Menopause Management in Fort Worth
Menopause is usually a natural, spontaneous event signaled by the permanent ending of menstruation. Women are no longer able to get pregnant because the ovaries no longer release an egg every month. It is confirmed or diagnosed when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months. Menopause is a natural process that every woman will experience but in some cases, symptoms will require treatment.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the stage that occurs several years before a woman reaches menopause. The body begins to make less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. During this time, patients may experience irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, or decreased sex drive. If more than 60 days elapse in between menstruation, this may be a sign that a woman is nearing the end of perimenopause. The most common symptoms of perimenopause is:
When nearing menopause, periods may become irregular in regard to how often it occurs, how long it lasts, and how heavy it is. Certain medications, including birth control, can help make your period more regular during the transition. Women still need contraception until menopause is confirmed.
Menopause typically begins when a woman reaches 51-52 but symptoms can occur up to ten years before. Symptoms may be more pronounced at the beginning of the process and can last up to 14 years. The severity of symptoms and how long they last during menopause varies for each woman. Bio-Identical hormone therapy can help ease these symptoms for women during menopause. Individualization is key in the decision to use hormone therapy. Consideration should be given to the woman’s quality of life priorities as well as her personal risk factors such as age, time since menopause, and her risk of blood clots, heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer.
The most common signs of menopause include:
Hot flashes and Night Sweats
Hot flashes are the most frequent symptom of menopause and can result in a feeling of heat, a flushed face or neck, or sweating. Many women experience night sweats, which are hot flashes that come on during the night, associated with intense sweating, and can make it difficult to sleep. Avoiding certain triggers of hot flashes can help, like stress, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, hot liquids or tight clothing.
Changes in Mood and Memory
The changes in hormones can cause changes in your mood and can worsen existing anxiety or depression. Forgetfulness can stem from this additional stress. Women should contact a doctor if they have been feeling down for an extended period of time or think they are forgetting things too often.
The skin around and in the vagina can become drier during and after menopause because of the drop in estrogen levels, which can cause sex to be painful.
Decreased sex drive (libido) is typically due to a drop in estrogen and/or testosterone levels. The constant exposure to herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals are causing earlier declines in hormones than in the past. Taking anti-depressants can also contribute to this problem. Hormone replacement therapy is the best treatment for this issue and we can help!
What is Postmenopause?
Postmenopause is the period after menopause when a woman hasn’t had her period for 12 months. The symptoms related to menopause gradually improve over many years for most women. However, because of the lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of certain health problems, including osteoporosis and heart disease. It’s important to continue to see your OBGYN for routine exams and tests even after menopause.
Stay on top of your health during the transition into menopause, and discuss any symptoms you begin to experience with a local gynecologist, such as Dr. Quist.