Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, marking the end of her childbearing years, but sometimes the symptoms seem anything but natural. When these move beyond a minor nuisance, seeing your women’s health professional at Suburban OB/GYN in St. Louis, Missouri, is the best way to move past your symptoms and back to enjoying life. Call the office or book your appointment online today.
Defined by time, it’s the point 12 months after your last menstrual cycle. Your ovaries no longer release eggs and the production of estrogen starts to slow. This creates changes in your body, the effects of which vary widely between women. While some have very few or comparatively mild symptoms, other women may experience heavy and disruptive changes, requiring treatment to keep life liveable.
While menopause occurs for most women in their 40s or 50s, about 1% of women experience premature menopause before the age of 40. Women who have hysterectomies but retain their ovaries don’t become immediately menopausal until the ovaries naturally stop ovulating and producing estrogen. Since menopause is a natural condition, it doesn’t need or have a cure, but the symptoms changing hormones create can be severe enough that medical attention becomes necessary.
The symptoms of menopause may begin years before your last menstrual cycle, a period known as perimenopause. Irregular and missed periods are normal during perimenopause. Often the duration of your cycle becomes shorter. You’re still at risk of pregnancy during this time, since eggs are still released. Other common symptoms of menopause include:
The combination and severity of symptoms vary widely between women. Even if you’re not bothered by these symptoms, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your Suburban OB/GYN health care provider.
Estrogen hormone therapy is the best way to relieve some menopause symptoms, particularly hot flashes, and it also helps prevent the progress of osteoporosis. If you still have your uterus, you’ll need progestin as well, to keep the effects of estrogen on the uterus in check. Contemporary hormone replacement therapy (HRT) typically aims for the lowest effective dose over the shortest treatment period to minimize any long-term effects on your body.
Topical estrogen may help with vaginal dryness and other forms of HRT, such as under-the-tongue and injections, can be utilized. The doctors of Suburban OB/GYN can help you create a menopause management plan that includes HRT, supplements, and lifestyle counseling.