Menopause: Change is Coming
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
Not something that we particularly desire as women to go through, but for most of us it will be unavoidable.
Menopause usually begins when estrogen levels start changing. A woman’s body can experience many different changes at the same time.
Early in menopause, estrogen levels can fluctuate, which means you may miss periods or you may even experience a more frequent and heavier flow than usual during some months. What usually begins to happen is that your period is likely to become more irregular, and then eventually stop altogether. (Yay!)
It seems like the first menopausal symptoms that most women experience are those dreaded hot flashes and uncontrollable mood swings. Some reports have even shown woman having bouts of mental confusion and maybe even some sadness and depression. You may notice that you are experiencing other physical symptoms such as vaginal dryness and a decreased desire for intimacy because of the symptoms your body is having.
Menopause can affect your body organs and systems in many different ways:
- BLOOD VESSELS – Quick body temperature changes, or hot flashes, and waking during the night
- BRAIN/NERVES – Moods that change frequently or a tendency toward sadness, anger, or confusion, and in extreme cases, depression or anxiety
- GENITALS – Problems with dryness, itching, pain during sexual intercourse, or irritation of the tissues in and around the vagina
- URINARY SYSTEM – Problems with sudden or frequent urinating
- BONES – A higher risk of weaker bones, osteoporosis, and bone breaks
- HEART – Acceleration of risk factors associated with heart attacks and other heart problems
Treatment for the symptoms of menopause can be approached in two phases:
- Early stage of menopause: Talk to your doctor and discuss your first signs of menopause and how or if you should treat them. You should be evaluated for your risk of getting breast cancer or heart disease, as well as osteoporosis, which is severe bone loss that puts you at increased risk for broken bones. If you are not at high risk for breast cancer as determined by your health care provider, you may want to consider taking estrogen for a limited time. By using the lowest effective dose, you may be able to manage several of those menopause symptoms all at once. If, after weighing the pros and cons of estrogen, you decide it’s not for you, other treatments are available.
- Later on in menopause you should focus primarily on effectively preventing diseases such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Your earlier menopause symptoms will most likely start to disappear.
TIP: Form a partnership with your doctor, share information, ask questions, and get informed about the many options that are available and then together decide what treatment is right for you.
For more information on Menopause and treatment for symptoms, please visit: “Menopause Treatment Options”, hormone.org