Menopause Treatment and Care for Women in MA & RI
At Southcoast Health, we’re dedicated to providing care for women in our community. We provide services for women to support their health at any stage of their life. We offer women who are going through menopause full support and care through our women’s health services, putting your health at a top priority.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural occurrence for all women between the ages of 40 and 50. It marks the end of a woman’s reproductive period, concluding her menstruation cycle. It is a normal biological process that every woman goes through, occurring in three stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Throughout these stages, women go through gradual physical changes that can occur over the course of a couple of years.
What Causes Menopause?
When a woman first begins her period at a young age, her egg count averages around 400,000. As time goes on, women gradually begin to lose eggs, and by the time menopause comes around, women have less than 10,000 eggs. As menopause becomes a forefront, the leftover eggs become more resistant to follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH), which are the reproductive hormones in women. In turn, a woman’s ovaries significantly reduce their production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, stopping the release of eggs and a woman from having her period. At this time, a woman is no longer fertile and may experience many of the symptoms related to menopause.
Stages of Menopause
Menopause occurs in three gradual stages.
Perimenopause takes place a few years before menopause begins. At this time, the ovaries have started to make less of the hormone estrogen, with estrogen levels dropping quickly in the last one to two years of this stage. Perimenopause ends when menopause begins, during the time when the ovaries stop releasing any eggs. At this point, many women start to experience symptoms.
Menopause officially begins when a year has passed since a woman’s last menstrual period. During this stage, the ovaries are not releasing any eggs and have dramatically decreased estrogen levels. The average age at which menopause begins is 51.
The postmenopause stage occurs years after menopause. During this time, symptoms start to dwindle for most women. However, certain health risks can arise as women get older, due to the loss of estrogen.
Signs of Menopause
Signs and symptoms of menopause begin during perimenopause, and can continue throughout postmenopause. Symptoms vary widely, but one of the most common symptoms is hot flashes. Hot flashes are characterized by a feeling of sudden warmth throughout the upper body and face, causing women to flush and even sweat. Other common signs of menopause include:
- Decreased Sexual Desire
- Mood Swings
- Night Sweats
- Problems with Sleeping
- Problems with Bladder Control
- Vaginal Dryness and Painful Sex
Not every woman experiences the same symptoms- they can differ from woman to woman. But these signs and symptoms can help determine if menopause is approaching.
Treatment for Menopause Symptoms
There is no cure for menopause, as it is a natural part of aging in women. But there are different treatment options to help with symptoms that may be disruptive to your quality of life. One of those options is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for those who are experiencing moderate to severe symptoms. This involves estrogen therapy, which comes in different forms such as a pill, patch, vaginal ring, or gel. However, although it is effective, HRT may not be for everyone, and should be discussed with your doctor.
Other strategies that can help you manage your menopause symptoms include the following:
- Stay cool during hot flashes by wearing layers and drinking a cold glass of water. Also, try limiting what may be causing your hot flashes, such as spicy foods or caffeine.
- Solve night sweats by keeping your room cold and turning on your fan. Always have an ice pack handy in case you need it.
- Try to get enough sleep by developing a nightly routine and overall sleep schedule. You also want to avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can interrupt your sleeping patterns.
- Exercise regularly and eat healthy to keep an active lifestyle that helps you maintain your weight.
- Stay relaxed by developing techniques that promote relaxation, such as guided imagery or deep breathing. There are many forms of media that can also help you find the relaxation technique that works for you.
- Ease vaginal dryness by using vaginal lubricants and moisturizers.
- Stay sexually active to help increase blood flow to your vagina and to aide in maintaining your vaginal health.
- Manage your bone health to avoid risks of osteoporosis by finding out your bone density status.
Schedule an Appointment with an OB/GYN at Southcoast Health
Let our well-trained staff of OB/GYNs at Southcoast Health help you navigate your menopausal years with ease and confidence. Southcoast Health provides care and treatment for women in menopause in North Dartmouth and the surrounding areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Contact us today to find an OB/GYN near you, or for any questions you have about menopause.