The Menopause Expert - Rebecca Hulem

Menopause FAQ

Rebecca Hulem, "The Menopause Expert" answers your questions

Q. What is perimenopause and how does that differ from menopause?
A. Perimenopause is the time preceding menopause when physical and emotional changes can begin to occur. Perimenopause literally means around the menopause.
Q. What is the average age of perimenopause?
A. The average age is 48 years old; however the physical and emotional changes of perimenopause can begin to occur as early as the late thirties.
Q. What are the symptoms of perimenopause?
A. The most common symptoms are the following: irregular periods, mood swings, difficulty getting to sleep, decrease energy, fuzzy thinking, heart palpitations and occasional hot flashes.
Q. How do I know if I am in perimenopause or menopause?
A. You are in perimenopause if you are still having any periods of any length or frequency.
Q. Is there a blood test that I can take to determine if I am in menopause?
A. In years past a blood test called the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) was drawn to determine if a woman was in menopause. However, studies and experience have shown that testing the FSH levels in a woman who has not gone one full year without a period, is of no significant value. FSH levels will fluctuate dramatically from one month to the other until periods have stopped.
Q. What is menopause?
A. Menopause is the end of menstruation and the end of childbearing years. You are not considered to have reached menopause until you have gone one full year without any bleeding or spotting.
Q. What is the average age of menopause?
A. In the western world the average age is 51.4 years. Early menopause is defined as any woman who has completely stopped menstruating by the age of 40. Late menopause would be after the age of 55.
Q. What are the symptoms of menopause?
A. The most common symptoms are: absence of menstrual periods, hot flashes, night sweats, difficulty staying asleep, depression, memory changes, decrease libido and vaginal dryness.
Q. How long do menopausal symptoms last?
A. It varies from woman to woman. The majority of symptoms can last anywhere from six months to two years. Some women have complained of experiencing hot flashes occasionally for the rest of their life. This is the minority.
Q. What if I have had a hysterectomy but still have my ovaries. How will I know that I am in menopause?
A. When you start to experience symptoms as described above and you are around the age of 52 years old you are most probably in menopause. Whenever the ovaries stop developing the ovarian hormones of estrogen and progesterone as well as testosterone, this is when symptoms start to show up.
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