Many women find dealing with their menstrual cycle to be challenging, and you might be one of them. You might even look forward to the end of your periods, which is a time called menopause. However, menopause also has its challenges.
In this blog, Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, explains what you can expect from menopause and how you can adjust to the changes.
What is menopause?
Menopause technically refers to the time when it has been 12 months or more since you’ve had your last period, at which point you can’t get pregnant anymore. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51, although it can happen at any point in your 40s or 50s.
However, the discomforts associated with what most people call menopause actually includes perimenopause, too. Perimenopause refers to a period of time that leads up to your last period. This period of time can last up to 10 years, although the average time is 3-4 years.
What are the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause?
The symptoms women experience as a result of menopause and perimenopause are caused by a natural loss of estrogen. Symptoms can include any of the following:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Disrupted sleep or insomnia
- Mood changes
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Loss of sex drive
- Dry skin
- Thinning hair
- Loss of breast fullness
Although these symptoms can be very uncomfortable, there are things you can do to deal with them.
How to cope with menopause symptoms
Coping with the changes brought on by menopause can be difficult, especially because the symptoms related to the loss of estrogen can be significant. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for menopause, there are a number of options that may be able to help you get relief.
Lifestyle changes may help you a great deal in managing your symptoms. For example, reducing your intake of sugars and processed carbs as well as increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables may help you lose weight, get better sleep, and reduce hot flashes.
Finding the right exercise is also important. The best type of exercise is the one you can stick with, so it’s best to choose activities you enjoy. Bone loss can accelerate after menopause and increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, so try to engage in exercises that will strengthen your bones.
These can include everything from lifting weights to yoga to tai chi. Exercising in water is often helpful, since water can both cool you off and provide natural resistance to help you build muscles and strengthen your bones.
Hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy replaces the hormones you're deficient in. This, in turn, can help eliminate the symptoms that are caused by your hormone deficiency. If you’re a candidate, Dr. Weyhrich can help you choose the most appropriate methods for hormone replacement.
Other things to keep in mind
During this time, you’ll also need to see Dr. Weyhrich for regular screenings. By seeing Dr. Weyhrich regularly, you can catch issues early, should any develop. For example, osteoporosis and heart disease are two common conditions that many women develop due to the loss of estrogen. Dr. Weyhrich can monitor these and any other potential or developing issues.
And, you should call the office if you experience anything that doesn’t seem right, such as vaginal bleeding, which shouldn’t occur after your periods have stopped.
If you’re in menopause and want guidance, or if you’re facing menopause and want more information on how you can live well during this time, Dr. Weyhrich can help. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with the office of Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, today.