We at New England Women’s Healthcare understand that menopause is a huge milestone in the lives of many women. This time in your life indicates the end of your childbearing years. At this point, your body will stop menstruating, and you will no longer release eggs. The age it begins and the process is different for every woman, but if you notice that you have had no periods for 12 consecutive months, you are likely in the menopausal stage of your life.
This is often a relief for many women who are ready to stop dealing with the monthly hassle of periods, but it also brings along its own set of unfortunate changes in your body. During this time, the estrogen your body creates is severely depleted, leading to less-than-enjoyable symptoms, such as:
Some women experience all of these symptoms as soon as they enter menopause, whereas some don’t have any. Menopause can occur any time after age 30, but it typically won’t start until your mid-50s. If you’ve entered menopause and your symptoms are too much to bear, we have several options that may help you.
One of the first things we’ll review is your overall lifestyle. We may recommend that you abstain from, or at least limit, stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol, which can intensify hot flashes, depression, and insomnia. If you’re a smoker, we’ll recommend that you try to quit as well as recommend exercises and healthy diet options.
Because of your altered hormone levels, stress can have an even bigger impact than it did before you reached menopause. To best manage your stress levels, try not to take on more than you can handle, and reduce your alcohol, cigarette, and caffeine intake. If those things don’t work, you may be able to supplement treatment with meditation, therapy, support groups, and medications.
Part of having a healthy lifestyle is watching your diet and adopting an exercise routine. As your hormones change, it becomes more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. In a study of more than 17,473 postmenopausal women, it was found that those who lost at least 10% of their body weight or at least 10 pounds had a higher chance of eliminating hot flashes and night sweats.
A number of non-hormonal prescription medications have been proven to be effective for treating menopausal symptoms. Gabapentin, a medicine typically prescribed for nerve pain and convulsions, as well as low-dose antidepressants such as Paxil have been successful. Some women may also find herbal supplements to be helpful in managing their symptoms. We can answer any questions you may have about non-hormonal medications and help you to find the one that works best for you.
Hormone therapy treatment is common in menopausal and postmenopausal women. Replacement hormones can be delivered via pills, injections, patches, or even creams depending on your specific needs. Because these can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, and cancer, we’re very careful to prescribe them only as needed. Topical hormones can be applied via a cream directly to the outer vagina or inserted into the vaginal canal to help minimize pain during intercourse from dryness.
If you have entered the menopausal stage of your life and are having trouble managing your symptoms, it’s not too late to start living your best life. Call New England Women’s Healthcare today or contact us online to schedule your consultation with one of our doctors.