Menopause ushers in several classic symptoms as your body changes and adapts to a new normal. However, many of the changes attributed to menopause are actually associated with pre-menopause (also called perimenopause.) This transitional period lasts 4-10 years, during which your production of essential hormones like estrogen and progesterone declines.
Technically, menopause is official once you’ve made it through 12 months without a period. Although menopause symptoms can disrupt your life, we have ways to manage it. Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich explains more in this guide to menopause.
The symptoms of menopause
If you’re going through perimenopause or menopause, it’s similar to being like puberty in reverse. The hormone fluctuations and their effects are unpredictable. Some of the symptoms may include the following:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Decreased libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Increased fatigue
- Sleep disruptions
- Memory lapses
If your health is somewhat out of control, it could be menopause. A visit to Dr. Weyhrich can confirm whether you’ve entered menopause, are in perimenopause, or have other issues that need attention.
How to get through menopause
Especially if your symptoms begin several years before your last period, you probably don’t want to feel like this. The good news is that you don’t have to feel bad just because you’re going through menopause. Here are some treatments that might help.
Clean up your diet
Unfortunately, your body doesn’t bounce back as quickly as it once did. For example, if you eat fast food several times a week, you may find it difficult to keep your weight down. Weight gain — especially around the midsection — is common in menopausal women due to less estrogen.
Be sure to get plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, eat lean meats, consume low-fat dairy products, and lots of whole grains. Lower your intake of simple carbohydrates, like cookies and crackers. In addition, you may want to swap a cup of coffee for water; caffeine may ramp up any irritability you’re already feeling.
Move your body
Yes, menopause is another reminder to exercise. We strongly recommend developing and sticking to an exercise routine because it has many positive effects on your physical and emotional health.
You only need to aim for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. The good news is that any type of activity counts, whether going on an evening walk or playing pickleball.
Consider hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) got a bad rap for many years due to the results of prior studies that are now considered outdated. If you start HRT at a younger age and stop it by age 60 or so, you can often avoid many of the risks, though you can discuss your individual case with Dr. Weyhrich.
In addition, sometimes Dr. Weyhrich prescribes other medications to help alleviate your symptoms, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, a type of antidepressant) and bisphosphonates to keep your bones healthy and strong.
If you believe you’re going through menopause, make an appointment. Contact Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich or request an appointment online.