MENOPAUSE AND PERIMENOPAUSE
Am I going into Menopause?
Are you wondering if you are transitioning into menopause? It can be hard to know.
- A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a menstrual period for at least 12 months.
- During this time fertility decreases, and periods often change in duration, frequency, and amount of blood flow.
- Perimenopause is often when you start noticing symptoms.
- Menopause is a natural process that takes several years, and can start as early as your 30's.
- We can partner with you to make a plan to help this transition in life go as smoothly as possible.
Symptoms of Menopause
The symptoms of menopause can vary, with some women experiencing no symptoms at all. Others experience multiple severe symptoms. The first phase of menopause often begins with irregular periods, and can include the following symptoms:
· Insomnia and sleep quality problems
· Hot flashes
· Night sweats
· Discomfort during intercourse
· Vaginal dryness or itchiness
· Urinary tract infection
· Bladder control issues
· Weight gain
· Thinning hair
· Dry skin
Menopause can also have mental and emotional effects, causing mood swings, depression and irritability. This can leave you feeling helpless and out of control.
Diagnosis of Menopause
Menopause is usually diagnosed based on symptoms. In some cases, blood tests are used to confirm and rule out any underlying conditions. Several tests can be used to get a firm diagnosis.
A follicle-stimulating-hormone (FSH) test measures the level of follicle-stimulating hormone in the blood. If a woman's levels of FSH are rising, menopause is often the most likely cause.
A thyroid-stimulating-hormone (TSH) test measures levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood. An underactive thyroid can cause symptoms similar to those of menopause.
Vaginal pH testing is also used to help diagnose menopause. pH levels increase to about 6 from the reproductive years' average of 4.5.
Treatment of Menopause
Treatment for menopause varies depending on the individual. One treatment is hormone-replacement therapy (HRT), in which medication containing estrogen or progesterone is prescribed to replace the hormones you are lacking. These synthetic forms of hormones are delivered through pills, patches or creams. There are risks associated with HRT, including heart disease, stroke and breast cancer. Risks may vary depending on a woman's health history and lifestyle.
Women suffering from depression or mood changes due to menopause may benefit from taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Low-dose vaginal estrogen, which is available in a pill or cream form, can be prescribed to help reduce dryness. Medication is also available to treat the osteoporosis often caused by menopause. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle can help you experience less discomfort during menopause. Essential oils have also been proven to help ease some menopause symptoms.