Menopause

Older Couple - MenopauseMenopause represents the point in a woman’s life where her ovaries cease to ovulate, marking the end of fertility, levels of estrogen and progesterone drop and the menstrual cycle ceases. The average age of menopause is 51, with most women reaching menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. While menopause represents a single event in time (the strict definition is “the point at which menstrual periods have been absent for 12 months”), if a woman enters menopause naturally her body will undergo a gradual transition spanning as long as a decade, and often characterized by irregularities in the menstrual cycle, mood swings and irritability, hot flashes and vaginal dryness. This phase of transition immediately prior to menopause is referred to as perimenopause and affects each woman differently. Sometimes a woman will enter menopause suddenly without the transitional period of perimenopause, such as in the event of surgical removal of the ovaries (surgical menopause). Once a woman has passed into menopause she is said to be postmenopausal.

While perimenopause and menopause are often associated with various symptoms, post-menopause may place a woman at increased risk of developing a number of health conditions. For many women facing menopause there are two concerns: Firstly, coping with the symptoms of the menopausal transition and, secondly, staying fit and healthy into post-menopause.

Symptoms of perimenopause and early menopause

Each woman experiences menopause differently. Some women experience few if any symptoms while others experience a range of physical and psychological symptoms that interfere with her quality of life. Furthermore, symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may fluctuate over time.

Common symptoms of perimenopause

Managing the symptoms of perimenopause and early menopause

Treatment for menopausal symptoms will vary depending on the nature, duration and severity of a woman’s symptoms. Given symptoms vary so widely between women and over time, treatment needs to be individualized to the specific symptoms and needs of the patient.

The oral contraceptive pill for irregular bleeding
Hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms
Topical treatments for vaginal estrogen deficiency
Antidepressants and antiseizure medications used to treat hot flashes
Alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms

Importantly, there are several treatment options available to reduce and alleviate the symptoms of menopause. A multi-disciplinary approach can help to maximize symptom relief while minimizing side effects.

Health problems associated with post-menopause

Post-menopause has been found to be associated with a number of health conditions, including:

  • Osteoporosis (reduction in bone mineral density, increasing the risk of fractures)
  • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Uterine cancer

Naturally, post-menopausal women want to remain fit, vibrant and healthy. The best way of ensuring continuing good health is to be proactive about health risks via participation in appropriate screening programs and to take preventative measures to promote continuing health.

Screening and preventative medicine

Comprehensive screening is recommended for the aforementioned health conditions associated with post-menopause. Participating in routine screening will help ensure early diagnosis should any of these health problems arise and will improve the chance of successful treatment and recovery.

Lifestyle modifications
Warding off osteoporosis

Certain lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis, including ceasing smoking, reducing alcohol intake, exercising regularly to build strength, and eating a healthy, balanced diet with sufficient calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D and calcium supplements may be prescribed in patients already showing signs of osteoporosis or osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis). Certain medications may also be prescribed to help reduce bone mineral density loss and to strengthen bone.

An integrative approach to the menopausal transition and beyond

At the Vital Health Endometriosis Center we offer specialized integrative care to patients who are transitioning into menopause, whether it be natural menopause or surgical menopause. We will work with you to provide individualized treatments to help manage any menopausal symptoms you may be having and to empower and guide you in leading a lifestyle that promotes optimal health and quality of life into post-menopause.

Summary
Article Name
Menopause
Description
At the Vital Health Endometriosis Center we offer specialized integrative care to patients who are transitioning into menopause.

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Summary
Article Name
Menopause
Description
At the Vital Health Endometriosis Center we offer specialized integrative care to patients who are transitioning into menopause.