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Quiz: Are You in Perimenopause?

  • Deepi Brar
  • Posted March 11, 2013

Perimenopause starts with your first hot flash and lasts until 12 months after your last period. You may already be in it (symptoms can start as early as your 30s). Take this quiz and find out.

1. Which of the following can be a sign that menopause is approaching?

a. Insomnia

b. Decreased sexual desire

c. Thinning hair

d. All of the above

2. Since perimenopause is a natural process, there's no need to see a doctor when symptoms begin. True or false?

True

False

3. Birth-control pills are safe for women in perimenopause. True or false?

True

False

4. Over the last few decades many women have chosen to combat hot flashes and supplement their declining stores of estrogen and progesterone with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, new research suggests that long-term HRT use can result in serious health consequences. Which of the following risks may accompany long-term HRT use?

a. Increased risk of heart disease

b. Increased risk of invasive breast cancer

c. Increased risk of stroke and blood clots

d. Increased risk of Alzheimer's or dementia

e. All of the above

5. Symptoms are sometimes ambiguous. A blood test can help you figure out if you're in perimenopause. True or false?

True

False

6. The age at which you had your first period can help predict when you will reach menopause. True or false?

True

False

Your Results

1. Which of the following can be a sign that menopause is approaching?

The correct answer is: d. All of the above .

Declining estrogen levels can keep you up at night, deflate your libido, and thin your locks. This is also the cause of hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and many other symptoms.

2. Since perimenopause is a natural process, there's no need to see a doctor when symptoms begin. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

Perimenopausal changes are completely normal, but it's a good idea to see a doctor at this point to rule out other causes for your symptoms. Heavy or unexpected bleeding can be a sign of fibroids or uterine cancer; night sweats and a racing heartbeat may signify a thyroid disorder.

3. Birth-control pills are safe for women in perimenopause. True or false?

The correct answer is: True.

Oral contraceptives are a good choice for most nonsmoking women during perimenopause. The Pill can reduce many symptoms of declining estrogen, keep your cycle regular, and above all prevent you from getting pregnant! Even though your fertility is in decline, you should continue using contraception for at least a year after your last period.

4. Over the last few decades many women have chosen to combat hot flashes and supplement their declining stores of estrogen and progesterone with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, new research suggests that long-term HRT use can result in serious health consequences. Which of the following risks may accompany long-term HRT use?

The correct answer is e: All of the above.

While taking estrogen can keep your bones strong, alleviate insomnia, and maybe even keep your skin from drying and thinning, taking supplemental estrogen and progesterone has recently been found to cause increased health risks for women. In 2002, a long-term study of the effects of HRT was halted after the serious risks to participants' health was judged to outweigh any benefit the information from the study might provide. However researchers did continue an estrogen-only (ERT) study through 2004 and concluded that ERT had no effect on heart disease but did increase participants' chances for stroke. A follow-up study published in 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the risk of heart attacks due to calcium build up in the arteries was significantly lower for women aged 50 to 59 who took estrogen alone. However, estrogen therapy alone is not recommended for women unless they've had a hysterectomy because it increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Talk to your doctor to get a clear picture of your own risk factors and to decide whether HRT is right for you.

5. Symptoms are sometimes ambiguous. A blood test can help you figure out if you're in perimenopause. True or false?

The correct answer is: True.

The most reliable blood test looks for high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is released by the pituitary gland in response to declining estrogen stores. But if you're taking birth-control pills, you'll need to stop temporarily to get accurate results.

6. The age at which you had your first period can help predict when you will reach menopause. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

The only factors known to affect the timing of your menopause are when your mother had hers, if you had cancer treatment as a child (chemotherapy or pelvic radiation), and whether you're a smoker. Smokers generally reach menopause two or three years earlier than nonsmokers.

References

Shumaker SA, et al. Estrogen Plus Progestin and the Incidence of Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment in Postmenopausal Women. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2003;289:2651-2662.

Risks and Benefits of Estrogen Plus Progestin in Healthy Postmenopausal Women - Principal Results From the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial JAMA. 2002;288:321-333 July 17, 2002.

Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer is Linked to Estrogen Replacement Therapy. Office of Communications/ Mass Media Branch/ Building 31, Room 10A19, Bethesda, MD 20892 National Institutes of Health : NCI Press Office (301) 496-6641 July 16, 2002.

National Institutes of Health. NIH Asks Participants in Women's Health Initiative Estrogen-Alone Study to Sop Study Pills, Begin Follow-up Phase. March 2004.

Women's Health Initiative. Questions and Answers About the Estrogen-Alone Study. April 2004.

Mayo Clinic. Perimenopause: Risk Factors. September 2006.

Women's Health Initiative. Estrogen Therapy and Coronary Artery Calcification. June 2007.

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