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Commonly Asked Questions About Menopause
Menopause is one of those things women deal with as they get older, and the transition is not always easy. The start of menopause marks when a woman stops having her period and can no longer conceive.
It causes massive hormonal changes in the body and physical symptoms of these changes. The experience is unique for each woman since their symptoms and severity vary. According to the US Office on Women’s Health, the average age menopause starts is 52. It can occur sooner or later based on several factors like a woman’s family history and general health.
Frequently asked questions about menopause
Understanding the changes that take place during menopause makes it easier to make the transition. Here are the answers to some of the questions you might have about menopause:
What are the most common symptoms of menopause?
Menopause starts when a woman’s ovaries stop making the hormone that controls her menstrual cycle, estrogen. A woman officially reaches menopause if she misses her period for 12 consecutive months.
The symptoms and signs associated with menopause typically start to appear years before a woman has her last period. This period is termed perimenopause, and estrogen levels start to fluctuate once it starts. The average woman’s perimenopause lasts about four years.
Some of the more common symptoms associated with menopause include hot flashes, irregular periods, sleep problems, joint aches, night sweats, vaginal dryness, weight gain, and palpitations.
Can I manage hot flashes without medication?
Some women manage their hot flashes by making simple changes like staying well hydrated, keeping a portable fan on them, and dressing in layers. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol can also help since these substances also trigger hot flashes.
Hot flashes can also be managed with some medications used to treat depression and high blood pressure. Some over-the-counter medications can also be used to manage hot flashes, but medical approval should be sought since some of these drugs can have adverse interactions with medications you are already taking.
Does hormone therapy help with menopause?
Hormone therapy can be used to alleviate symptoms of menopause like night sweats and hot flashes. The treatment is typically more effective on women who are going through menopause in their 40s and 50s.
If the patient has already had a hysterectomy, a surgical procedure used to remove the uterus, hormone therapy usually involves using only estrogen. Women who still have their uterus are typically given progesterone and estrogen during hormone therapy. Progesterone helps to protect against uterine cancer.
Does menopause lead to depression and mood changes?
Menopause leads to mood changes that are caused by the hormonal changes going on in the body. These mood changes can often be managed by improving your diet and starting an exercise program. Talk therapy can also help to address the mood changes caused by menopause.
Does menopause limit your sex drive?
Many women who are going through menopause report decreased libido. This is believed to be caused by the various changes that take place in the body, like vaginal dryness (which can make intercourse painful) and lower hormone levels.
Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers can help to make intercourse more pleasurable. Some oral medications can also be used to address the effects of menopause on a woman’s sex drive.
Does menopause lead to osteoporosis?
Some bone loss is perfectly normal for people over 35, regardless of their gender. The bone loss rate significantly increases during menopause since the body produces less estrogen. The bone tissue loss leads to weakened bones and an increased risk of osteoporosis. This increases the risk of bones getting broken or fractured. Women who are menopausal should be monitored closely to stay ahead of bone loss.
Do all women experience the symptoms of menopause?
Some women have no or only a few symptoms as they go through menopause. However, all women should be closely monitored during menopause, regardless of their symptoms.
Menopause is a natural part of life, and a healthy lifestyle helps to reduce its symptoms. Menopausal women should focus on eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise. Taking vitamin D and calcium supplements also helps to minimize bone loss. Resistance exercises like working out with free weights help to strengthen bone tissues and prevent bone loss. Aim to get about 75 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week.
We make menopause a little easier
Menopause is a normal part of a woman’s life, but it comes with symptoms like hot flashes and mood changes. Give us a call or stop by our Fresno clinic to set up an appointment with our OBGYN.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Menopause in Fresno, CA.
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