Menopause may be a natural transition, but that doesn’t mean it’s comfortable or pleasant. For some women, the symptoms associated with menopause are so severe it’s difficult to complete their normal daily activities.
At Apple Hill Gynecology, our staff, led by Marsha Bornt, MD and Donna Lamson, CRNP, MSN, WHNP-BC, understands that the symptoms associated with menopause can be life-disrupting. We’d like our patients to know that there are effective treatments for your symptoms. In this post, we describe some of the symptoms you may have, along with some of the available treatments.
Menopause is actually only one, single day -- the day that is exactly 12 months after your last period. However, perimenopause, the time leading up to that single day, can last for as long as 10 years! It’s during perimenopause that you have symptoms. It’s a time of transition, in the way that puberty is a transition.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Thinning hair
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful intercourse
These are only the most common symptoms; there are other possible symptoms. If you’re approaching the average age of menopause, which is typically 54 years old, and you’re having unusual symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.
Additionally, some of these common symptoms can cascade and cause additional issues. For example, lack of good quality sleep is associated with a host of health problems, and mood swings can have a negative impact on your relationships.
Treatments for menopause symptoms
There are numerous treatments for the symptoms of menopause, ranging from learning techniques like meditation to hormone therapy -- and there are several types of hormone therapy. It’s important to talk to your doctor at Apple Hill Gynecology because some treatments aren’t appropriate for people in some circumstances.
Lifestyle interventions, such as building a regular exercise routine, creating a sleep schedule and practicing good sleep hygiene, and learning relaxation techniques work for some women. Really, it depends on the severity of your symptoms and how they are impacting your life.
Menopausal hormone therapy means taking estrogen, in the lowest possible dose, for the least amount of time necessary. Estrogen has many benefits, such as helping resolve hot flashes and night sweats and helping keep your bones strong. However, if it’s taken for too long it may put your cardiovascular health at risk.
If you have vaginal dryness or pain during intercourse, estrogen can be delivered directly to the problem area with a vaginal ring. This is a low-dose option and may also help with some urinary issues.
Other medications, such as low-dose antidepressants, or a drug originally developed to treat high blood pressure, have been shown to help with hot flashes and may be an option for you, especially if estrogen isn’t a good choice for you.
Every human body is unique in some ways. Your hormone levels, family history, lifestyle and many other factors have some effect on the menopause symptoms you experience. The best way to understand your treatment options is to have a discussion with your doctor about your symptoms. Book your appointment at Apple Hill Gynecology today.