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Understanding the different stages of menopause can help you make sense of your journey and the road ahead.
Even though it feels like you’re in a constant state of change, there really are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. All material provided by Menopause ChitChat is for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Average Age of Menopause Onset in US for WomenNov 15, 2010Read about the average age of menopause in US women.
Military personnel are specially trained to go days without sleep and still properly operate and make sound decisions.
Even receiving inadequate sleep such as less than seven to eight hours a night for a prolonged period of time can increase a person’s blood pressure, reduce memory and learning capabilities, and decrease motivation and perception.
For decades, scientists tried to understand why the brain, a muscle that never stops working, is impacted from reduced sleep. All of these physical effects are the outcomes of sleep deprivation, but the question is why does the brain need sleep to specifically continue to function at optimum levels?
If a lack of sleep causes the brain to improperly function and impends neurons, then sleep may allow the brain and neurons to repair themselves.
One of the ironies of sleep deprivation is that it can cause a person to perceive themselves as functioning better than they actually are, causing a person to push themselves even further without sleep.
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What is premenstrual syndrome?A week or two before your period starts, you may notice bloating, headaches, mood swings or other physical and emotional changes. Judith Wurtman, PhD, director of the women's health program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
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Hormones are the messengers in the body that travel through the blood stream to start, stop, speed up or slow down your physical and chemical functions and processes across all body systems. HeartDue to estrogen depletion, women are put at an increased risk for cardiovascular issues, such as heart attacks, strokes, or other heart-related problems. Reproductive SystemYour reproductive ability decreases with age due to the loss of ovarian function and estrogen depletion. BonesAfter the age of 30, the creation of new bone cannot keep up with the rate of bone loss in your body. SkinThe body's largest and most visible organ, your skin, undergoes changes during menopause.
Urinary SystemAs with the vagina, estrogen depletion can cause the lining of your urethra to become drier, thinner and less elastic. The changes in your hormones and natural decline in estrogen levels during menopause can significantly affect your health for years to come. As these levels go up and down, it’s not uncommon to experience weight gain, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and mood swings. Research shows that a very small percentage can get a period one to two years after this break. You should consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Depending on age and health, operating with little to no sleep can have a greater impact on infants and teenagers, as they require more sleep for their developing bodies, while the elder feel the need to only sleep a handful of hours.
The average human being can only go about 264 hours, or about 11 days, without sleep and begin to feel the effects after just 24 hours. Early on, scientists began to understand that a lack of sleep negatively impacts emotions, and social functioning. Despite this initial false belief, every human functions best when they have had enough sleep and that depends on the person. It is intended for general information purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. Your ovaries are the source of estrogen and progesterone, the two key hormones that control the reproductive system, including the menstrual cycle and fertility in women. You may experience mood swings, memory loss, problems focusing, irritability, fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, stress, anxiety and depression. The monthly menstrual cycle that you've had since puberty ends with menopause and you're no longer able to conceive.

The estrogen depletion that comes with menopause results in an increased risk for low bone mineral density, osteopenia and osteoporosis. The reduction of estrogen at menopause decreases the water-holding ability and elasticity in the skin, leading to dryness, itching, and an increase in wrinkling and sagging. This can lead to feeling the need to urinate more often, an increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and involuntary leaking of urine (incontinence) when coughing, laughing or lifting heavy objects. This lack of estrogen can cause vaginal atrophy—an inflammation of the vagina as a result of the thinning and shrinking of the tissues, along with a decrease in lubrication.
And since women can still get pregnant during perimenopause, doctors typically suggest the continued use of birth control. However, postmenopausal women are also at an increased risk for several health conditions because of the decreased estrogen levels, including osteoporosis and heart disease. What lies ahead is entirely up to you.  This stage of menopause can open a window to self-discovery. Though menopause occurs around the average age of 50 for most of the US woman, the symptoms of menopause start to occur nearly five to six years before the actual menopause. It has been reported that going more than an entire day without sleep is the equivalent of meeting the legal alcohol blood limit. Everyone has experienced the brunt of a grumpy disposition, or feel as if they have not been able to navigate social situations effectively at times. Maiken Nedergaard, a faculty member in the neurosurgery department at the University of Rochester Medical Center, believes that sleep allows the brain to scrub itself clean of neurotoxic waste that builds up during the day and its daily functions.
Don’t forget that adults usually need seven to nine hours of sleep, teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep, children need 10 to 13, and newborns and toddlers need 12 to 18. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health.
Physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, mixed with cognitive changes, such as irritability and memory loss, can create more opportunities for emotional changes and mood swings, although no research to date shows a direct link to depression due to menopause. In addition to menopause-related estrogen depletion, your age, family history, diet, and lifestyle also play a key role in your heart health. For 5-10 years after menopause, this bone density loss accelerates into a gradual weakening of your bones and can lead to an increase in the risk for fractures and other injuries. Sometimes this thinning and dryness can lead to discomfort during sexual activity and make your vagina more vulnerable to infection. At this stage, you should exercise daily, get the proper nutrition and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Hence the period before and after menopause are divided into four categoriesPre-MenopauseWomen are known to be in their pre-menopause period when they are in their mid-thirties. Going beyond those 24 hours can cause a person to experience extreme mood swings, hallucinations and reduced stress threshold.
These emotions or lack of positive emotions may be because of the decrease of blood in the brain’s frontal lobe. These toxins are flushed out of the body through the liver, and without this system the drudge likely builds up and blocks nerve cells from functioning properly. A few have more severe symptoms that disrupt work or personal relationships, known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the BootsWebMD Site. Some researchers believe that estrogen depletion can affect your memory and may impact one's risk for the development of Alzheimer's disease, but more research is needed. Estrogen appears to help your skin heal faster when wounded and researchers are beginning to study its possible connection to melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer.
Symptoms of PMS: CravingsMany women develop specific cravings when PMS strikes, usually for sweet, starchy foods like chocolate cake.
During menopause, the number of ovarian follicles declines and the ovaries become less responsive to the two other hormones involved in reproduction—Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH). As your ovaries age and release fewer hormones, FSH and LH can no longer perform their usual functions to regulate your estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These inevitable changes in your hormones and natural decline of estrogen levels during menopause can significantly affect your health for years to come.
Straining too much in pre-menopause period may lead to damage of uterus later.PerimenopauseThis is the phase which occurs just before menopause.
Click on the bars next to diagram to discover how estrogen depletion can affect each part of your body.

Symptoms of PMS: AcneAcne is one of the most common signs of PMS, and it doesn't just affect teenagers.
It lasts for only a year or two in some women and extends for more than 10 years in some women. This oily substance may clog the pores, triggering an outbreak -- a visible reminder that your period is on its way.
So check the family history and find out how long your mother had perimenopause.The ovaries slowly stop releasing eggs during this period. Irritability, anger, crying spells, low mood and anxiety may come and go in the days leading up to your period.
The last year of perimenopause is extremely exhausting as many symptoms like vaginal dryness, mood swings and weight gain start to appear. You feel like you are no longer in control of your body.MenopauseMenopause usually occurs at an average age of 50 years to US women. What causes PMS?The exact cause of PMS is not clear, but we do know that levels of oestrogen and progesterone drop during the week before your period. Lot of factors contribute to it like increased caffeine usage, increase in alcohol intake and very little exercisesA woman is said to be in menopause when she has not had any menstrual cycle for nearly a year.
Diagnosing PMS: Symptom trackerTo figure out whether you have PMS, record your symptoms on a tracking form like this one.
Menopause is accompanied by enough side effects ranging from severe mood swings to change in skin texture, vaginal dryness and hot flashes. All these effects occur due to decrease in estrogen and will gradually settle down in a year or two when the woman reaches the post menopause stage.Post MenopauseThe immediate years after the age of menopause are known as post menopause years. You should also seek medical advice promptly if your symptoms are causing problems with your job, personal relationships or other daily activities. This may indicate a more severe form of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Premenstrual dysphoric disorderPremenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) follows the same pattern as PMS, but the symptoms are more disruptive. Women with PMDD may experience panic attacks, crying spells, suicidal thoughts, insomnia or other problems than interfere with daily life. Risk factors for PMDD include a personal or family history of depression, mood disorders or trauma. PMS remedy: Diet rich in B vitaminsThere's evidence that foods rich in B vitamins may help ward off PMS. They found that women who ate foods high in thiamine (pork, Brazil nuts) and riboflavin (eggs, dairy products) were far less likely to develop PMS.
PMS remedy: Complex carbsComplex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, are packed with fibre.
Eating plenty of fibre can keep your blood sugar stable, which may reduce mood swings and food cravings. You may want to try yoga, meditation, massage, writing in a journal or simply talking with friends.
PMS remedy: Over the counter medicinesOver-the-counter pain relievers can ease some of the physical symptoms of PMS, such as breast tenderness, headaches, back pain or cramps. PMS remedy: Hormone treatmentsContraceptive pills prevent ovulation by regulating hormones. The NHS says other hormonal treatments may include GnRH analogues, which are synthetic hormones that create a temporary menopause. PMS remedy: Other medicationsWomen with severe mood swings or PMDD may benefit from antidepressants.
The most commonly used drugs are known as SSRIs; however, other types of antidepressants are often prescribed to treat PMDD. Antidepressants may be taken for 10 to 14 days before each period or throughout the menstrual cycle. PMS remedy: SupplementsThe NHS says there are many supplements used for PMS, but little research to back their effectiveness. Agnus castus has been registered by the MHRA as a traditional herbal medicine for PMS symptoms including mood changes and irritability.

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