What is menopause?What is menopause?
Menopause is a natural process that begins when a woman’s body slowly produces fewer reproductive hormones, which can cause uncomfortable physical changes for some women. This happens to women when their menstrual cycles end. If you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period, you are officially in menopause unless another condition has affected your cycle.
Prior to menopause you may experience early symptoms known as perimenopause where you may have irregular cycles and other symptoms, but you can still get pregnant. Menopause begins for many women in their 40s or 50s, and on average for American women, it occurs around age 51.
What are common symptoms of menopause?
Menopause symptoms differ from woman to woman, but the most common symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Loss of bone density
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Vaginal dryness
- Emotional changes due to decreased estrogen
How can doctors help you deal with menopause symptoms?
It’s understood that menopause can be a difficult time in your life. The practitioners at SWHC are there to help you take charge of your health and meet that challenge with confidence. Your health and comfort are their top priorities. They will listen, not lecture.
Your provider will talk with you to understand your needs and get a sense for the symptoms you’re experiencing. He or she may recommend hormone therapy, diet and exercise changes, or other treatments.
They’ll also help you treat or prevent other common health problems that can start to develop during menopause, including:
- Osteoporosis: A decrease in your body’s estrogen levels can cause your body to lose bone mass, making bones weaker and less dense. After diagnosing osteoporosis with a bone density test, the condition can be effectively treated.
- Heart Disease: Women are at a greater risk for heart disease after menopause as a result of hormone changes and other factors. Your care provider can teach you what to look out for and what you can do to keep your heart strong.
How should I prepare for my appointment?
Keep track of your symptoms. It’s recommended that you write down what you’re experiencing and how often. Also, bring a list of any medications and supplements you’re currently taking, and come prepared to ask any questions you might have.Keep track of your symptoms. It’s recommended that you write down what you’re experiencing and how often. Also, bring a list of any medications and supplements you’re currently taking, and come prepared to ask any questions you might have.
Will I need tests?
Often, menopause can be diagnosed without the need for testing, but occasionally tests are needed to rule out other causes for your symptoms. Any needed lab work and many other tests at the SWHC office.