Postmenopausal Treatment for Female Health
Postmenopausal treatment typically aims to help manage symptoms of menopause. Menopause occurs when a woman’s menstrual cycle comes to an end. It is officially diagnosed when a woman has gone more than a year without having a period. The average age menopause starts in the United States is 51, but it can start as early as a woman’s 40s.
Menopause is a normal part of life, so postmenopausal treatment focuses on helping to manage the symptoms caused by the changes going on in the body. Some of the signs and symptoms of menopause include:
- Low energy
- Sleep problems
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood changes
- Loss of fullness in the breasts
- Dry skin
- Thinning hair
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
Many of these symptoms start during perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause). Irregular periods are one of the leading indicators that a woman is approaching menopause. It is still possible to be pregnant at this stage, so pregnancy tests should be taken if that is a possible reason for missed periods.
How postmenopausal treatment works
Diagnostic tests are often not needed to diagnose menopause since its symptoms are typically enough to determine a woman has started the transition towards menopause. However, tests might be ordered to evaluate the levels of hormones like estrogen, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone.
As mentioned earlier, there is no need to treat menopause, so postmenopausal treatment only addresses the symptoms caused by it. Some of the ways doctors address the changes caused by menopause include:
- Hormone therapy: This is the most effective way to alleviate some of the more unpleasant symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes. It typically involves giving patients low doses of hormones like estrogen and progestin. Increasing a patient’s estrogen levels typically leads to reduced symptoms, and it helps to prevent bone loss. While effective, long-term use of hormone therapy comes with adverse side effects like increased risk of developing breast or cardiovascular cancer.
- Vaginal estrogen: This typically involves a ring, tablet, or cream that is used to reduce vaginal dryness. The cream delivers small doses of estrogen that are absorbed by vaginal tissues. The treatment also helps urinary issues caused by menopause and discomfort during intercourse
- Low dose antidepressants: Medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help with the mood changes associated with menopause and symptoms like hot flashes
- Medications: OBGYNs use a wide range of medications to target the symptoms of menopause. For example, medications that contain gabapentin can be used to alleviate hot flashes
Reducing symptoms of menopause with lifestyle changes
Simple lifestyle changes can make perimenopause and menopause a lot easier. Some of the changes that can be made include:
- Cool down during hot flashes: Women going through menopause should dress in layers so they can take off some clothing items to cool down during hot flashes. Other ways to cool the body down include moving to a cooler room or having a glass of a cold beverage. Many women have things that trigger their hot flashes like certain spices, caffeine, stress, heat, or alcohol. Identifying these triggers can help to avoid these flashes.
- Use over-the-counter (OTC) products to reduce vaginal discomfort during intercourse: OTC water-based lubricants help with the vaginal dryness caused by menopause. Staying sexually active also helps since it increases blood flow to the vagina.
- Get lots of sleep: Getting enough quality sleep becomes even more critical when a woman is going through menopause.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise helps to promote quality sleep, and it leads to the release of endorphins that help to manage the mood swings caused by menopause. Performing Kegel exercises can help to reduce urinary incontinence caused by menopause. This involves contracting the muscles used to control bladder function for 10 seconds at a time. Perform these exercises at least 50 times per day.
- Use relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques can help to manage symptoms of menopause. These include breathing exercises, massages, guided imagery, and paced breathing.
- Consume balanced meals: Aim for balanced meals that give the body all it needs to manage the hormonal changes caused by menopause. Consider taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to help combat any bone loss.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking tobacco products is a risk factor for diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, stroke, and heart disease. It can also increase the intensity of some symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes.
Postmenopausal treatment makes your transition easier
Our OBGYN has years of experience helping women to manage the symptoms of menopause. Give us a call or drop by our Fresno clinic to set up an appointment.
Request an appointment here: https://fresnoobgyn.com or call Camilla L. Marquez, MD at (559) 424-1180 for an appointment in our Fresno office.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Postmenopausal Treatment in Fresno, CA.
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