What are Menopause and Perimenopause?

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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.

What are Menopause and Perimenopause?

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.

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  • 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.

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For an overview of perimenopause ...
For an overview of menopause ...
For reasons menopause may occur early …
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Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms

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.

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  • 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.

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For information about menopause or perimenopause symptoms …
For the tests used to confirm perimenopause ...
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Menopause Symptom Relief

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.

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  • 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.

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For using lifestyle changes to relieve symptoms …
For hormone therapy information …
For herbal supplements ...
For clinical trials ...
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Effects of Menopause

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.

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  • 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.

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For information about osteoporosis …
For information about heart disease … 
For sexual and other menopause-related issues …
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Menopause Research and News

In this section, there are a few sites that can help you find the latest research findings and current clinical trials.

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  • 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.

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Menopause Support

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.

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  • 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.

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For forums ...
For personal stories ...
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