Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common age for menopause?
There is no clear cut answer to this question, as with all things in menopause, it's different for every woman. The national average in the US for a woman to cease having periods is 52, but for some women it comes a few years later, for others, it's several years younger. Many start experiencing perimenopause in their 30s.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the term used for the stage leading up to menopause: hormone production is starting to fluctuate and you may be noticing hot flashes and/or other symptoms, but are still having periods.
Is there a test to determine whether or not you are in fact in menopause?
Yes, the FSH blood test will determine whether or not your hormone levels were normal AT THE TIME OF THE BLOOD DRAW. The problem is, during perimenopause the hormones may fluctuate wildly from one day to the next. If your blood test is drawn on a day when your hormone levels are normal, it really isn't a sound indication that they were normal the day before, or that they will be the day after. If you really need to know, ask to have the test done 2 or 3 times over a period of a couple of weeks.
How long does the transitional stage - perimenopause - last?
Again, it's different for all of us. Some women breeze through it and one day realize they haven't had a period for a long time. Others will suffer through 10 years or more of perimenopause symptoms.
What can I do to get through this transitional stage?
There are things you can try to make your transition into menopause go easier. Some women use HRT, hormone replacement therapy, and some prefer alternative methods such as supplements, herbal teas, meditation, exercise etc.
Why can't I get to sleep, or when I do get to sleep, wake up too early?!
Insomnia is a very common part of perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. It's possible that the frequent wakings or difficulties in getting to sleep are due to the body's inability to maintain a consistant temperature due to hormone fluctuations since hot flashes or night sweats are frequently involved.
There are a number of things you might try....... health food stores sell a variety of calming herbal teas that encourage sleep. Also at health food stores, potions such as Calms Forte, Snoozers, Easy Sleep, and Poppy Valarian can be found. Melatonin can also help some get a good night's sleep.
Some suggestions found in the book 'Sleep Right in Five Nights' by James Perl:
No caffiene after noon, no alcohol close to bedtime, regular rising and sleep times, even on weekends, limit naps to no longer than 20 minutes, exercise four or five hours before bedtime, and keep the bedroom for sleeping - no eating or watching tv in bed. If you continue to toss and turn for half an hour, get up, go to another room and read for a few minutes.
What can I do about my swelling ankles, feet and hands?!
Vegetables high in potassium can help regulate body fluids and dramatically reduce water retention. Vegetables such as celery, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, watercress, radishes, dandilion greens, and parsley are good sources of potassium.
Other foods high in potassium are dried apricots, bananas, rice bran and wheat bran, wheat germ, chickpeas, and peaches.
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Some symptoms may also be associated with thyroid, heart disease and other medical conditions and your primary caregiver should be consulted.
The information found on these pages is for informational purposes only and not intended to take the place of professional medical care.
This site was created by Judy Bayliss, originator and owner of the Menopaus Email Support Group
Any questions or comments can be directed to :