As women age, their reproductive cycle and hormone production slow down, setting the stage for a process called menopause. Your hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone slowly reduce during your 30s and 40s, setting the stage for perimenopause. During this time you experience fewer and fewer periods until they stop entirely.
Changes in hormone levels due to perimenopause or menopause often lead to a wide variety of uncomfortable symptoms, but does that mean that dealing with them is inevitable? What options do you have if you get them?
Women in the Las Vegas, Nevada area going through the stages of menopause can find help with the award-winning Dr. Staci McHale and her experienced team at New Beginnings OB-GYN. To answer these questions, let’s examine the signs of menopause, learn whether all women deal with them, and find out how to alleviate symptoms for women who do.
Common menopause symptoms
Women may experience different symptoms due to hormone reduction during menopause. These effects may vary depending on the stage of menopause, but often include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Urinary urgency
- Mood swings
- Dry skin
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
In perimenopause, you may experience irregular, heavier, or lighter periods. The loss of hormones may also lead to hair thinning, joint and muscle pain, changes in your sex drive, memory lapses, loss in bone density, and weight gain.
Do all women have symptoms during menopause?
Contrary to popular belief, not all women will deal with the unpleasant symptoms of menopause. Some women experience little to no changes as they transition out of their reproductive years. Everyone experiences the transition differently, and while some women deal with symptoms suddenly, they are more likely to happen gradually.
The aforementioned symptoms are common, but not guaranteed to occur. And when you start experiencing them, there are options to reduce their effects as you go through menopause.
Methods to alleviate symptoms
There are highly effective ways to relieve menopause symptoms, including:
Estrogen therapy can help you manage hot flashes, bone loss, and other symptoms by increasing your estrogen levels. To reduce the risks of possible complications (such as cardiovascular disease and breast cancer), we generally recommend a regimen with the lowest dose for the shortest period of time possible.
Vaginal estrogen is frequently prescribed in creams, tablets, or rings that can be used directly in the vaginal area. These forms of estrogen can help to relieve vaginal dryness and reduce urinary problems associated with menopause.
Various medications can help with different menopause issues. Low-dose antidepressants can help with hot flashes and mood swings, gabapentin can reduce hot flashes and night sweats, and several medications are available to reduce bone loss.
Other ways to reduce the effects of menopause include lifestyle changes such as using over-the-counter vaginal lubricants, avoiding foods that can trigger cause hot flashes, exercising regularly, stopping smoking, and reducing drinking. Pelvic floor exercises may help with urinary issues.
Not all women go through the problems commonly associated with menopause, but if you do, help is available to make the process go easier and improve your life. If you’re ready to relieve the symptoms of menopause, make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN today to get started.