Archive for the ‘Menopause’ Category

Part 2….What can we do about menopausal symptoms?

Menopause is a natural condition and doesn’t necessarily require treatment. I can always tell which of my patients are transitioning easily and which ones are not. When your healthcare provider asks you if you need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage your symptoms and you need to think about it, you probably don’t necessarily need anything. It’s the ones that come in almost sobbing because they are so hot and tired and can’t think straight that would really benefit. A lot of it is patient preference and I try to listen to what my patients want and steer them toward a treatment plan that will be safe and effective.

Discuss your options of treatment with your provider. You don’t necessarily have to take a pill every day. HRT comes in many forms including:
troches you dissolve under your tongue

These treatments will help you through the rough times when you’re on your hormonal roller coaster. How long you stay on them depends on how you are doing and what your provider recommends. Be sure to take all medicines as directed and let your provider know if anything needs to be changed or if you would like to stop them. Some medicines work together so it’s important to keep up communication and not stop medicines on your own.

Hopefully this answers questions you may have. Let me know if you have any others and I’ll be happy to write back!

Be well!


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    Part 1

What is menopause and what are the symptoms?

A bit of a break in our late summer heat wave today has surely ignited applause in my menopausal patient population. Omaha temperatures been hovering in the upper 90’s for weeks on end and if I had a nickel for every lady in their 50’s who has been miserable the past few weeks…

Menopause is that lovely time in a woman’s life when her ovaries, who have served her well a great portion of her life, stop working and estrogen leaves the house. This usually happens between ages 45-55 and symptoms and duration vary woman to woman. Many times periods will start to space further apart and a woman may notice hot flashes in the months she doesn’t have a period and no hot flashes in the months she does have a period.

A good predictor of when menopause, defined as one full year without a period, occurs is asking your mother when it happened for her. You will probably have a similar experience. For most women, the time period from the start of symptoms to full menopause is about five years. After that year of no bleeding, if you do have any vaginal bleeding it is important to call your healthcare provider. Without estrogen, the tissues in the uterus and vagina become thin. The lining in the uterus becomes so thin that there is nothing to shed each month as a period. The tissues of the vagina also become thin and sometimes are tender and dry. Even if a lady is taking oral hormone replacement, those vaginal tissues may be so thin that vaginal hormones are needed.

Women tend to be most concerned about cessation of periods and hot flashes. The latter usually occur day and night, not just as night sweats. The onset is sudden and can make you feel hot, sweaty, and miserable day and night. Other symptoms of menopause are:

Heart pounding or racing
Hot flashes
Night sweats
Skin flushing
Sleeping problems (insomnia)
Decreased interest in sex, possibly decreased response to sexual stimulation
Forgetfulness (in some women)
Irregular menstrual periods
Mood swings including irritability, depression, and anxiety
Urine leakage
Vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse
Vaginal infections
Joint aches and pains
Irregular heartbeat (palpitations)

Doesn’t that all sound like a blast? What do we do about all these symptoms? Tune in tomorrow for “I’m still hot…it just comes in flashes, part 2!”

Be well!

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