Menopause affects each woman differently. However, some aspects remain the same. It could begin in your late 40s or early 50s and could present uncomfortable symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes, tiredness, irritability, and mood swings. Dr. Patricia K. Brougher of Bluebonnet OB/GYN in San Antonio and her team can help alleviate these symptoms and help you to live a quality life through menopause.
Menopause is a complex experience. It is paramount that you understand it so that you can maintain your quality of life when you go through it.
Read on to find out everything you should know about this natural process.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life where she doesn’t menstruate and can no longer become pregnant naturally. The symptoms usually develop close to 4 years before your last period but could be up to 10 years early, in some rare cases.
The differences in the onset can be attributed to reproductive health and genetics.
Stages of Menopause
Menopause could be preceded by a period called perimenopause. This is a preparation time of a few months or years where your hormones begin to change.
If you experience menopause before 40, it is premature menopause. Between 40 and 45, it is referred to as early menopause.
Overall, menopause occurs in three stages:
- Perimenopause – Irregular, lighter, heavier, late, or skipped periods
- Menopause – Lack of menstruation for 12 months
- Postmenopause – Years after menopause
Symptoms of Menopause
Symptoms can range from severe to mild, depending on the duration of menopause. The shorter the period, the more serious the signs. Other factors like smoking and cancer can also increase the severity. All the stages of menopause generally present the same symptoms. These are:
- Vaginal dryness
- Anxiety or depression
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating or memory problems
- Reduced sex drive
- Reduced muscle and bone mass
- Hair loss and dry mouth, skin, and eyes
You may also experience increased urination and develop urinary tract infections (UTIs). As a result of these symptoms, menopause can come with complications such as painful intercourse, vulvovaginal atrophy, and urinary incontinence.
When symptoms become debilitating, you should seek treatment. For women under 60, you can get hormone therapy to help manage the symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to address specific signs such as sleep medications for insomnia and antibiotics for UTIs.
You can also try some lifestyle changes and home remedies like:
- Avoiding hot rooms and clothes, especially at night
- Exercising regularly to manage your weight
- Seeing a therapist for anxiety or depression feelings
- Eating foods rich in vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium
- Adopting relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga
- Applying skin moisturizers frequently.
- Quitting alcohol and smoking
Always speak to your doctor if you have any doubts. The experts at Bluebonnet OB/GYN will customize your treatment to address your individual needs.
Menopause is a natural process, and you should not be afraid of it. With the right lifestyle adjustments and medical help when necessary, you can lead a pretty normal life.
If you are struggling with menopausal symptoms, feel free to reach out to the menopause experts at Bluebonnet OB/GYN.
Call or contact them to schedule a consultation to discuss how you can handle menopause.