Miscarriage is a spontaneous abortion of the fetus in a pregnancy. Vaginal bleeding or spotting may be common in the initial pregnancy, but other than that it is considered as a threatened miscarriage. Miscarriage occurs when a pregnancy ends without an obvious cause before the fetus is capable of survival. This is a common complication of pregnancy.

The separation of the fetus and placenta from the uterine wall is the cause of the end of a pregnancy. Some of the causes or reasons that lead to a miscarriage are as follow:

1. Chronic Illness: An abnormality in the mother during the second trimester of pregnancy can result in miscarriage. Chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, lupus, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems can lead to spontaneous abortion.

2. Disease of Internal Organs: Abnormalities or diseases of the internal organs like fibroids, multiple gestations, poor muscle tone of womb and abnormal growth of the placenta can put your system under stress causing the pregnancy to end.

3. Acute Infections: Acute infections and emotional traumas can also result in the pregnancy to end.

4. Abnormal fetus: Most of the miscarriages in the first trimester are caused by abnormalities in the fetus. The genes are responsible for the abnormalities and this risk increases as the woman ages.

5. Apart from these, external factors like alcohol, drugs, caffeine and tobacco can also threaten a pregnancy.

The symptoms of this condition may be the following:

1. Bleeding: One can experience slight spotting or severe bleeding with blood clots.

2. Cramps: Cramps may be accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen. It may occur on one side or on both the sides or only in the middle region. The pain may radiate to the lower back, buttocks and the genitals.

3. Symptoms of pregnancy may end: The usual symptoms and signs of pregnancy like nausea and tenderness in the breast may end with an occurrence of a miscarriage.

One should visit the doctor if she experiences any of the above symptoms or any passing of tissue, weakness, pain while urinating or dizziness. The doctor may perform an examination, tests and an ultrasound.

The treatment for this condition can include some safe natural home remedies. Home remedies can be used to prevent miscarriage and continue a healthy pregnancy. Some of the natural home remedies to prevent ending of pregnancy are as follows:

1. Indian gooseberry juice taken every morning with honey is beneficial to prevent miscarriage.

2. Stop consumption of alcohol, tobacco and stop smoking as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

3. Drinking of raspberry tea everyday in helpful since the raspberry tea helps in strengthening the uterus and shortens labor.

4. Tea with nutmeg is effective for this condition.

5. Asafetida is helpful and is a simple natural home remedy.

6. Decoction of black gram with water is helpful in reducing the fear of miscarriage.

7. Asparagus is beneficial in treating the reproductive problems in women.

8. The diet of a pregnant woman should be healthy and nutritious and she should avoid unhealthy and unhygienic junk food.

9. Ascorbic acid in regulated quantity should be taken to prevent miscarriage.

Follow these natural home remedies to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

About the author:

Source: http://www.sooperarticles.com/health-fitness-articles/women-health-articles/miscarriage-home-remedies-causes-symptoms-393380.html

lupus signs and symptoms in women

24 thoughts on “Lupus Signs And Symptoms In Women

  1. Parker Bailey born 4/1/09 9lb 1o

    Does this sound like a heart attack or something else?
    My mom visited me today and she called 0to tell me she made it home alright but that my step dad is not acting right. He is nauseous, complaining of pain in chest, left arm, left leg, and his eyes are randomly rolling back into his head. What does this sound like to you. He is about 6 ft tall and weighs about 270. No history of heart disease, but his mother died of complications from Liver Disease and his sister and niece both have lupus.

    1. Gabe D

      yes for the most part it does The most common heart attack signs and symptoms are:

      Chest discomfort or pain—uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that can be mild or strong. This discomfort or pain lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
      Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
      Shortness of breath may occur with or before chest discomfort.
      Other signs include nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, lightheadedness or fainting, or breaking out in a cold sweat. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a section of heart muscle becomes blocked. If the flow of blood isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle becomes damaged from lack of oxygen and begins to die.

      Heart attack is a leading killer of both men and women in the United States. But fortunately, today there are excellent treatments for heart attack that can save lives and prevent disabilities. Treatment is most effective when started within 1 hour of the beginning of symptoms. If you think you or someone you’re with is having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 right away.

  2. DarknessBeckons

    Why does everything suddenly taste salty, even water?
    Normally I *love* salt and tend to use it with abandon but for the past week EVERYTHING tastes salty – water, food, sweets, even my lips and the the inside of my mouth. It isn’t an unpleasant taste but it’s very annoying and concerns me as this has never happened before.

    Not taking new medicines and I am drinking plenty of water and not eating salty foods (chips, popcorn, crackers, etc) or adding salt to anything.

    1. Robert W

      I would suspect it has to do with a salty flavor in your saliva, which you notice more when you eat or drink (causing you to salivate). I found this article, which has several possible causes for this, which I’ve copied.

      The exact reason for a salt taste in your mouth can be difficult to pinpoint. It’s rarely a sign of a serious underlying medical concern.

      The salt taste could stem from a change in your saliva composition or in the amount of saliva. For example, if you aren’t drinking adequate fluids you may be mildly dehydrated, causing your saliva to “taste” saltier. Drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol also can contribute to dehydration.

      Chemotherapy, anti-thyroid, and other medications are associated with changes in perception of taste like the one you describe. An infection in the salivary glands could be the source. With an infection, you’d likely have other symptoms such as pain and swelling of the glands.

      Postnasal drip, a symptom of allergies and sinusitis, might alter your sense of taste. You’d also likely be experiencing a runny or stuffy nose.

      A disease of the salivary glands, such as Sjögren’s (SHOW-grins) syndrome, is another possibility. It’s a rare disorder where the immune system attacks healthy tissues. The moisture-secreting glands in the eyes and mouth usually are affected first. One symptom can be a very dry mouth, so dry you would need liquids to help swallow dry foods.

      Sjögren’s syndrome affects about 3 to 4 percent of the population. While anyone could develop this condition, it is most common in women over age 40. Often, people with Sjögren’s syndrome also have other autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis.

      It’s reasonable to ask your dentist or medical doctor about what may be causing the salty taste. Your dentist could spot signs of dehydration or conditions related to changes in the mouth. If the taste is related to medications, or an underlying medical condition, your doctor could help.

      Treatment should be directed at the underlying cause, if it can be determined. In the meantime, drinking more water should help minimize the salty taste.

  3. Fallen Angel

    Is three periods in one month normal?
    As it says on the question… sorry if it’s too much info.
    My periods are not regular.
    They are always heavy and clotty.
    I got them when i was 10 going on 11 i am now 19

    If you need anymore information just ask.


    1. doctor frog

      i think it may have something to do with stress, though it does warrant a visit to the doctor.

      The following information is to be taken a guide only, and NOT TO BE USED TO SELF DIAGNOSE.

      Excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, called menorrhagia, is menstrual bleeding of greater than 5 tablespoons per month. This condition occurs in about 10% of women. The most common pattern of menorrhagia is excessive bleeding that occurs in regular menstrual cycles and with normal ovulation.

      There are several important reasons that menorrhagia should be evaluated by a doctor. First, menorrhagia can cause a woman substantial emotional distress and physical symptoms, such as severe cramping . Second, the blood loss can be so severe that it causes a dangerously lowered blood count (anemia), which can lead to medical complications and symptoms such as dizziness and fainting. Third, there can be dangerous causes of menorrhagia that require more urgent treatment.

      Benign (noncancerous) causes of menorrhagia include:
      uterine fibroids (benign tumors of smooth muscle tissue),

      endometrial polyps (tiny benign growths that protrude into the womb),


      intrauterine devices (IUD’s),

      underactive thyroid function (hypothyroidism),

      an autoimmune disorder called systemic lupus erythematosus ,

      blood clotting disorders such as inherited bleeding disorders, and

      certain medications, especially those that interfere with blood clotting.

      Though not common, menorrhagia can be a sign of endometrial cancer. A potentially precancerous condition known as endometrial hyperplasia can also result in abnormal vaginal bleeding. This situation is more frequent in women who are over the age of 40.

      Although there are many causes of menorrhagia, in most women, the specific cause of menorrhagia is not found even after a full medical evaluation. These women are said to have dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Although no specific cause of the abnormal vaginal bleeding is found in women with dysfunctional uterine bleeding, there are treatments available to reduce the severity of the condition.

      Irregular vaginal bleeding; menstrual periods that are too frequent (polymenorrhea)

      Menstrual periods that are abnormally frequent (polymenorrhea) can be caused by certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (such as chlamydia or gonorrhea) that cause inflammation in the uterus. This condition is called pelvic inflammatory disease. Endometriosis is a condition of unknown cause that can lead to pelvic pain and polymenorrhea. Sometimes, the cause of polymenorrhea is unclear, in which case the woman is said to have dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

      Menstrual periods at irregular intervals (metrorrhagia)

      Irregular menstrual periods (metrorrhagia) can be due to benign growths in the cervix, such as cervical polyps. The cause of these growths is usually not known. Metrorrhagia can also be caused by infections of the uterus (endometritis) and use of birth control pills (oral contraceptives). Sometimes after an evaluation, a woman’s doctor might determine that her metrorrhagia does not have an identifiable cause and that further evaluation is not necessary at that time.

      Perimenopause is the time period approaching the menopausal transition. It is often characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, including menstrual periods at irregular intervals and variations in the amount of blood flow. Menstrual irregularities may precede the onset of true menopause (defined as the absence of periods for one year) by several years.

      Decreased amount or duration of menstrual flow (hypomenorrhea)

      An overactive thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or certain kidney diseases can both cause hypomenorrhea. Oral contraceptive pills can also cause hypomenorrhea. It is important for women to know that lighter, shorter, or even absent menstrual periods as a result of taking oral contraceptive pills does not indicate that the contraceptive effect of the oral contraceptive pills is inadequate. In fact, many women appreciate this “side effect” of oral contraceptives.

      Bleeding between menstrual periods (intermenstrual bleeding)

      Women who are ovulating normally can experience light bleeding (sometimes referred to as “spotting”) between menstrual periods. Hormonal birth control methods (oral contraceptive pills or patches) as well as IUD use for contraception may sometimes lead to light bleeding between periods. Psychological stress, certain medications such as anticoagulant drugs, and fluctuations in hormone levels may all be causes of light bleeding between periods. Other conditions that cause abnormal menstrual bleeding, or bleeding in women who are not ovulating regularly (see below) can also be the cause of intermenstrual bleeding.
      Thanks for Yahooing!
      Dr. Frog
      WOW 35 misspellings, thats got to be a record!! someone should update the Yahoo dictionary!

  4. Ethan

    Is it normal to feel cold in 70 degrees?
    It is 70 degrees outside and my freind is cold. She is bundled up in a long sleeved shirt, a scarf, and a jacket and still shivering. Is this normal?


      absolutely not normal 70’s are “perfect”. theirs no reason why she should be cold (well not a normal reason) ok it could be a number of things. These include but aren’t limited to:Anemia (low blood count, especially common in menstruating women with significant monthly blood loss);
      Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar);
      Age (the very young or elderly may have more difficulty with body temperature regulation); (but i don’t think it’s that lol)
      Exposure to cool or cold environments without proper protection;
      Stress or anxiety;
      Poor health or infections such as the common cold, leukemia, lupus, bladder infection, septicemia (blood infection), hepatitis, Menkes disease, decreased immune function and others;
      Gallstones (chills and sweating, along with pain);
      Medications (potential side effects from narcotic pain relievers, beta interferons, others);
      Anorexia nervosa (poor nutrition, anemia, very low body weight, fatigue);
      Allergic reaction;
      Uncontrolled diabetes;
      B–vitamin complex deficiency (may increase cold sensitivity).

      (feeling cold is one of the symptom)

      Feeling Cold

      Anemia can make you feel cold all the time, even in a warm room.

      What patients said:

      “I notice sometimes I get really cold, I get chills.”

      “Sometimes I get really, really cold. It could be hot, and I’d be cold.”
      Chills can occur with an infection, making you shiver and feel cold even though your body temperature may be normal or even elevated. Chills can happen to anyone and are most common at the start or end of an infection. Chills with a normal or elevated temperature should not be treated with warm clothing or blankets, as this can raise the body temperature to a dangerous level.

      If your body temperature falls below the normal range, even by just a few degrees, you have hypothermia. Hypothermia can be dangerous, especially the farther your body temperature falls. If your temperature falls below 96 degrees, you should seek immediate medical care. You can treat mild or severe hypothermia until help arrives by warming the person slowly with blankets and making sure the person is dry.

      When you are very sensitive to cold weather, you may have cold intolerance. Cold intolerance can be a sign that your body has a hard time warming itself. Common causes of cold intolerance include anorexia, anemia and hypothyroidism. If you find even mildly temperatures difficult to bear, you should contact your health care provider.now i said it’s “absolutely not normal ” but let me clarify in 70 degrees isn’t cold but it’s not hot-now to me 70s you don’t need a coat or jacket. but to have long sleeves scarf and a jacket and still cold! i don’t think it’s normal. hope i help

  5. Sweet_by_Nature

    Why after sex I ALWAYS get a yeast infection?
    I noticed everytime I have sex, with a latex condom I get a yeast infection…I noticed this happens with my present boyfriend and my past boyfriend. I had sex before without a condom and did not get one. I have been tested, so I no that’s not the case. Could I be allergic to the latex condom? Should I try lamb skin instead? and how can I prevent this in the future?
    Help!! Tired of dealing with this issue EVERY time!

    1. Stacy

      Talk to your doctor about this. you probably have chronic yeast meaning that it is not going away completely. sex does tend to aggravate the situation. Also if you are self-diagnosing and using over the counter meds you may not have a yeast infection. Instead you might have a bacterial infection (similar symptoms) and you will need prescription meds to get rid of it. Also if OTC meds aren’t helping the doctor can prescribe stronger yeast medicine. Another thing is that chronic yeast infections can be a symptom of other health problems in women. When I was in my 20s I had chronic yeast for a year and a half. Every month I would go through or 3 courses of yeast meds. I saw 3 doctors that were useless. Finally I found a GYN that told me about yeast being a sign of other things. She was the first to test me for things like diabetes, HIV, lupus, etc. All were negative. What ended up happening was I went off birth control pills and it went away. It turned out that it was a side effect of the pills I was on. see your doctor and talk about it. It is probably something very simple but it’s worth it to clear it up. You don’t want to suffer when you don’t have to. Good luck.

    1. Chas

      Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that act like cushions. They keep tendons and bones from rubbing against each other. Bursae are found in places like the shoulder, hips, knees and ankles. Bursitis occurs when bursae sacs become inflamed. Usually this happens if the bursae or tendon is over-used.

      What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
      Bursitis causes pain and tenderness around the affected bone and tendon. This makes it hard to move this part of the body.

      Sometimes the bursae sacs fill with fluid when inflamed, which causes swelling over the bony part of the body.

      Fever may indicate another problem, such as infection the bursa, joint, or skin.

      Arthritis refers to inflammation of a joint. The inflammation may cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and damage.

      What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?
      Symptoms vary according to the type of arthritis and how severe it is. However, common symptoms include the following:

      • difficulty with weight-bearing activities, such as walking, bending, and moving
      • joint deformity
      • joint pain and swelling
      • joint stiffness, especially in the early morning
      • limping or making other adjustments to protect the affected joint
      • warmth or redness in a joint
      • weakness of the joint

      What are the causes and risks of the condition?
      There are many types of arthritis, with a host of different causes, such as:

      • ankylosing spondylitis, which affects the spine and other joints
      • arthritis caused by mechanical problems, such as a bone fracture or dislocation
      • gout, caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint
      • infectious arthritis, caused by infections such as Staphylococcus, Streptococcus,Lyme disease or gonorrhea
      • osteoarthritis, a degenerative process also known as wear-and-tear or degenerative arthritis
      • pseudogout, caused by an accumulation of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joint
      • psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that is related to and often accompanies a skin condition of the same cause called psoriasis
      • reactive arthritis, which may develop after an infection of the urinary tract, bowel, or other organs
      • rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disorder in which the body makes antibodies to its own tissues
      • lupus, an autoimmune disorder which often includes arthritis and rash and may include heart, lung, kidney, and brain involvement

      Some of the risk factors for arthritis are as follows:

      • aging changes in the bones and joints
      • bodywide infections that affect the joints
      • diabetes
      • genetic or hereditary tendency to arthritis
      • immunodeficiency disorders, such as HIV
      • injury to the joints
      • menopause, which increases a woman’s risk for osteoarthritis
      • overweight or obesity• smoking, which doubles a woman’s risk for RA

  6. clif m

    how to increase the sex drive of a 50 yr old woman with fiber myalgea and lupus with herbs etc?
    50yr old that looks late thirtys but is not much at all maybe once a month on a sex drive now

    1. jennifersuem

      It is called: Fibromyalgia!

      Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS) is a debilitating chronic syndrome (constellation of signs and symptoms) characterized by diffuse and or specific muscle, joint, or bone pain, fatigue, and a wide range of other symptoms.

  7. Goal: -6 by 0209

    I’m very curious about what can cause a miscarriage?
    What if the woman vomits too much?
    What if she gets hit hard in the stomach?
    What if she drinks too much?
    What if she has malnutrition, or doesn’t eat anything for more than a day? More than 2 or 3?
    Can over exercise cause one?

    1. TRE

      What Are the Symptoms?

      * Bleeding which progresses from light to heavy
      * Cramps
      * Abdominal pain
      * Fever
      * Weakness
      * Vomiting
      * Back pain

      Miscarriages are also caused by a variety of other factors, including:

      * Infection.
      * Exposure to environmental and workplace hazards such as high levels of radiation or toxic agents.
      * Hormonal problems.
      * Uterine abnormalities.
      * Incompetent cervix (the cervix begins to widen and open too early, in the middle of pregnancy, without signs of pain or labor).
      * Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs.
      * Disorders of the immune system, including lupus.
      * Severe kidney disease.
      * Congenital heart disease.
      * Diabetes that is not controlled.
      * Thyroid disease.
      * Radiation.
      * Certain medications, such as the acne drug Accutane.
      * Severe malnutrition.

      In addition, women may be at increased risk for miscarriage based on their age. Studies show that the risk of miscarriage is 12% to 15% for women in their 20s and rises to about 25% for women at age 40. The increased incidence of chromosomal abnormalities contributes to the age-related risk of miscarriage.

      Note: there is no proof that stress or physical or sexual activity causes miscarriage.

      Sometimes, treatment of a mother’s illness can improve the chances for a successful pregnancy.

  8. mamacita

    I have a friend who has Lupus, Is their any cure for such disease and what cause it?
    my friend has only learnt about the disease until recent, and we cannot find any help here in my country (Belize) for her.
    She has been swollen from head to toe especially after the birth of her baby.

    1. hello

      First have they checked her for APS? She needs to see a rheumatologist or even a perinatologist as soon as possible. I am worried about her kidneys and clotting. Up to six week post partum Lupus and APS patients are more likely to clot and have problems.

      Although a lupus pregnancy is considered high risk, most women with lupus carry their babies safely to the end of their pregnancy. Women with lupus have a higher rate of miscarriage and premature births compared with the general population. In addition, women who have antiphospholipid antibodies are at a greater risk of miscarriage in the second trimester because of their increased risk of blood clotting in the placenta. Lupus patients with a history of kidney disease have a higher risk of preeclampsia (hypertension with a buildup of excess watery fluid in cells or tissues of the body). Pregnancy counseling and planning before pregnancy are important. Ideally, a woman should have no signs or symptoms of lupus and be taking no medications for at least 6 months before she becomes pregnant.

      Pregnancy counseling and planning before pregnancy are important.

      Some women may experience a mild to moderate flare during or after their pregnancy; others do not. Pregnant women with lupus, especially those taking corticosteroids, also are more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and kidney complications, so regular care and good nutrition during pregnancy are essential. It is also advisable to have access to a neonatal (newborn) intensive care unit at the time of delivery in case the baby requires special medical attention.

    1. ♪♪Knowledge is Power♪♪

      When menopause occurs naturally, it tends to take place anywhere between the ages of forty-eight and fifty-two, but it can occur as early as your late thirties, or as late as your mid-fifties. When menopause occurs before thirty-five, it is technically considered premature menopause, but just as menarche is genetically predetermined, so is menopause. For an average woman with an unremarkable medical history, what she eats or does in terms of activity will not influence the timing of her menopause. Women who have had chemotherapy, though, or have been exposed to high levels of radiation (such as radiation therapy in their pelvic area for cancer treatment) may go into menopause earlier. In any event, the average age of menopause is fifty.

      Other possible causes of early menopause include mumps (in small groups of women, the infection causing the mumps has been known to spread to the ovaries, prematurely shutting them down) and specific autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis (in some of these women, their bodies develop antibodies and attack the ovaries). Smokers also tend to have earlier menopause.

      The Stages of Natural Menopause

      Socially, the word menopause refers to a process, not a precise moment in the life of your menstrual cycle. Medically, the word menopause does indeed refer to one precise moment: the date of your last period. The events preceding and following menopause amount to a huge change for women both physically and socially. Physically, this process has four stages:

      1. Premenopause. Although some doctors may refer to a thirty-two-year-old woman in her childbearing years as premenopausal, this is not really an appropriate label. The term premenopause ideally refers to women on the cusp of menopause. Their periods have just started to get irregular, but they do not yet experience any classic menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or vaginal dryness. A woman in premenopause is usually in her mid-to-late forties. If your doctor tells you that you’re premenopausal, you might want to ask him or her how he or she is using this term.

      2. Perimenopause. This term refers to women who are in the thick of menopause. Their cycles may be wildly erratic, and they are experiencing hot flashes and vaginal dryness. This label is applicable for about four years, covering the first two years prior to the official “last” period to the next two years following the last menstrual period. Women who are perimenopausal will be in the age groups discussed above, averaging about age fifty-one.

      3. Menopause. This refers to your final menstrual period. You will not be able to pinpoint your final period until you’ve been completely free from periods for one year. Then, you count back to the last period you charted, and that date is the date of your menopause. Note: After more than one year of no menstrual periods, any vaginal bleeding is now considered abnormal.

      4. Postmenopause. This term refers to the last third of most women’s lives, ranging from women who have been free of menstrual periods for at least one year to women celebrating their one hundredth birthday. In other words, once you’re past menopause, you’ll be referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life. The terms postmenopausal and perimenopausal are sometimes used interchangeably, but this is technically inaccurate.

      Used in a social context, nobody really bothers to break down menopause as precisely. When you see the word menopausal in a magazine article, you are seeing what’s become acceptable medical slang, referring to women who are premenopausal and perimenopausal, a time frame that includes the actual menopause. When you see postmenopausal in a magazine article, you are seeing another accepted medical slang, which includes women who are in perimenopause and “official” postmenopause.

      “Diagnosing” Premenopause or Perimenopause

      When you begin to notice the signs of menopause, either you’ll suspect the approach of menopause on your own, or your doctor will put two and two together when you report your symptoms. Two very simple tests will accurately determine what’s going on and what stage of menopause you’re in. Your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels will dramatically rise as your ovaries begin to shut down; these levels are easily checked through one blood test. In addition, your vaginal walls will thin, and the cells lining the vagina will not contain as much estrogen. Your doctor will simply take a Pap-like smear from your vaginal walls — simple and painless — and analyze the smear to check for vaginal “atrophy,” the thinning and drying out of your vagina. As I’ll discuss below, you’ll need to keep track of your periods and chart them as they become irregular. Your menstrual pattern will be an added clue to your doctor about whether you are pre- or perimenopausal.

      Recognizing the Signs of Natural Menopause

      In the past, a long list of hysterical symptoms have been attributed to the “change of life,” but medically, there are really just three classic short-term symptoms of menopause: erratic periods, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. All three are caused by a decrease in estrogen. As for the emotional symptoms of menopause, such as irritability, mood swings, melancholy, and so on, they may or may not be directly related to hormone changes. Some women may find that estrogen therapy improves these symptoms, some may not, and some actually have psychiatric illnesses that require appropriate treatment. Decreased levels of estrogen, however, can make you more vulnerable to stress, depression, and anxiety, because estrogen loss affects REM sleep.

      Every woman entering menopause will experience a change in her menstrual cycle. Not all women will experience hot flashes or even notice vaginal changes. This is particularly true if a woman is overweight. Estrogen is stored in fat cells, which is why overweight women also tend to be more at risk for estrogen-dependent cancers. The fat cells convert fat into estrogen, creating a type of estrogen reserve that the body will use during menopause, which can reduce the severity of estrogen loss symptoms. In addition, many women go through menopause without experiencing changes in their moods. The assumption that mood swings always accompany menopause, or that women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) will always experience more severe menopausal symptoms, is an absolute myth. It is believed, however, that women who do suffer from PMS are more likely to experience mood swings.

      Erratic periods

      Every woman will begin to experience an irregular cycle before her last period. Cycles may become longer or shorter with long bouts of amenorrhea. Sometimes she will just stop having her periods, never experiencing an erratic phase in her cycles. Periods may suddenly become light and scanty or heavy and crampy. The impact of suddenly irregular, “wild” cycles can be disturbing because menstrual cycle changes may also signify other problems. It’s imperative to chart your periods and try to sort out your own pattern of “normal” irregular cycles. Bring your chart to your gynecologist to help confirm your suspicions that you are indeed entering menopause. If you’re not entering menopause, you’ll need to isolate the cause of your cycle changes.

      Of course, since you can go into menopause earlier than you might have anticipated, irregular cycles may not always be on your list of suspected causes behind your sudden cycle changes. Is there any way you can more accurately predict when your own menopause might occur? Yes. Although most women can expect their menopause to occur in their fifties, women who go into earlier menopause will usually have a family history of earlier menopause. Periods will generally become erratic approximately two years before the final period. However, some women may experience a longer premenopausal process than others.

      Hot flashes

      Roughly 85 percent of all pre- and perimenopausal women experience “hot flashes.” Hot flashes can begin when periods are either still regular or have just started to become irregular. They usually stop one to two years after your final menstrual period. A hot flash can feel different for each woman. Some women experience a feeling of warmth in their faces and upper bodies; some women experience sweating and chills. Some women feel anxious, tense, dizzy, or nauseous just before the hot flash; some feel tingling in their fingers or heart palpitations just before. Some women will experience their hot flashes during the day; others will experience them at night and may wake up so wet from perspiration that they need to change their bedsheets or nightclothes.

      Nobody really understands what causes a hot flash, but researchers believe it has to do with mixed signals from the hypothalamus, which controls both body temperature and sex hormones. Normally, when the body is too warm, the hypothalamus sends a chemical message to the heart to cool off the body by pumping more blood, causing the blood vessels under the skin to dilate, which makes you perspire. During menopause, however, it’s believed that the hypothalamus gets confused and sends this “cooling off” signal at the wrong times. A hot flash is not the same as being overheated. Although the skin temperature often rises between 4 to 8*F, the internal body temperature drops, creating this odd sensation.

      Why does the hypothalamus get so confused? The answer is decreasing levels of estrogen. We know this because when synthetic estrogen is given to replace natural estrogen in the body, hot flashes disappear. Some researchers believe that a decrease in luteinizing hormone (LH) is also a key factor, and a variety of other hormones that influence body temperature are being looked at as well. Although hot flashes are harmless in terms of health risks, they are disquieting and stressful. Women in the following categories will experience more severe hot flashes than will others:

      Women who are in surgical menopause.
      Women who are thin. When there’s less fat on the body to store estrogen reserves, estrogen loss symptoms are more severe.
      Women who don’t sweat easily. An ability to sweat makes extreme temperatures easier to tolerate. Women who have trouble sweating may experience more severe flashes.
      Just as you must chart your periods when your cycles become irregular, it’s also important to chart your hot flashes. Keep track of when the flashes occur, how long they last, and number their intensity from 1 to 10. This will help you determine a pattern for the flashes and allow you to prepare for them in advance, which will help reduce the stress. Report your hot flashes to your doctor, just as you would any changes in your cycle. Symptoms of hot flashes can also indicate other health problems, such as circulatory problems.

      Short of taking ERT or HRT (see below), the only thing you can do about your hot flashes is to lessen your discomfort by adjusting your lifestyle to cope with the flashes. The more comfortable you are, the less intense your flashes will feel. Once you establish a pattern by charting the flashes, you can do a few things around the time of day your flashes occur. Some suggestions:

      Avoid synthetic clothing, such as polyester, because it traps perspiration.
      If you have night sweats, use only 100 percent cotton bedding.
      Avoid clothing with high necks and long sleeves.
      Dress in layers.
      Keep cold drinks handy.
      If you smoke, cut down or quit. Smoking constricts blood vessels and can intensify and prolong a flash.
      Avoid “trigger” foods such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, and sugar, and avoid eating large meals. Substitute herbal teas for coffee or regular tea.
      Discuss with your doctor the benefits of taking vitamin E supplements. Evidence suggests vitamin E is essential for proper circulation and production of sex hormones.
      Exercise to improve your circulation.
      Reduce your exposure to the sun; sunburn will aggravate your hot flashes because burnt skin cannot regulate heat as effectively. (Sun effects are discussed below.)
      Vaginal changes

      Estrogen loss will also cause vaginal changes. Since the production of estrogen causes the vagina to stay moist and elastic, the loss of estrogen will cause the vagina to become drier, thinner, and less elastic. This may also cause the vagina to shrink slightly in terms of width and length. In addition, the reduction in vaginal secretions causes the vagina to be less acidic. This can put you at risk for more vaginal infections, particularly yeast overgrowth. Again, women who are in surgical menopause and women who are physically thinner tend to have more severe vaginal dryness and repeated yeast infections.

      As a result of these vaginal changes, you’ll notice a change in your sexual activity. Your vagina may take longer to become lubricated, or you may have to depend on lubricants to have comfortable intercourse.

      Estrogen loss can affect other parts of your sex life as well. Your sexual libido may actually increase because testosterone levels can rise when estrogen levels drop. (The general rule is that your levels of testosterone will either stay the same or increase.) However, women who do experience an increase in sexual desire will also be frustrated that their vaginas are not accommodating their needs. First, there is the lubrication problem: More stimulation is required to lubricate the vagina naturally. Second, a decrease in estrogen means that less blood flows to the vagina and clitoris, which means that orgasm may be more difficult to achieve or may not last as long as it normally has in the past. Other changes involve the breasts. Normally, estrogen causes blood to flow into the breasts during arousal, which makes the nipples more erect, sensitive, and responsive. Estrogen loss causes less blood to flow to the breasts, which makes them less sensitive. Finally, since the vagina shrinks as estrogen decreases, it doesn’t expand as much during intercourse, which may make intercourse less comfortable, particularly since the vagina is less lubricated.

  9. The Big Cheese

    Why do women whine and complain so much about their periods?
    It’s just a bit of blood! Is there physical pain something to go with it? It doesn’t seem like a very big deal at all to me.

    1. Mama Bear

      Maybe this is why?:

      PMS includes a vast array of signs and symptoms including:

      Edema, bloating or swelling
      Weight gain
      Abdominal discomfort, pain or cramping
      Hot flashes
      Breast discomfort, pain or swelling
      Migraines, headache pain
      Constipation, bowel problems
      Exacerbation of other medical problems such as arthritis, ulcers, lupus, etc
      Sore throat
      Urinary problems
      Back pain
      Nausea, vomiting or other stomach problems
      Emotional changes
      Depression issues
      Food cravings
      Fatigue, weakness
      Sleep disorders

  10. dede

    How serious is Lupus during pregnancy?
    My daughter had preclampsia with her first pregnancy. She is approximately 9 wks. along and is showing signs of the condition already. Last week her doctor told her that current symptoms she is having all point to the possibility of Lupus. He ran some test, and said depending on the test results may decide to hospitalize her for a few days for further testing and begin a treatment plan. I am terribly worried for my daughter and her unborn baby. Just wondered if anyone out their has experienced somewhat the same, and looking for some feedback. Thank you in advance.

    1. TyrannosaurusBex

      Don’t worry. Lupus rarely affects the baby of a woman who has it, but it isn’t nice at all for the mother. Often women contract Lupus whilst pregnant or after they’ve had a baby, as Lupus is often triggered by this. I once knew a woman who had her Lupus at its very worse after she had her first baby. I’ve known 2 women with it, and the second one was so exhausted she spent most of a year in a wheelchair. But Lupus is rarely fatal nowadays, and it’s not disfiguring. They usually use steroids to treat it. (I’m not talking about illegal drugs, I’m talking about medical drugs that have nothing to do with muscle building). Lupus can range in severity. Your daughter’s baby will be fine.

      I’m not going to guarantee you that everything, including the baby, will be ship-shape and fine and dandy, but it is VERY likely. I know the woman above gave you some bad news about premature or ill babies, but the truth is, the two women I know have had 2 or more babies, all completely normal and healthy. Seriously. Not trying to make you feel better. Have a little faith, dear:) Good luck xxx

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