Menopause Q & A
When does menopause occur?
Menopause is diagnosed when you’ve gone a full 12 months without a menstrual cycle. For women in the United States, menopause occurs on average at age 51, but it’s considered normal anytime after the age of 40. Your body decreases its production of the hormone estrogen, so you stop ovulating and your period ceases. You’re no longer able to get pregnant once you’ve passed through menopause.
Although menopause is a natural result of aging, it may also occur because of cancer treatment or a hysterectomy.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Menopause defines the cessation of your cycle. In the years prior to menopause, you may experience a number of uncomfortable symptoms.
This time, called perimenopause, may include:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
- Unexplained weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Depression and mood swings
You may also experience urinary incontinence and trouble concentrating as a result of your hormones changing.
How do I know I am going through menopause?
Your description of symptoms and age are good indicators that you’re going through menopause. In some cases, a blood test may be ordered to confirm a menopause diagnosis.
How does menopause change my health?
After going through menopause, a woman’s risk of certain health conditions raises. This is because of the decrease in estrogen levels. It is important to be proactive to prevent common health conditions that are at increased risk due to menopause:
- Heart disease
- Poor skin elasticity (greater wrinkling)
- Urinary and fecal incontinence
Menopause can bring on weaknesses in vision and raise your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, too.
How is menopause treated?
Menopause is a natural process, so it can’t be stopped. However, the symptoms of menopause and associated health risks can be mitigated with hormonal and nonhormonal approaches. There are many non-hormonal options to be considered to treat the climacteric symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
Estrogen and progesterone replacements can be considered, known as hormone replacement therapy. Each patient’s condition is unique and these treatments will be individualized according to their needs if they choose to consider hormones. Hormones are not indicated for all patients but for some, these replacement hormones help ease symptoms during this transition. Creams, pills, patches, and pellets are ways these hormones are administered.
If you decide against hormone therapy, lifestyle changes and options, such as the MonaLisa Touch can be considered for vaginal health. Certain dietary changes, exercise, and self-care work to help ease symptoms in many women going through menopause. MonaLisa Touch is a safe, effective laser treatment for your vaginal tissue that stimulates circulation, tissue healing, and collagen development to ease symptoms such as dryness, itching, and painful intercourse.