Some women have little or no symptoms at all. While they may feel lucky, every woman who reaches menopause should still schedule an annual visit with their doctor to maintain and monitor their health, since menopause is also part of the normal aging process.
A healthy lifestyle can offer major benefits to women going through menopause. Eat a healthy diet. Make sure to include enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet to help maintain bone strength. Regular exercise slows down bone loss and improves overall health. Federal guidelines recommend adults participate in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week, and moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes per week if done vigorously.Show Less
The recommendation is to continue with Pap tests until age 65, unless you have a risk factor for cervical cancer, such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Even women who have had a hysterectomy may still need screening.
With mammograms, most women at low risk of breast cancer can stop at 75. In both cases, you and your OB-GYN should share information, talk about your wishes, and agree on when and how often you will be screened.Show Less
Heavy prolonged bleeding or bleeding between periods should always prompt a woman to seek evaluation, as should the absence of menstruation prior to age 40. Any bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes, mood and sleep disturbances, changes in libido, and vaginal dryness can often be treated with the goal of improving the quality of life.Show Less
Birth control pills sometimes mask perimenopause because the estrogen in the pills can hide the symptoms. Birth control pills have hormone levels that override our normal hormone levels. Somebody who is taking a birth control pill regularly would have regular bleeding and there may be hormone changes that are occurring that may not be apparent.
You would have to stop birth control pills to diagnose if someone is in menopause or not. This is the same with IUD and contraceptive implants that have hormones in them. The copper IUD does not contain hormones.Show Less
If you do an Internet search for menopausal symptoms, you always find incontinence on the list.
Incontinence is not related to menopause. Instead, developing incontinence is more directly related to aging. What I like to tell my patients is that menopause is a consequence of aging, not a cause of aging. That’s why we can’t attribute all symptoms that occur in midlife as being associated with menopause or hormones.Show Less
Perimenopause is generally the period when your periods start spacing out as you get closer to the average age of menopause, which is about 51 or 52. In perimenopause, the hormones released by the ovaries change.Show Less
It is not unusual to have mood alterations during the time of menopause. Your body is experiencing many changes that your mind should process.
Depending on your symptoms, simple diet and exercise programs can help. Some women see improvement after counseling with a therapist or psychiatrist or find short-term use of medicines helpful in stabilizing their moods.
Your physician can help you decide which path may give you the most success.Show Less
Growing facial hair could be genetic. Some women just tend to have more hair. If you have this symptom, it’s a good reason to see your physician to have your adrenal hormones, testosterone, estrogen, and SFH levels checked. Luckily, there are hair removal creams and electrolysis. So there’s a lot that can be done cosmetically.Show Less
Yes, it can. If you’re a professional opera singer, you don’t want to lose that upper register. When women go into menopause, they lose estrogen, but they still usually make the same amount of testosterone. So the ratios change and their voices become a little more masculine.
This is why some women have a deeper voice, a few chin whiskers, and a receding hairline. If it’s a concern, it’s easily treated as long as the hormones are balanced out by replacing some estrogen.Show Less
Not all women experience hot flashes, but most women flash for a few years. It isn’t good to flash; there are many changes in brain blood flow. Hot flashes should be treated, and there are hormonal options that are safe and effective. There also are non-hormonal options too.Show Less