Ascertaining and Treating Menopause Symptoms and Changes
Menopause, also referred to as ‘the change’, or the climacteric, occurs when your menstrual cycle ceases and you are no longer able to reproduce. This becomes definitive 12 months post your last menstrual period. It occurs as a natural result of aging, when your estrogen gradually decrease to the point that you no longer release eggs. Ages may vary per woman, but on average many enter menopause at age 51. Here are some of the symptoms and changes leading up to menopause, and recommendations on how to address them.
Symptoms Experienced Prior to Cessation
Your menstrual periods may become irregular. You may experience heavier or lighter bleeding, or the duration of your cycle may change. Hot flashes are one of the most common signs you’ve reached “the change.” This is often coupled with night sweats.
Your mood may become erratic, combined with bouts of irritability. Vaginal dryness and lack of interest in sex may occur.
Common Changes and Discomfort
You may experience difficulty in concentrating, hair loss, incontinence, weight gain, and bloating. Some women experience heart palpitations, dizziness, a lapse in memory, and changes in sleeping patterns.
Aches may include breast pain due to fluctuating hormone levels, joint pain, gum issues, osteoporosis, tingling sensations and headaches.
Health Concerns and Treatment
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is effective for the relief of erratic sleep patterns, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, bladder issues, loss of libido, and mental and emotional difficulties. It essentially replaces the hormones your body no longer produces with synthetic ones. You may apply topical creams for vaginal dryness.
If you’ve gained weight and are not already eating healthy, try introducing a healthier eating plan into your regime. This should include a balanced blend of essential fatty acids to boost brain power, whole grains, proteins, lots of water and low carbohydrates.
Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat can be alarming. Always try to keep your cholesterol levels in check, and exercise regularly to help prevent or combat potential heart disease. You may also treat female-pattern hair loss with a FDA-approved topical medication. Rogaine is usually used for the treatment of hair loss. Do have your iron levels checked too, as this may worsen hair loss. If yours are low, trying using an iron supplement.
Genital odor during this phase occurs as a result of decreasing estrogen levels that affect mucous production, which can lead to a bacterial imbalance and cause odor. Urinary leaks associated with menopause may also cause odor. If you have a bacterial infection, try eating foods rich in pro-biotics, or apply a topical cream. Avoid douching, wear quality cotton underwear, and exchange regular soap for intimate-care variations.
Contact Dr. Gibson’s women’s health clinic for all your menopausal concerns.