According to reports, about 1.3 million people in the US enter menopause every year. A natural and healthy part of aging, menopause marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and reproductive years. Just as the beginning of menstruation is characterized by raging hormones, mood changes, and bodily changes, so too is the end of menstruation.
Let’s talk about what menopause is, the top five tips to cope with menopause, and where you can go in Decatur, Stonecrest, and Stone Mountain for comprehensive OB-GYN care.
Menopause is the period in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycles stop. Specifically, a woman is said to have entered menopause when she has not experienced a menstrual cycle, period, or ovulation in 12 consecutive months. Menopause typically starts around age 52, but this can vary from person to person. During this time, the ovaries stop producing the hormones related to ovulation and fertility, i.e., estrogen and progesterone, resulting in the following symptoms:
These symptoms can vary in intensity from person to person and can even be disruptive to daily life. Fortunately, there are treatment options available.
Menopause is a natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through symptoms like insomnia, hot flashes, and more without help. Your women’s health primary care provider can go through the treatment options available to you and help you make the best treatment plan for your specific symptoms.
Nonhormonal treatment options are great to try before going on hormonal therapies, which tend to have some side effects, and nonhormonal options typically work better for medium to mild cases. These options include
Caffeine and spicy foods can trigger hot flashes, so you may want to limit your intake if you are experiencing frequent hot flashes. Additionally, eating foods with plant estrogens like soybeans, flaxseed, lentils, grains, and beans can help supplement the estrogen your body is no longer making.
Regular exercise is one of the best lifestyle treatments for insomnia, as it helps you sleep through the night. In addition, losing weight can also help decrease hot flashes. Exercise can even help regulate your mood and decrease anxiety, especially calming exercises like yoga.
Mood swings can often be a disruptive part of menopause, so talk to your clinician about low-dose antidepressants to help manage mood swings.
Hormonal therapy to treat menopause symptoms is known as hormone replacement therapy or HRT. Traditional HRT consists of prescription medication that contains synthetic estrogen and progesterone. While traditional HRT can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause, it comes with side effects like bloating, breast tenderness, mood changes, headache, nausea, and vaginal bleeding.
Fortunately, there is a newer kind of hormone therapy for menopause known as bioidentical hormone therapy or BioTE bioidentical pellet therapy. In this type of therapy, the hormones are derived from plant sources like yams or soy – plant hormones that mimic human estrogen and progesterone –and may have fewer or less intense side effects than synthetic hormones. Your clinician can create a custom formulation of bioidentical hormone therapy at a specific strength and dosage to specifically treat and relieve your symptoms.
Sometimes, knowing other people who are going through the same thing you are can be extremely helpful and comforting. Support groups for women in menopause can be helpful
Women’s risk of developing osteoporosis and coronary artery disease increases substantially once they enter menopause, so it is important to engage in a healthy, preventative lifestyle before and during menopause to decrease your chances of developing these diseases.
At Dekalb Women’s Specialists, we have board-certified OB-GYNs, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives experienced in every stage of a woman’s life and health. They are more than happy to treat your menopause symptoms and help you thrive during this transitional time in your life.
We hope to see you soon!