Menopause Q & A
What is menopause?
A complex interplay of hormones control your reproductive system, from puberty and menstruation through pregnancy and beyond. Because every woman is born with a finite number of eggs, your reproductive cycle repeats until the process of monthly egg release ends, triggering the transitional phase known as menopause.
Menopause usually occurs when your egg supply runs out, which usually happens in your 40s or 50s.
However, some women enter menopause earlier, due to surgery or damage to the ovaries. Hysterectomy and chemotherapy are prime examples.
What’s the natural pacing of menopause?
Natural menopause begins with a perimenopause phase in which your ovaries reduce estrogen production at a quickening pace. This process can occur in your early to mid-40s. Menopause symptoms can begin in the later stages of perimenopause.
Once you’ve gone a full year without a period, menopause has officially begun. Symptoms are usually at their worst at this stage. No more eggs are released, and very little estrogen is produced.
After a few years of menopause, most women enter the postmenopausal stage. Symptoms ease, but your risk of health problems associated with low estrogen increases.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
No two women share the exact same experience of menopause. If you notice several of the following changes, it might be time to schedule an appointment with Unified Premier Women’s Care to discuss treatment options.
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Changes in sex drive
- Hot flashes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty with bladder control
You know your body better than anyone, and you know when there are variations from your normal daily life. Don’t ignore menopause symptoms when there are treatments that can help you weather this time of transition with ease.
What menopause treatments are available?
Hormone therapy is one of the most common treatments for menopause. Estrogen supplementation can relieve hot flashes and other symptoms, and also helps prevent bone loss. There are several ways to receive hormone therapy, including:
- Vaginal rings
- Subdermal pellets
Other prescription medications can address hot flashes, hypertension, sleep disruptions, mood swings, and additional menopause symptoms.
What about alternative medicine therapies?
Some women find relief through alternative approaches, which can be especially helpful for those who cannot tolerate hormonal therapy. Alternative menopause treatment options include:
- Plant estrogens
- Black cohosh
If you’re interested in exploring alternative treatments, be sure to discuss your plans with your gynecologist at Unified Premier Women’s Care to avoid negative interactions with your existing medications or treatment efforts.
If you’re ready to find relief from troubling menopause symptoms, request an appointment today.