Menopause Q & A
What is menopause?
Menopause is the stage in a woman’s life when she stops menstruating. You may reach menopause in your 40s or 50s, but the average age of menopause for women in the United States is 51.
Menopause occurs because your ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, which are the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle. Without estrogen and progesterone, ovulation (when your ovaries release an egg) stops.
However, the production of estrogen in your ovaries slows down in the years leading up to menopause. During this transitional period, known as perimenopause, your hormone levels may go up and down.
These hormonal changes may cause irregularities in your menstrual cycle. Your period may skip a month or two, or your menstrual flow may be lighter or heavier than normal. These changes in your menstrual cycle may be early signs that you’re approaching menopause.
What can I expect during menopause?
The change in hormone levels that occur with menopause affect your physical and emotional well-being. These hormonal changes may cause:
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. During a hot flash, a sudden feeling of heat rushes through your upper body and face, your skin may redden, and you may break out in a sweat.
Hot flashes also cause night sweats, which may affect your ability to get restful sleep.
Estrogen loss affects the vagina, causing the tissue to become thin and dry. These vaginal changes may cause pain and discomfort during sex and may make you more prone to infections.
Menopause affects your emotional well-being. The sudden change in hormone levels may make you feel more nervous, irritable, and tired.
Changes in bone health
Bone loss is a normal part of the aging process. However, the rate of bone loss increases in women once they reach menopause because of the decrease in estrogen production.
The vaginal changes that occur with menopause may affect your libido. However, regular sex may improve vaginal health and elasticity.
What are the treatments for menopause?
Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology offers many treatments to help you manage life with menopause. Treatment options include:
- Hormone replacement therapy to manage symptoms
- Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS) for bone health
- Calcitonin or bisphosphonates for bone health
- Good nutrition
- Radiofrequency vaginal revitalization
Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology has a hormone replacement therapy expert on staff, Cheri Monteith, WHNP-BC, who can talk to you about your options and help you decide how to manage your menopause symptoms.
Don’t let the physical changes that occur with menopause keep you from living your life. Call Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology at (541) 205-6890, or request your menopause consultation online today.