The question of whether or not to see a doctor for menopause leads to questions about quality of life. Not every woman experiences menopause the same way. While some studies have shown that 80% of women undergoing menopause reported no decrease in quality of life, menopause research is limited, especially in minority populations.

You should see a doctor if you experience symptoms that disrupt the emotional, physical or mental rhythms of your life. Ask yourself: Do I have trouble moving, sleeping, urinating or working? Am I often tired, foggy or sad? If you suspect menopause has begun, hormone therapy or other menopause management clinical programs might help you feel your best.

What is menopause?

Menopause is the life stage when a woman permanently stops getting her menstrual periods. Typically, women go through this change during their 40s or 50s. Inside the body, the ovaries stop producing eggs, the uterine lining no longer needs to shed and estrogen production decreases. Even if menopause manifests in few physical signs, it does signal the end of a woman’s fertile life stage — and realizing this can cause some women to feel a sense of loss.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Menopause can be physically uncomfortable for many women who experience:

  • Irregular menstruation leading up to the final period
  • Hot flashes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vaginal and/or urinary dysfunction/discomfort
  • Mood swings
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mental fogginess/forgetfulness
  • Depression/irritability

Some of these symptoms can pose a minor disruption in a woman’s life, while others can be debilitating, impacting your ability to maintain successful relationships or function in a job.

When is it time to see a doctor for menopause?

Many women ignore symptoms due to social taboos or even denial. However, you can seek treatment simply by keeping up with routine checkups and speaking with your doctor about risks and concerns. Your doctor will likely advise several preventive screening procedures, such as colonoscopy and mammography, when menopause begins. Hormone loss and aging go hand in hand, and certain cancers and heart disease pose a greater threat the older you get.

It’s imperative you consult a specialist in the event you experience vaginal bleeding after menopause. Doctors may also be able to assist with some of the long-term side effects, such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction and incontinence. Your health, safety and comfort are vital to your quality of life. See a doctor for menopause to help keep that quality high.