Menopause represents an integral part of a woman’s life and it normally occurs with aging. It usually starts around 40 years of age, but there are no strict rules about it – some women can start experiencing menopause earlier, some much later.
Generally, many women go through menopause without any serious symptoms or problems, but some have quite a hard time. Let’s go over the menopause stages and find out about possible menopause care and treatment.
How to Recognize Menopause?
Natural menopause usually starts in your 40s and it has three distinct stages:
‘Can you go through menopause twice?’ is one of the questions many women ask their gynecologists, especially if their symptoms last for a very long time. The truth is that women tend to confuse perimenopause with menopause because they manifest in a similar way.
Perimenopause is the period before menopause and it represents the transition phase when your body starts producing less and less estrogen. This phase can last up to ten years before you actually enter menopause which is why you should always consult your gynecologist about the matter. Your gynecologist will diagnose you with menopause only after you’ve gone without your period for 12 consecutive months.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Menopause?
Although there are as many as 34 symptoms of menopause known to doctors, some of them are more common than others, and women report having them when they enter menopause. While in perimenopause, you will probably experience a variety of different symptoms that can go on for a while, but the symptoms of menopause start only after you haven’t had your period for 12 months in a row. The most common ones include:
- Hot Flashes
Hot flashes cause a sudden feeling of warmth to your upper body and face. This can happen several times a day and last for a few minutes or longer in some cases.
- Cold Flashes
As your body recovers from a hot flash, you may experience a cold flash as well. This is when your body starts shivering and you can feel chills and cold feet.
- Night Sweats
You can also start experiencing hot flashes during nighttime and they are then called night sweats. This may significantly affect your ability to sleep and the quality of your sleep making you very tired the next day.
- Emotional Changes
With hormonal changes, you’ll most likely start feeling emotionally different and go through states such as mild depression, mood changes, and irritability.
- Vaginal Changes
Vaginal changes including vaginal discomfort, vaginal dryness, low libido, and discomfort during sex are also common in menopause.
- Sleep Changes
With frequent night sweats, you may start having problems sleeping, and experience insomnia as well.
In addition, some women report having headaches, breast soreness, muscle problems, bloating, and many others. However, it’s important to consult a specialist to diagnose you properly, such as someone from the office of Gentle Gynecology and Obstetrics to make sure you’re dealing with menopause. Our team is skilled in providing their patients with exceptional care and treatment.
How to Deal With the Symptoms?
Learning how to cope with the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can really help you maintain a healthy and happy life. Menopause and diarrhea sometimes go hand in hand, but you should learn how to deal with this without jeopardizing your health. Going through menopause can sometimes be hard, but since it’s a normal part of aging, use some of the tips to alleviate the symptoms.
- Hot Flashes
You can try to reduce the appearance of hot flashes by eliminating common triggers such as spicy food or alcohol. Using a fan whenever you need it and taking some low-dose oral contraceptives can also help keep the hot flashes under control. Finally, once the hot flash starts, make sure to breathe deeply and slowly, as well as to remove any excessive clothes to feel more comfortable.
- Sleep Problems
It’s important that you know how to help yourself sleep better during perimenopause and menopause. Try to avoid large meals, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and cigarettes for a few hours before going to bed. Try not to nap long during the day as you may have problems falling asleep at night. Make sure you sleep in a well-ventilated, dark, and noise-free room to reduce the possibility of hot flashes and sudden waking up.
- Vaginal Dryness
To resolve the problem of vaginal dryness, it’s best to consult your gynecologist who can recommend the appropriate treatment option for you. Using an OTC vaginal moisturizer or a water-based lubricant during sexual intercourse can help you with this problem and reduce the symptoms significantly, but your doctor will advise you accordingly.
Good Sides of Menopause
Although the majority of women find menopause scary, it has some good sides too. The potential advantages of menopause women should be aware of include:
- Unchanged Health State
If you’re devoted to leading a healthy lifestyle, you can continue doing it once you enter menopause as well. Research shows that women’s health is less prone to change once they hit menopause.
- No More Periods!
One of the best things about menopause is that you won’t have to deal with periods every month. If you had painful and heavy periods, you’ll enjoy your period-free phase in life. No more PMS, no more pads and tampons!
- The Wisdom That Comes With Age
It is said that wisdom comes with age and that usually occurs when a woman enters menopause. Some women are known to become more calm, clear, and decisive at this time in their lives.
- No Possibility of Getting Pregnant
Finally, without periods there’s no need to use birth control and no fear of getting pregnant. This is something many women love about complete menopause. You won’t have to worry about not taking the pill but make sure that your gynecologist has diagnosed you with menopause correctly.
Possible Treatment For Menopausal Symptoms
In some cases, doctors may recommend hormonal therapy for women in menopause with the aim of alleviating their symptoms. Hormonal therapy is proven to help with the most common symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, and mood swings, however, it’s not recommended to everyone.
Women undergoing hormonal therapy to reduce menopause symptoms are at a greater risk of heart attack, blood clots, and stroke. Make sure to know the good and bad sides of this approach to menopause treatment before you opt for it. Ask your doctor everything you want to know and gather the necessary information before choosing your treatment.
Even though menopause can sound intimidating, it is a normal phase in every woman’s life. You shouldn’t hesitate to consult your doctor and inform yourself about everything you want to know about menopause. There is no universal formula that can help, but leading a healthy and balanced life can ensure your menopause experience is a positive one. Here at Gentle Gynecology and Obstetrics, we will provide you with excellent care from our board-certified physicians and staff. Book your appointment today.