Menopause is a normal stage in every woman’s life when her monthly period comes to a stop. This happens when a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs, therefore making her unlikely to go through pregnancy.
Typically, this occurs at age 46 to 53, but it is also normal to start this chapter of your life a few years early — everyone’s body is different. Perimenopause is the stage of transition before menopause begins.
A woman going through menopause may experience symptoms as she goes through the motions of this new chapter of her life. They include but are not limited to:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Trouble sleeping
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Loss of hair
- Trouble focusing
A woman can go about managing her symptoms in two main ways: hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) or nonhormonal therapy. HRT is a common treatment plan that contains female hormones, which ultimately replaces estrogen that a woman stops making during menopause. HRT has also been shown to prevent bone loss and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women.
However, it’s important to know, like most medicines there are risks. HRT comes with the increased risk of breast swelling, blood clots, stroke and heart disease with prolonged use. When considering HRT, the patient’s age and medical history are taken into account to decrease the chances for these unfavorable outcomes.
Non Hormonal Therapy works in a different way. Lifestyle changes, whether that’s exercising more, eating a more well balanced diet, getting at least eight hours of sleep or practicing yoga can be beneficial. Supplements, such as Black Cohosh or Estrovera, are proven to decrease the symptoms of menopause. And finally, certain antidepressants such as Paxil can help alleviate hot flashes.
When to Ask for Help
More often than not, women don’t seek advice when it comes to menopause. If you’re experiencing symptoms, bring it up at your annual OB GYN appointment. Talking to your doctor may lead to treatments that can find relief — the awkwardness doesn’t exist, your doctors and nurses have seen it all — trust us.
During your visit, your healthcare professional will ask you questions about your lifestyle to better understand how menopause is affecting your overall life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with menopause, book an appointment and visit Adriatica Women’s Health at our McKinney or Prosper, TX offices.