Menopause. . . all women eventually have to go through it, but many suffer silently with the symptoms, or figure there’s nothing they can do about them. In fact, a lot of women won’t ever even bring up the topic to their primary care doctor or their gynecologist. Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release an egg every month, menstruation stops and estrogen and progesterone levels drop, and these drops in hormone levels cause all kinds of changes in a woman’s body. Even though it is a normal part of aging, the symptoms of menopause can be very disruptive to some women’s lives.
Although all women experience menopause in their own unique way, there are a number of symptoms women can end up experiencing during menopause. Here are just a few:
Hot flashes and night sweats: Studies show that about 75% of menopausal women experience hot flashes. Hot flashes are a sudden flush of heat in the face and neck and the upper part of your body. They can cause heavy sweating or can leave you shivering with a cold sweat, and often feel like a fever. They can happen several times in an hour, a few times a day, or once or twice a week. They can be during the day, or interrupt your sleep at night with night sweats. And night sweats can cause chronic sleep deprivation as well.
Insomnia/sleep deprivation: Whether it’s because night sweats wake you up in the middle of the night, or you just have trouble falling asleep or waking too early, one of the issues many women have during menopause is getting enough sleep. And that can be very disruptive in life!
Urination and bladder control: Incontinence or the loss of bladder control can also accompany menopause. You may have a sudden urge to urinate or have problems with leakage during exercise or when sneezing or laughing.
Sexuality and vaginal health: The loss of hormones quite often leads to vaginal dryness, and a lack of elasticity which in turn can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable. Or the lack of hormones could lead to you feeling less interested in sex. Or, you may find yourself feeling freer and sexier after menopause due to the fact that you no longer have to worry about getting pregnant.
Body changes: Your body just plain changes. Remember what it was like when you hit puberty and your body changed? Well, welcome to menopause, which causes a whole other range of changes. Your skin gets thinner, but your waist get larger. You can lose muscle tone and gain fat. You may feel more achey, have more headaches or have heart palpatations. You may find yourself getting more pimples.
Changes in mood: Hormonal changes often bring about moodiness and irritability. Sudden swings in mood from happy to sad or mad can come about. Remember when you were a sulky teen? Menopause can make you feel that way again.
Bigger Health Concerns
While all of these symptoms listed can be either mildly annoying or truly interrupt your life, we don’t want to step over the fact that loss of hormones can cause larger health issues in the long run as well. Because regardless of how you feel about menopause, the fact is that it increases certain health risks. Hormonal changes in the 12 months following menopause can result in a rise in cholesterol leading to heart disease. A reduction of estrogen can lead to a dramatic decrease in bone density and the onset of osteoporosis in some post-menopausal women. The loss in muscle-tone due to the estrogen decrease can lead to women falling more often and breaking more bones. The hormonal changes can affect vision and weaken the cornea, and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
There are a number of ways to combat the effects of menopause in your life, but you have to be willing to discuss it with your doctor.
Here’s how to prepare to talk to your primary care about it:
- Make a list of your symptoms, describing them clearly and briefly and noting when they started, how they make you feel and what you’ve tried already to alleviate them.
- Make a list of what prescriptions and over the counter drugs, vitamins, herbal remedies and other supplements you may be taking regularly.
- Make notes about your diet, physical exercise regime, smoking, drug or alcohol use and sexual history.
- Include notes about any allergies you have. Note any other treatments you get from other doctors.
- Make a list of questions and concerns you have and don’t be afraid to discuss the sensitive topics, for example, if sexual intercourse has become painful. Because it’s important, and can be addressed in a number of ways.
- Find out about tests, treatment options and medications that can help alleviate your current symptoms or protect you from future long term health issues due the menopause. Ask about side effects, or any other concerns new medications or treatments may have.
At PremierMD Care, we offer a number of innovative treatments for the symptoms of peri-menopause, menopause and to help lower the risks associated with post-menopausal lack of hormones.
One of the primary things we recommend for menopausal women is hormone replacement therapy, and we offer one of the newest methods for it with bioidentical pellet therapy. Pellet hormone replacement therapy is ideal because it is safe, natural and effective. The pellets deliver healthy, consistent levels of hormones for three to six months depending on dosage. Due to the steady hormone levels, users do not see unwanted symptoms or side effects caused by fluctuating levels of hormones. They do not increase blood clot risk like conventional or synthetic HRT methods. It does not carry the same risk of breast cancer as high oral estrogen doses that do not contain enough hormone metabolites or chemical progestins. Research suggests balanced hormones protect breast health. Some of the benefits of this therapy include:
- More energy
- Deeper, more restful sleep
- Improved mood
- Increase in muscle mass and bone density
- Decrease in fatty tissue
- Increase in strength, coordination and physical performance
- Enhancement of concentration and memory
- Improvement of skin tone and hair texture
Another innovative treatment we offer here is ThermiVa, which is a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment option for vaginal rejuvenation. It uses radiofrequency energy to gently heat vaginal tissues, which encourages the production of collagen and elastin fibers. The process can tighten vaginal tissues, reduce urinary incontinence, enhance sexual sensitivity and reduce discomfort during sexual intercourse. Your body literally produces new fibers for better feminine wellness in general.
We look forward to helping you move into your golden years with ease and grace and in the healthiest way possible! Your health and well-being is our biggest priority! Call (239) 500-6363 for an appointment.