Most women expect hot flashes and mood swings, but you can experience many symptoms and problems during menopause, ranging from vaginal dryness and painful sex to weight gain and osteoporosis. At Midwest Women Obstetrician/Gynecologist Ltd in Downers Grove, Illinois, you will find a supportive and caring team of experienced gynecologists who can help you manage your symptoms and stay healthy throughout your post-menopausal years. If you need relief from hot flashes or want to prevent menopause-related problems, call the office or request an appointment online today.
For most women, menopause is a gradual process that begins in the years before they stop menstruating, a time called perimenopause.
During perimenopause, your hormone levels fluctuate, causing changes in your periods. You may randomly miss periods, or they could be lighter, heavier, shorter, or longer.
Menopause begins when your ovaries no longer produce hormones, and you stop having periods. You officially reach menopause when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months.
On average, women reach menopause around 51. However, each woman is different, and you could enter menopause any time in your 40s or 50s.
Hot flashes and night sweats may begin during perimenopause and continue after you enter menopause. Though these symptoms typically improve on their own, they can last seven years or longer.
However, estrogen regulates many body systems. As a result, the loss of estrogen causes other problems and symptoms that don’t improve without treatment, such as:
After menopause, you also have a significantly higher risk of developing chronic health conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
The treatment you need to improve your menopause symptoms depends on the problem and the severity of your symptoms. If you have mild hot flashes and night sweats, your provider may suggest lifestyle approaches that can give you relief when needed.
For example, it often helps to dress in layers (so you can remove clothing when a hot flash strikes), carry a small fan with you, and avoid foods and beverages that often trigger hot flashes.
For menopause symptoms that are moderate, severe, or long-lasting, your provider may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT). As HRT restores normal hormone levels, your symptoms improve. HRT also prevents chronic diseases caused by low estrogen.
Most women can safely use HRT. However, your provider thoroughly reviews your medical history to be sure you don’t have prior experience with conditions such as breast cancer, heart disease, or blood vessel disease that prevent you from taking HRT.
If you need help with menopause, call Midwest Women OB/GYN Ltd or connect online and request an appointment today.