What is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural process during which a woman’s menstrual cycles permanently come to an end. While no more periods may sound like a dream come true, words like hot flashes and night sweats can quickly overshadow that dream. If it feels like a dreaded disruption to your life, there are treatments available to help you adjust to your body’s changes.
When Does Menopause Begin?
It typically occurs in women starting around the age of 40. It can sometimes occur in women younger than 40.
What Causes It?
It is caused by natural hormonal changes in your body that occur as you age. Early onset can also occur. If it starts before age 40 is known as premature menopause. Causes can include:
- Having a hysterectomy or certain types of surgeries
- Induced menopause
- Receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Primary ovarian insufficiency
- Premature ovarian failure
- Certain autoimmune disorders
Women who have premature menopause may be placed on hormone therapy until they reach the appropriate age of menopause.
Can Menopause Be Delayed Or Avoided?
It is caused by time-based depletion of ovarian follicles. Although at birth there are 250,000 eggs, by menopause there are no more active follicles. There is no way to delay it.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms?
The main sign that you have reached menopause is if you have gone 12 months without your period. Before it hits, you will experience months or years of perimenopause, an ongoing presence of various symptoms which indicate that it is approaching. Perimenopause includes the many first signs and symptoms we so often associate with menopause. During perimenopause you may experience:
- Irregular or missed periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Problems sleeping
- Sore breasts
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- Slower metabolism
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
Speak with your doctor if you experience any symptoms of vaginal bleeding after menopause. Bleeding may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
How Do Doctors Test For It?
Usually, no test is needed to diagnose it. Most women will know they are going through it once they begin to experience the signs and symptoms of perimenopause and their periods have stopped. If necessary, your doctor can perform a blood test for confirmation.
How To Relieve Symptoms
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, treatment options are available to alleviate symptoms. Treatments may include:
- Hormone therapy
- Vaginal estrogen
- Low-dose depression medication
- Certain seizure medications
- Certain blood pressure medications
- Osteoporosis medications
Schedule Your Consultation
If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn specialist at Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn. With specialized care and cutting-edge treatments in obstetrics and gynecology, Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn offers a wide variety of gynecologic and obstetric services from leaders in Ob/Gyn research development. Call 937.771.5100 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.