COMMON MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS:

As women age, their estrogen levels begin to decrease. Once they decrease to a certain level, menopause occurs. The average age of menopause in America is 52; however, 95% of women will experience menopause between the ages of 45-55. During this time, women can start to experience some bothersome symptoms. 

The most common menopausal symptom women suffer from is the ever so dreaded hot flashes! These can range from quick episodes of facial flushing to soaking night sweats. It is reported that 3 out of every 4 women will experience some degree of hot flashes during their menopausal years. Other common symptoms include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, mental fogginess, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, and depression. 

Another symptom to consider is decreased bone mineral density leading to osteoporosis. Considering estrogen helps maintain your bone health, when levels begin to decrease the bones start to break down at a faster rate. This is why it is recommended to start DEXA scans after menopause. These scans can be done right in our office! 

Lastly, let’s talk a little bit about sex after menopause. As estrogen levels decrease, this leads to vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy (which is the thinning of the skin), pain with intercourse, and in some cases spotting after intercourse. Not only does sex become increasingly uncomfortable and in some cases painful, but women can also experience low sex drive. This can cause tension in a relationship and leave women feeling upset and frustrated. 

There are several different treatment options that can help you navigate your way through this journey in life. Because the effects of menopause are so widespread, we like to use a layered approach when treating women. When talking to patients, we always start with recommending lifestyle modifications such as healthy diet, exercise, yoga, smoking cessation, and decreased alcohol consumption.

Next, we recommend incorporating vitamins and supplements into their daily routine. Magnesium is one of my favorite vitamins! Not only does it help decrease hot flashes, but Magnesium helps to promote a healthy gut, helps to decrease headaches and migraines, helps to decrease anxiety, and helps to combat insomnia. Some OTC supplementations that are routinely recommended are Evening Primerose Oil, Black Cohosh, Nutrametrix supplements, CBD oil, etc.

After recommending healthy lifestyle changes and supplementation to patients, we then tailor their treatment plans to each individual woman. If women are complaining of mood issues, anxiety, and depression we can consider trying an antidepressant such as an SSRI or an SNRI. If women are complaining of hot flashes we can consider trying hormone replacement therapy. If women are complaining of vaginal dryness, atrophy, and pain with intercourse we can consider trying a vaginal cream or suppository. Additionally, we offer compounded therapies for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. 

If you feel as if you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, we urge you to give our office a call. As you can see, there are several different options to help combat your symptoms!

Author
Taylore Passero PA-C

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