First, the basics: menopause is a natural, biological process that begins when there are less than 10,000 eggs left in the ovaries. It is defined as twelve months after a women’s last menstrual period. The average age in which a woman begins menopause in the United States is fifty-one, but women can begin menopause at any time during their forties or fifties. The age of onset of menopause is genetically determined but can be brought on by surgical removal of the ovaries, or by chemotherapy.
Menopause can be a difficult transition for women, and encompasses both psychological and physical changes. Women struggle with the fact that once they have reached menopause, they are no longer able to conceive with their own eggs. This can be a difficult transition for anyone to face. Many women have increased PMS prior to the cessation of their cycles. Physical symptoms, can be mild or severe, and can potentially disrupt daily life.
In the time leading up to menopause, women can experience the following symptoms:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Hair loss, hair thinning
- Dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness; tenderness
- Loss of libido
If you are a woman in her forties or fifties and you are experiencing these symptoms, it is likely that you are either menopausal, or pre-menopausal. At PGOMG, we are leaders of Bay Area Menopause Management and we know the pain and discomfort the symptoms listed above can cause women who are just trying to cope with their daily routine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please contact your PGOMG care provider. We offer education and treatment and care options for menopausal and pre-menopausal women, including:
Holistic treatment plans
Biofeedback, nutritional consults, and screening for other organic changes in physiology.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy, also known as or hormone therapy or estrogen therapy is a highly effective form of treatment for many symptoms of menopause. This form of treatment works to replace diminished hormone levels, thus treating of hot flashes, night sweats, sleep difficulty, and vaginal dryness. If you are interested in hormone replacement therapy, please contact your PGOMG provider to start discussing your options.
Bio-identical hormones are made from plant chemicals and are custom-made for each patient based on tests that determine their individual hormonal needs. In fact, that’s what the term “Biodentical” means, that the hormones are catered the needs of a specific person. If you are interested in using Biodentical hormones as a means of managing menopausal symptoms, contact your PGOMG provider. Out specialists will be happy to discuss this treatment option with you.
Menopause can be an uneasy topic of discussion for some, but it shouldn’t be. Menopause is a completely natural stage in a woman’s life and symptoms can be explained, treated and managed effectively. There are many different ways to navigate this transition. We encourage our patients to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan that is a good fit for you, the individual.
In the meantime, here are some tips for avoiding and easing the discomfort of hot flashes:
- Dress in layers
- Avoid spicy foods, alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine
- Have a fan near you at home/work
- Place cold packs under your pillow at night
- Exercise regularly
- Drink plenty of water
- Be patient and mindful