What is menopause?
Menopause signals the end of a woman’s fertility, and you’re said to be in menopause when you’ve not had a period for a minimum of 12 months.
Menopause is triggered when your ovaries start producing fewer of the fertility hormones estrogen and progesterone, leading to changes in your body known as perimenopause.
Most women enter perimenopause at around 50 years of age, although it may happen a few years earlier or later for some women.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
There’s a range of symptoms you could experience when you enter perimenopause:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Reduced libido
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Night sweats
- Dry or sore genitals
- Pain during sex
- Trouble sleeping
You could experience all or just some of these symptoms, and they could be mild or severe. The entire menopausal process typically lasts for around four years.
What treatments are available for menopause?
There are several ways you can help yourself when you notice menopausal symptoms:
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Take regular exercise
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Avoid caffeine and spicy food
- Dress in several light layers
You can also start on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which as the name suggests replaces the estrogen and progesterone that you’re no longer producing. HRT is one of the most effective treatments for menopausal symptoms, but may not be suitable for all women. Your OB/GYN is the best person to advise you on the therapies that will suit you.
Other treatments for specific symptoms of menopause include:
- Antiseizure medication
- Blood pressure drugs
- Vaginal lubricants
You can also try complementary therapies such as acupuncture, or there are natural and herbal preparations you may find useful. Many women also benefit from taking up yoga or meditation to help them relax.
You should consult your OB/GYN before trying any form of treatment. See your provider to discuss the symptoms you’re experiencing so she can prescribe the most appropriate treatments for you as an individual.
If you’ve noticed any signs that you’re entering perimenopause, call Galasso, Hirsch & Russell M.D.s, PC, and make an appointment, or use the online booking facility.