Menopause Management 

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What is menopause?

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life that is marked by the end of her menstruation and she is no longer able to become pregnant. The average age of menopause in the USA is 51. Menopause is confirmed when a woman has not had a period for one year, however signs and symptoms of menopause can appear years before your last period. The years before your last period are considered perimenopause. Changes in the hormone levels of progesterone and estrogen are a likely cause of the the symptoms most women experience during perimenopause.

Symptoms of perimenopause

The signs and symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • Irregular periods – may come more or less often
  • Hot flashes – sudden feelings of heat or heavy sweating
  • Night sweats – sweating during the night; hot flashes while sleeping
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vaginal problems – vaginal dryness and thinning of vaginal tissue making sex uncomfortable; yeast infections
  • Urinary problems – incontinence or more frequent bladder infections
  • Mood changes – irritability, more frequent crying, mood swings

How Will I Know I am in Perimenopause?

The changes in hormones during perimenopause and menopause affect all women differently. A physical exam and discussion of your symptoms and medical history are valuable clues that you are in perimenopause. Your doctor can test the amount of hormones in your blood. However, hormones fluctuate during your menstrual cycle, so these tests alone cannot determine that you have gone through menopause or are getting close to it.

Managing Menopause

It is not necessary to treat the symptoms of perimenopause unless they are bothering you. At New River Women’s Health, we can offer simple, natural lifestyle changes that may help with symptoms, and some symptoms will go away on their own. If you’re interested in medical treatments such as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), or Replacement Hormone Therapy, we are happy to discuss the possible risks and benefits.

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