Most women experience their first menopausal symptoms between the ages of 45 and 55. These symptoms may include hot flashes, irregular menstrual cycles, mood changes, vaginal dryness and discomfort, and reduced sexual desire. While some patients notice minor changes, others will be affected more severely. At Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare in Harrisonburg, VA, we offer several menopause relief treatments.
How Effective Are Menopause Relief Treatments?
The symptoms of menopause can be extremely disruptive. They make the patient feel uncomfortable, affect their personal relationships, and sometimes even prevent them from performing well at work. The most effective treatment is hormone replacement therapy. This addresses the root cause of a person’s menopausal issues and therefore removes virtually all symptoms.
In addition to HRT, we also recommend that women make dietary changes, exercise regularly, avoid substances that make their symptoms worse, tailor their environment to their needs, and use over-the-counter vaginal dryness treatments. Almost everyone experiences significant relief when using these methods to combat the symptoms of menopause.
The primary reason why women experience menopausal symptoms is a drop in hormone levels. One of the most effective treatments is hormone replacement therapy. This reduces the symptoms and allows women to feel like themselves again. It can also prevent osteoporosis, which affects many menopausal patients. Hormone replacement therapy is available in various doses and forms.
Most women take a combination of estrogen and progesterone. They might receive tablets, pellets, vaginal creams, skin patches, or rings. HRT is currently the most effective treatment for people suffering from the symptoms of menopause. There’s no limit to how long patients can use HRT, but most stop taking hormones once their menopausal symptoms pass.
Although HRT can produce excellent results, it isn’t suitable for all women. Some aren’t eligible because they have a health condition, while others prefer to start by treating their symptoms with holistic measures. We always recommend that patients in their 40s and 50s eat a heart-healthy diet because this reduces their chances of contracting conditions related to the circulatory system.
A healthy diet also reduces symptoms like hot flashes and cold sweats, and it prevents patients from gaining a lot of weight. This is a big concern for some because hormonal changes cause a loss of muscle mass and therefore an increase in body fat. Sometimes, foods rich in plant estrogens can be helpful. They include berries, plums, pears, apples, grapes, beans, spinach, soybeans, onion, garlic, and cabbage.
When patients come to the clinic because they are worried about their menopausal symptoms, we almost always ask them about their exercise routine. Exercising regularly keeps the body in good shape, prevents excessive weight gain, and stabilizes the patient’s mood. It also reduces the risk of other diseases like stroke, heart attack, or osteoporosis.
During menopause, it’s best to participate in cardio workouts as well as strength training. If you aren’t used to working out regularly, start slowly. Don’t overwhelm your body by going to the gym five times a week. Instead, begin with one to two hours of exercise a week, and build up from there. Incorporate simple balancing exercises, like standing on one leg, to improve your stability and strengthen the muscles in your legs.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Once you’ve optimized your diet and exercise routines and started HRT, you’ll likely feel much better. However, you might have to make some more lifestyle changes to prevent ongoing menopausal symptoms. Many women have found reducing their alcohol and caffeine consumption and quitting smoking very beneficial. Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol trigger hot flashes and are therefore unsuitable for people experiencing menopause.
If you have persistent symptoms, consider changing your environment. Make sure your room is cool and properly ventilated. Purchase a fan or leave the window open, so there’s a constant breeze. Wear natural fibers that don’t trap sweat. If you have mood swings, consider practicing mindfulness or participating in relaxing activities like tai chi or yoga.
Vaginal Dryness Products
Almost all women experience some changes to the appearance and function of their intimate area. They might develop vaginal dryness, a lower sex drive, and pain during sex. Sometimes, these issues resolve themselves after HRT, but many women require additional help. Fortunately, there are now several excellent products on the market.
Always wear underwear made of natural fibers, and wash your vagina with water only. Many products designed to clean the intimate area contribute to the problems women experience during menopause, so it’s best to avoid them. Use vaginal estrogen to increase lubrication and prevent pain. You can also purchase over-the-counter lubricants or moisturizers.
How Do You Know You’re Suffering from Menopause Symptoms?
It’s usually easy to tell whether your symptoms are related to menopause or not. If your periods are no longer regular and you’re experiencing hot flashes or night sweats, you’re likely perimenopausal or menopausal. However, some women don’t have obvious symptoms right away. They might simply experience mood swings and sexual health changes.
These issues could also indicate other issues or mental health conditions, so it’s important to speak to a professional about your experience. At the clinic, we can analyze your symptoms and let you know whether you’re entering menopause. If so, we’ll help you to adjust your lifestyle and offer you menopause relief in the form of hormone replacement therapy.
How Long Do Menopausal Symptoms Last?
If you’ve only just started suffering from menopausal symptoms, you might wonder how long you have to deal with them. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer because every woman is different. The average patient experiences symptoms for five to seven years, but some women don’t start to feel better for fourteen years.
It’s also worth noting that many symptoms can start years before a woman’s menstrual cycle becomes irregular, and others don’t stop once the woman is perimenopausal. If your symptoms are disrupting your life, don’t hesitate to get treatment.
How To Prepare for Your Appointment
Book a consultation if your symptoms are preventing you from enjoying your hobbies, disrupting your relationships, or making it hard for you to concentrate at work. If you’ve never been to the clinic, gather as much information about your medical history as possible. Bring your medical records, details of the drugs you currently take, and notes about past treatments and operations.
The more info we have, the better we can tailor our treatments to your needs. You might also want to make a note of your symptoms for several weeks. That way, you can tell us exactly how you’ve been feeling and how your life has been affected by your symptoms.
What Happens During the Appointment?
Your initial appointment allows us to get to know you and analyze your symptoms. It might involve a discussion about your health history and how your body’s functions have changed in recent months. We’ll ask you about treatments you’ve tried and how well they worked. Because your lifestyle significantly affects your body’s ability to deal with your menopausal symptoms, we’ll discuss your diet, exercise routine, and habits.
Once we have enough information, we’ll come up with a treatment plan. This might include changing your nutrition, designing a realistic exercise plan, improving your home environment, and administering hormone replacement therapy. We might also recommend several over-the-counter medications you can use to ease your symptoms until you start to feel the effects of HRT.
Treating Related Conditions
Women who are going through menopause are at risk of several health issues. Due to hormonal changes, they are more prone to osteoporosis. This is a weakening of the bones, and it can be dangerous because it often leads to fractures. Some of the best preventative measures are eating a healthy diet and doing weight-bearing exercise. Sometimes, we recommend supplements. HRT can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Menopausal women are also more likely to develop heart disease than younger patients. That’s why addressing weight issues is particularly important at that age. If a patient is overweight, we always recommend that they work with a qualified nutritionist or personal trainer. Unless the woman is already suffering from heart disease, a lifestyle approach is generally enough to reduce their risk.
Get Relief for Your Menopause Symptoms Now
Most women between the ages of 45 and 55 experience hot flashes and night sweats, sexual health issues, mood changes, and an irregular cycle. These menopausal symptoms are normal, but they can feel extremely disruptive. Fortunately, there are some highly effective menopause relief treatments available. Give us a call at Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare in Harrisonburg, VA to book your initial consultation with our menopause specialists.