Managing Symptoms Of Menopause
Although every woman's body is different, most women will go through menopause. Women in their late 30s through their early 40s may have a talk with their doctor regarding menopause, but others may not and might not know exactly what this change of life entails. Menopause happens naturally with age, but it can also stem from surgery, treatment of a disease, or an illness.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the stage in a woman's life where she has stopped having menstrual periods for at least 12 months due to the decline in the levels of reproductive hormones.
Although the average age of menopause is 51, menopause can actually happen any time from the 30s to the mid-50s or later.
When Will I Go Through Menopause?
Generally, a woman tends to have menopause at about the same age as her mother did. Certain lifestyle factors may also influence when you go through menopause, including:
- Weight: Women who are underweight tend to have an earlier menopause, while women who are overweight often have a later menopause.
- Smoking: Women who smoke tend to have an earlier menopause.
- Diet: A diet including legumes and fish was found to delay menopause by 1 to 3 years.
Additionally, certain health conditions (for example, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome) may result in you experiencing menopause sooner.
What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause?
Perimenopause is the transitional time around menopause. Menopause is marked by changes in the menstrual cycle, along with other physical and emotional symptoms.
- Weight fluctuations
- Irregular menses
- Breast tenderness
- Changes in hair and/or skin texture
- Feeling hot and cold
- Having difficulty sleeping
I'm Going Through Menopause, But I Don’t Know What To Do
If you think you are going through menopause, talk to your doctor.
Family medicine physician Crystal Hines-Mays, MD, who practices at Franciscan Physician Network Homewood Health Center in Homewood, Illinois, says that it is important for women to discuss their physical and emotional changes with their doctors. Your healthcare provider will perform a thorough history and evaluation, order blood testing and check vitamin levels, which is done to rule out other conditions, such as ovarian failure or a thyroid condition.
Menopause Symptom Relief
Dr. Hines-Mays says to be open to exploring different options to help your menopausal symptoms. Treatment options will be suggested based on what is uncovered during the evaluation, but some of the different options include:
- Hormone therapy - Hormone therapy (or HT) involves the taking a combination of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause and menopause. HT is commonly prescribed in pills, patches and creams. Learn more about types of hormone therapy that may help some address signs of menopause.
- Estrogen therapy - Estrogen therapy (or ET) involves taking estrogen alone, which is no longer being made by the body. ET is often prescribed for women who have had a hysterectomy. Estrogen is prescribed as pills, skin patches, and vaginal creams.
- Non-hormonal treatment - Non-hormonal treatments involves the use of other types of medicines to relieve some of the symptoms associated with menopause, such as mind-body approaches and weight loss
- Estrogen alternatives - The so-called "synthetic estrogens," estrogen alternatives improve symptoms of vaginal atrophy without affecting endometrial cancer risk.
- Alternative therapies - Homeopathy and herbal treatments, often called bioidentical hormones, may offer some relief from some symptoms of menopause.
By Ariel Anderson
Social Media Specialist