As if women don’t already have enough on their plate, menopause eventually comes around to rear its ugly head. Or it comes around and isn’t all that bad. Or it’s not too much of a shift, except for those hot flashes which are no joke. No matter how your body deals with menopause, there can be some uncomfortable side effects. The good news is that there are treatment options available, and ways to help you get through this time of your life. See what our gynecologist recommends, and make an appointment with our women’s health clinic for check-ups, menopausal relief, and more.
As Mayo Clinic reports, “Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period.” Some of the symptoms you might be experiencing are leading up to menopause (perimenopause), and one of these symptoms is irregular periods. Your period might skip a month or two, then start up again, or seem to be gone for several months, only to start up again on a monthly basis after that.
Irregular periods aren’t too severe of a symptom for most women, and is usually no more significant than a normal menstrual cycle. If you are experiencing exceptional discomfort, or are wanting to make sure you’re entering menopause and aren’t experiencing some adverse side effect, you can always schedule a visit with our women’s health clinic to get the clarity and treatment you need.
Keep in Mind: Pregnancy is still possible during this time of irregular periods. If you’re used to relying on birth control, you should continue doing so or consult with a doctor.
These are perhaps the most common and well-known symptoms of menopause. When experiencing a hot flash, you’ll feel a sense of warmth spread throughout your upper body, and it will come on rapidly. Sweating is also a side effect, as well as a rapid heartbeat. As you come down from the hot flash, it’s likely that you’ll start feeling a bit chilled. Hot flashes can range from mildly uncomfortable to highly bothersome, and can happen as often as multiple times in an hour, or as little as once or twice a week.
Even though we’re often led to believe otherwise, women should not have to suffer — through menopause or life in general. If you have been experiencing some fairly terrible hot flashes, there are some treatment options that could help. Taking estrogen is one such method, though you’ll want to consult with your doctor to learn about all the risks and benefits. As a part of hormone therapy, estrogen is often taken alongside progesterone, though estrogen can be taken on its own if you have had a hysterectomy.
Estrogen is the hormone that maintains the clear fluid that lines the vaginal walls. When estrogen levels drop during menopause, this can lead to less fluid being produced and managed. Vaginal dryness can be uncomfortable on its own, but when having sexual intercourse, it can be downright painful.
Topical estrogen therapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment. With this type of therapy, hormones are administered directly to the affected area, via cream, a ring, or a tablet. A soft, flexible ring can be placed into your vagina (either placed by your doctor, or yourself), and is replaced every three months. For tablets, one is placed into your vagina once a day for two weeks, after which it’s placed twice a week for as long as you need it. Creams are usually applied daily to your vagina on a similar schedule to the tablets. All have shown to be effective, and your doctor can help prescribe the best solution for you.
If you’re at risk for various health concerns, such as having a history of certain cancers, or currently have breast cancer, you likely will not be recommended this type of treatment. However, there are still other options available. For some women who only experience extreme discomfort during sex, utilizing water-based lubricants and having a proper amount of arousal and foreplay can make a huge difference in overall experience.
In a future blog, we’ll cover some of the other symptoms and treatment options for menopause. Until then, know that the compassionate team of medical professionals and caregivers at Neuman GYN is here to help you and your health prosper, at all stages of your life. Call our women’s health clinic today to set up an appointment!