormal periods
- Are a girl with early or delayed puberty
- Have symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Have vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Are a boy with delayed puberty
- Are a man showing female characteristics, such as the growth of breasts
If you are pregnant, your health care provider may order an estriol test between the 15th and 20th week of pregnancy as part of a prenatal test called a triple screen test. It can find out if your baby is at risk for a genetic birth defect such as Down syndrome. Not all pregnant women need to get an estriol test, but it is recommended for women who have a higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect. You may be at a higher risk if you:
- Have a family history of birth defects
- Are age 35 or older
- Have a viral infection during pregnancy
Can Menopause Affect My Sex Life
After menopause, your body has less estrogen. This major change in your hormonal balance can affect your sex life. Many menopausal women may notice that theyre not as easily aroused as before. Sometimes, women also may be less sensitive to touch and other physical contact than before menopause.
These feelings, coupled with the other emotional changes you may be experiencing, can all lead to a decreased interest in sex. Keep in mind that your body is going through a lot of change during menopause. Some of the other factors that can play a role in a decreased sex drive can include:
- Having bladder control problems.
- Having trouble sleeping through the night.
- Experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.
- Coping with other medical conditions and medications.
All of these factors can disrupt your life and even cause tension in your relationship. In addition to these changes, the lower levels of estrogen in your body can actually cause a decrease in the blood supply to the vagina. This can cause dryness. When you dont have the right amount of lubrication in the vagina, it can be thin, pale and dry. This can lead to painful intercourse.
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Check Your Hormone Levels From The Convenience Of Home
If youâre concerned about your hormone levels, you can use the information here on how to know if you have a hormonal imbalanceâplus speaking with a healthcare providerâto help inform your next steps.If youâre interested in hormone testing at home, consider the following tests :
- Womenâs Hormone Test – Lets you learn your levels for 10 key hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormones.
- Thyroid Test – Check the 3 main thyroid hormones , plus thyroid antibodies.
- Womenâs Fertility Test – Test your levels for 5 hormones that help support ovarian function and pregnancy.
- Men’s Health Test – Check your cortisol, DHEA-S, estradiol, and testosterone.
Perimenopause: Rocky Road To Menopause
What are the signs of perimenopause? You’re in your 40s, you wake up in a sweat at night, and your periods are erratic and often accompanied by heavy bleeding: Chances are, you’re going through perimenopause. Many women experience an array of symptoms as their hormones shift during the months or years leading up to menopause that is, the natural end of menstruation. Menopause is a point in time, but perimenopause is an extended transitional state. It’s also sometimes referred to as the menopausal transition, although technically, the transition ends 12 months earlier than perimenopause .
Is There A Test For Menopause
You may be able to self-diagnose menopause by paying close attention to its symptoms. You may start noticing symptoms of menopause months to years before it actually starts. This transition period is called perimenopause. Some of the symptoms of menopause are:
- Thinning hair
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of fullness of breasts
Your doctor can also help you determine if you are going through menopause. They may ask you about your symptoms, perform some tests for menopause, and track your menstrual cycle.;
Presently, no single menopause test is definitive enough to predict for sure when a woman is in menopause. But doctors may do several different kinds of tests for menopause to find out whether your symptoms are caused by menopause or something else.;
When To See A Doctor For Perimenopause
Some women experience very few symptoms during perimenopause. While you should still see your doctor for regular physical checkups, it may not be necessary to seek specific care for perimenopause unless the symptoms cause significant discomfort.
If you begin noticing these symptoms before the age of 40, or if they are disrupting your daily life, you should also contact your doctor to see what options you have to ease your symptoms.
If you notice abnormal reproductive or menstrual symptoms like the following, see a doctor, since they might indicate a more serious condition:
- Having periods that repeatedly occur fewer than three weeks apart
- Experiencing menstrual bleeding for more than seven days at a time
- Swelling or discomfort in your abdomen coupled with missed periods
- Frequent bleeding in between periods
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
Perimenopause lasts several years and may bring on new health concerns. You and your doctor can discuss strategies for managing perimenopause.
Dignity Health cares for women from adolescence through perimenopause and beyond. Were here for you.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.
Also Check: How To Test Hormone Levels
What Hormone Imbalance Tests Are Available
Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone tests are the most common to test for a hormone imbalance, but often estrogen tests are recommended for women suffering from menopause symptoms. Home tests may be bought at a local pharmacy and administered at home, or you could visit your doctor’s office. You, or your doctor, can test for a hormone imbalance in the following ways:
- Blood test. The most comprehensive test, a blood test can give detailed information about levels of different hormones, and help you find out whether you are deficient or dominant in one hormone.
- Urine test. There are also home urine tests to test the levels of hormones in the body.
- Saliva test. This is available as a home test, or at your local clinic or hospital. Here saliva is taken from your mouth to test for levels of hormones.
Home testing kits are often expensive and do not always give an accurate reading. For best results, it is recommended to take these tests under the guidance of a medical expert.
Laboratory Tests Are Not Required To Diagnose Menopause In Over 45s
Dr Jane Davis explains how the NICE quality standard on menopause is expected to reduce variation in care and improve quality of life;
Read this article to learn more about:;
- diagnosing menopause and premature ovarian insufficiency;
- when to review women taking hormone replacement therapy, and what the review should include;
- providing information to women undergoing medical or surgical treatments that are likely to cause menopause.;
Menopause is defined as: a biological stage in a womans life when she stops menstruating and reaches the end of her natural reproductive life.1 On average, menopause occurs at 51 years of age, but onset is early for approximately 1 in 100 women.1 Women of menopausal age account for a large proportion of the current UK population and approximately 80% of the demographic are employed.2,3 Healthy menopausal women are essential to a healthy society.;
Excellent menopause care is simple and inexpensive to achieve, yet the quality of menopause care varies throughout the UK. Barriers to good care are common and include:
Read Also: How Expensive Is Hormone Replacement Therapy
Home Menopause Testing Kits: Are They Worth It
You may have heard about a kit you can use at home to see if you are in menopause. It tests urine for the presence of FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone.
Fine, but here’s the first potential trap: Levels of FSH in the blood correlate poorly with menopausal symptoms. So, if a blood test that looks for FSH isn’t a reliable marker, neither is the urine test.
As disappointing and surprising as it may seem, many aspects of the menopause process remain a mystery to medical science. The medical definition of menopause is when menstrual periods stop for 12 months as a consequence of the ovaries shutting down. Menopause is not defined by a blood test, or a urine test, or any lab test for that matter.
Women might want to know if their symptoms are a result of menopause, so would FSH testing meet that need? Well, women can have terrible menopause symptoms and yet their FSH level may remain in the “premenopausal” range. Conversely, women without symptoms such as hot flashes may have an FSH level in the “menopausal range.”
For all of these reasons, FSH testing is not suited as a routine test for every woman around the age of menopause. Encouraging women without any menopausal symptoms to check their FSH levels is not doing them any service.
Commonly Asked Questions About Female Hormones
What is the lifelong role of estrogen in female health?
Most people think estrogen is primarily responsible for reproduction, but it also helps with bone, skin and cardiovascular health. In addition, it affects thyroid hormone production. During menopause, estrogen levels decline along with the production of progesterone and testosterone. Hormone replacement therapy , which means replacing lost hormones by re-introducing them into the body, is often suggested to offset the positive benefits of estrogen and can be helpful in reducing common symptoms of menopause. But some studies show that artificial doses of estrogen carry risks and have been linked to cancer, dementia, strokes and arthritis. Never assume that hormone replacement therapy is the right thing to do without consulting your healthcare provider.
What is Puberty? Hormones that control puberty
Puberty is the time in life when children begin to show changes through hormone secretions that indicate they are about to become adults physically. In girls, the most obvious sign of puberty is the onset of menstruation. It can happen anywhere between the ages of 9 17, with a median age of 12. The menses, or monthly cycle, is interrupted during pregnancy and typically ends when the ovaries stop secreting steroid hormones a stage known as menopause.
What are the hormonal milestones in a females life?
What Causes Hot Flashes?
Why do I feel so different during my monthly cycle?
Why dont men have monthly cycles?
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When To Do A Menopause Blood Test
The menopause is a completely natural part of ageing and many women self-diagnose themselves as their periods become irregular.
However, you might like to see a GP or specialist if:
- your symptoms are bad
- your periods become irregular early
Your periods being absent for a year combined with your age are the main clinical indicators of menopause so a blood test wont always be offered But in some cases, you will be offered one for example, if youre under the age of 45. You can also do a finger-prick blood test at home to check if you might be menopausal.
Keep in mind that not all blood tests are diagnostic. Some tests are used to build a picture of whats going on inside your body. Checking in on your female hormones at this point can help do that.
What Are The Treatment Options
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatments of low hormone levels.
For people experiencing menopause, premature menopause, or primary ovarian insufficiency as well as after oophorectomy or chemotherapy estrogen therapy can offer some relief. Estrogen therapy alone is recommended for those who have had a hysterectomy. You can take estrogen in different forms, generally estrogen pills and estrogen patches.
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What Is Perimenopause
Perimenopause has been variously defined, but experts generally agree that it begins with irregular menstrual cycles courtesy of declining ovarian function and ends a year after the last menstrual period.
Perimenopause varies greatly from one woman to the next. The average duration is three to four years, although it can last just a few months or extend as long as a decade. Some women feel buffeted by hot flashes and wiped out by heavy periods; many have no bothersome symptoms. Periods may end more or less abruptly for some, while others may menstruate erratically for years. Fortunately, as knowledge about reproductive aging has grown, so have the options for treating some of its more distressing features.