Did you know that women may spend more years in menopause than in their reproductive years? Thankfully, there’s a lot you and your doctor can do to sustain a long, healthy, and happy life. Your provider can work with you to help alleviate and improve uncomfortable menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. They may also address and assess your risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. You may also work with your doctor on improving your nutrition, which is very important to your overall wellbeing. And a personalized evaluation of the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy or other non-hormonal treatments will help you and your physician make well-informed decisions about what’s best for you.
When Do Women Experience Menopause?
Perimenopause begins several years before menopause as the rate of decrease in estrogen becomes more rapid. This is the stage when most women begin to experience symptoms and seek treatment. It’s important to stay up-to-date with your routine health care and talk to your physician about any concerns you may have. The average age for menopause, which is when a female does not have a period for 12 months, is 51.
The types and severity of menopause symptoms can vary widely among women.
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes and chills
- Night sweats
- Weight gain
- Bladder control problems
- Changes in sex drive
- Bone loss
- Urodynamic Testing – Urodynamic testing takes about 15-30 minutes and will help your physician evaluate any problems with your bladder, especially any problems with incontinence. During the appointment, your doctor will place a small tube in your bladder and another in your vagina or rectum. The tubes fill the bladder and measures pressure. Results of the test allow your physician to decide on a treatment that fits the patient’s specific problem, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.
- Bone Density Screening – This is a safe and accurate way to measure bone mineral density. We recommend bone density screening for women over age 50 who are past menopause and have other risks for osteoporosis. The results of the test will show bone strength and your provider will use the results to develop a treatment plan if necessary.
- Hormone therapy – Hormone therapy refers to adding estrogen and/or progestin to a patient’s bloodstream via pills, patches, or topical gels and sprays so that it can get to the tissues and organs that need it the most. Hormone therapy may help relieve many symptoms of menopause.
- Vaginal Lubricants – Females may use non-hormonal vaginal lubricants to relieve vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Moisturizers may be used every 2-3 days, and lubricants may be used for intercourse.
- THERMIva – THERMIva is a vulvovaginal radiofrequency treatment that helps improve collagen and blood flow and, as a result, can also alleviate vaginal dryness and painful intercourse as well as mild urinary incontinence. We offer THERMIva at The Renewal Center at VPFW. It is important to note that this procedure is not covered by health insurance, but we do offer CareCredit to help you establish more affordable installments to finance the treatment.
- Supplements – There are many over the counter supplements available, including soy, black cohosh, and other herbal remedies that have been used to treat menopause. Only a few of these have been studied, and, unlike prescriptions, supplements are not regulated. Discuss supplement options with your physician.
- Healthy Lifestyle – Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise can help perimenopausal and menopausal women maintain strong bones and a healthy weight and, consequently, may help relieve some symptoms.