MENOPAUSE Q & A
What is menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when she stops menstruating due to age-related hormonal changes, and not due to an underlying medical conditions. Typically, menopause occurs during the early to mid 50s, although it can occur earlier or later in some women. Although the term “menopause” is used to described the changes that occur leading up the end of a woman's periods, that time is more correctly referred to as perimenopause, and it usually begins during the mid to late 40s. During perimenopause, the production of sex hormones begins to decline. When a woman has had 12 consecutive months with no periods, she is said to be in menopause.
What symptoms are associated with perimenopause?
Perimenopause can cause an array of symptoms that can vary in intensity from one woman to the next. The most common symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Trouble sleeping
- Irritability, depression or mood “swings”
- Vaginal dryness
- Thinning hair or hair loss
- Irregular periods, including missed periods, heavy bleeding or spotting between periods
Some women can experience all or nearly all these symptoms, while others will have very few symptoms prior to entering menopause.
Are there treatments for perimenopause?
Although perimenopause and menopause are part of a natural progression for all women, there are treatments that can help address symptoms and reduce some of the health risks associated with perimenopause and menopause, including special creams to reduce vaginal dryness and make intercourse more comfortable, treatments to reduce hot flashes and night sweats, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to address multiple issues, including some health risks associated with perimenopause and menopause. Today's hormone therapy uses bioidentical hormones which have far fewer risks than synthetic hormones that once formed the cornerstone of hormone therapy. During your office visit, you'll learn about the risks and benefits of HRT so you can decide if it's a good option for your needs.
*Individual results may vary