Making It Through Menopause With Information and Support
Using the Web is a good way to learn about menopause. You can read about everything from the common issues to the rarer experiences, as well as things you can do to help yourself.
While menopause is a natural life stage, some women enter the phase earlier than expected, either naturally or as the result of medical or surgical treatments. In this section of the guide, you will find Web sites that explain the physical basis for menopause and why it happens.
- The term “menopause” is often used incorrectly when referring to “perimenopause.” Menopause is actually just the one day that occurs 12 months after a woman’s last menstruation, while perimenopause is the period of time before and after that day. When looking for information, trying both words as a search term should help provide the results you are looking for.
- Try The Cleveland Clinic’s glossary of menopause terms to help you understand some of the more technical sites or research you come across.
For an overview of perimenopause ...
For an overview of menopause ...
Mayo Clinic's Women's Health
portal provides this 10-question quiz to test your knowledge about menopause. The correct answers are explained at the end of the quiz.
The North American Menopause Society
has put together this comprehensive guidebook on menopause. Divided into several chapters, you can click on the topic that interests you, such as “Menopause Basics,” “The Changing Body,” and others.
has an interactive tutorial section includes this slideshow with audio, diagrams, and helpful animations to demonstrate what menopause is, what hormones are changing, and how to treat the effects of this process. The tutorial is also available in text-only format
For reasons menopause may occur early …
The Cleveland Clinic
provides this information sheet on the various health reasons or medical procedures that can cause menopause to come earlier than it would naturally. This page
reviews how chemotherapy can trigger the onset of menopause, what happens after chemotherapy finishes, the importance of birth control during the chemotherapy period, as well as the different signs and symptoms of menopause.
In this section, you will find Web sites that review the signs of menopause, blood tests for hormone levels, and when doctors consider menopause to have occurred.
- Many of the sites listed in the “What are Menopause and Perimenopause?” section of this guide have explanations of the effects of menopause. Those sites may be able to help you determine if what you’re experiencing is indicative of this process; it is advised that you then consult with your doctor to make sure.
For information about menopause or perimenopause symptoms …
34 Menopause Symptoms
is just that: a site devoted to 34 signs and symptoms of menopause. The list is arranged alphabetically; simply click on each symptom to read about it in detail.
has a self-assessment quiz to help you determine if your symptoms are indicative of menopause. Fill in your answers and click “calculate” to find out.
The National Institute on Aging
has a Web site that provides this section on menopause that explains the signs of perimenopause and the health concerns after menopause, and offers links to additional menopause resources. The information here is quite brief but informative and easy-to-understand, and is also available in Spanish.
For the tests used to confirm perimenopause ...
WebMD’s Women’s Health
portal reviews a test called FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and how this may be used to determine if perimenopause has begun.
Lab Tests Online
is a Web site of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. This page describes a blood test for estrogen levels including how and when the test is used.
has a site that briefly explains perimenopause doesn’t need to be diagnosed (as the signs are usually strong enough indicators to let you know you are going through the transition), but reviews how doctors can medically determine if you are nearing menopause.
Many women going through menopause experience signs and symptoms that can be uncomfortable but there are treatments or therapies that may provide relief. In this section, you will find Web sites that describe both medical and alternative or complementary types of treatments.
- Using the Web to gather information about treatments can help you feel more empowered and in control of your healthcare. If you find information on the Web that you find particularly useful, you can always print it out or make note of it to bring with you to your next doctor’s appointment or to discuss with your pharmacist.
For using lifestyle changes to relieve symptoms …
has a page on hot flashes that reviews ways women may find relief from them. Suggestions are made regarding lifestyle and diet changes that could help relieve mild hot flashes, and medications that may help with moderate and severe hot flashes.
The Cleveland Clinic
patient education page, “Menopause: Staying Healthy Through Good Nutrition,” reviews basic dietary guidelines, foods that could reduce menopausal symptoms, and dietary supplements that may be useful as well.
For hormone therapy information …
The Hormone Foundation
provides this table that reviews the pros and cons of different treatments to relieve symptoms of menopause. The Foundation also provides a booklet called “Menopause: Managing Your Body's Changes
”, that reviews the different therapies and treatments. Another PDF document called “Bioidentical Hormones and Menopause
” examines the difference between hormones as pharmaceutical products, approved by the FDA, and custom-made products that are not. Finally, “Hormone Therapy for Menopausal Symptoms
” is another fact sheet that discusses the latest studies, management of symptoms, alternatives to hormone replacement, and questions you should consider asking your doctor.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
has published this 24-page booklet in PDF format, entitled “Facts about Menopausal Hormone Therapy.” This informative booklet provides examples of oral estrogen and estrogen/progestin products, gels, creams, and other hormonal products, as well as hormonal schedules. The booklet also has a section on alternative therapies and dietary supplements, dietary needs for menopausal women, and risk factors for menopause-related health issues.
For herbal supplements ...
The Office of Dietary Supplements
is part of the National Institutes of Health and provides this question-and-answer sheet on the effects of black cohosh (a member of the buttercup family) on the signs and symptoms of menopause. This article discusses clinical studies, how black cohosh works, its effect on hormones, the vagina, and the uterus, and dangers that may be associated with taking black cohosh.
Although menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, health problems can crop up during perimenopause and during postmenopause. Some can be merely unpleasant (sexual side effects or bladder control issues) while others can be life threatening (heart disease and diabetes). In this section, you will find Web sites that review various health issues and what may be done either to prevent them, slow their progress, and/or treat them.
- Some problems that may occur after menopause can be serious, so it’s best to speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have. The Web is a great place to do your initial research so you can learn what questions to ask your doctor and have an easier time understanding the answers.
For information about osteoporosis …
The Hormone Foundation
provides this two-page fact sheet in PDF format that reviews bone loss in women during and after menopause. The authors review who is at risk, screening and testing, and treatment options. The first page offers this information in English and the second in Spanish. They also have a fact sheet, entitled “Osteoporosis and Women's Health
,” that reviews osteoporosis, risk factors, and prevention and treatment.
The American Osteopathic Association
addresses the need for exercise after menopause. The authors review why exercise is important, how it prevents osteoporosis, and offers some exercise examples.
For information about heart disease …
The Cleveland Clinic
reviews the prevalence of heart disease in women, how it's associated with menopause, how you can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, and the benefits and drawbacks of using hormone replacement. Learn why it’s important
for women to get Pap tests even after menopause is complete. The site also addresses the issue of depression
during perimenopause and menopause, sex drive
, and sleep issues
For sexual and other menopause-related issues …
is the American Medical Association's journal, and it provides patient health information pages for the general public. This page reviews some sexual concerns that many women may have after menopause. This information is also available in Spanish
has a patient education sheet for women who have diabetes and are going through menopause. It reviews the similarities of many of the signs and symptoms of menopause and diabetes, and provides suggestions for managing them. Mayo Clinic also provides information on menopause and high blood pressure
, vaginal atrophy
, vaginal dryness
, and weight gain
. Finally, the page on the emotional effects
of menopause reviews what you may do to help reduce emotional fallout from menopause
In this section, there are a few sites that can help you find the latest research findings and current clinical trials.
- Make sure the information you’re getting is current; be mindful of the dates of the articles that you read.
- Much of the research information on topics like menopause is geared toward the healthcare professional. This can sometimes make it difficult for the general public to understand. If you are searching the Web for research and you come across words and terms you don’t understand, try using one of the glossaries that many general patient-oriented sites have, or glossaries such as the one listed in the “What are Menopause and Perimenopause?” section of this guide.
For news ...
has a page of menopause news that is updated frequently with the results of studies. Articles address all aspects of menopause, including its evolutionary role, symptom relief, and its effects. The stories can be read for free.
is a news aggregator with a page dedicated to menopause news. Stories can be accessed for free, and are updated regularly.
Many women can identify with others going through this stage or phase of life, and connecting with others who share your experience might help you cope with the symptoms (or emotional experience) of menopause. In the forums and community sites below you’ll find opportunities to communicate online and ways to look for support.
- Many sites that provide health information also have communities or forums. If you have a favorite health site, see if it has a place for you to connect with other like-minded women.
- Be careful about the information you give online. Anonymity can be great to help you ask questions you might not normally feel comfortable asking, but it also means that you don’t know who is reading the information you put online.
offers personal stories from women about going through menopause. You’ll also find videos, a symptom tracker, and an action plan for menopause.
For forums ...
is a Web site dedicated to women and the subject of menopause that has a "full-service" support center, including these message boards. There is also an ask-the-expert service
, live chats
, and many other features. Sign up for the newsletter or read transcripts of previous guest chats.
is a site designed to provide support for women who are about to go through menopause or are going through it. It is a moderated site, which means that moderators monitor the posts and also post topics to stimulate conversation and debate.
For personal stories ...
offers personal stories from women about going through menopause. Click on "Real Women" along the bottom of the page. You’ll also find videos, a symptom tracker, and an action plan for menopause.
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