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Symptoms And Treatment Of Menopause

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Overview on menopause

The average woman goes through menopause sometime between 45 and 55. However, the average age in the United States is 51. Those whose ovaries are surgically removed experience “sudden” surgical menopause. Diagnosis is made after 12 months without a menstrual period. For some, it can be a difficult time marked by a range of symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and difficulty sleeping.

While there is no one-size-fits-all cure for menopause, many treatments are available, including lifestyle changes and hormone replacement therapy.

What is menopause?

Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is marked by a cessation of menstrual periods. During menopause, the ovaries stop producing eggs, and levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone decline. 

What are the symptoms of menopause?

During the months or years preceding menopause (perimenopause), you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep problems
  • Changes in libido
  • Decreased breast fullness
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Dry skin, mouth, eyes, and thinning hair
  • Change in menstrual patterns (irregular periods, lighter periods, or skipped periods)

The absence of menstruation during perimenopause is usual and expected. Frequently, menstrual periods will skip a month and then return, or skip several months and then resume monthly cycles for a few months. Periods also occur in shorter cycles, making them closer together. Pregnancy is possible despite irregular periods. Consider a pregnancy test if you’ve missed a period but aren’t sure if you’ve begun the menopausal transition.

How is Menopause Treated?

While menopause can be difficult for many women, treatments are available to help ease the transition. So if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Following different treatments are available to help alleviate these symptoms. 

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most common treatment for menopause. It involves taking estrogen and progesterone hormones to help address the hormone imbalances that can cause menopausal symptoms. These hormones can help relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. 

HRT can also prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of heart disease. In some cases, other hormones may be used in HRT, such as testosterone or thyroid hormone. The specific hormones and dosages used will vary depending on the individual’s needs. 

HRT is generally considered safe, but there are some risks associated with it. You can discuss these risks with your doctor before starting HRT. These risks include an increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots, and stroke. For this reason, it is important to discuss the possible risks and benefits of HRT with your doctor before beginning any treatment. 

While the risks of HRT may seem daunting, it is important to remember that not all women experience these side effects. In fact, for many women, the relief from menopausal symptoms outweighs the potential risks. Ultimately, whether or not to begin HRT should be made after careful consideration and consultation with your doctor.

Topical Hormone Therapy

This is a vaginal estrogen cream, implant, or gel used to treat vaginal dryness.

Medication for Menopause treatment

There are also non-hormonal options available, such as certain antidepressants and anti-seizure medications. It can help to relieve hot flashes and night sweats. These drugs may be effective for women who cannot take estrogen for certain health reasons or require an antidepressant for a mood disturbance.

To prevent or cure osteoporosis in women, doctors may prescribe medicine based on the patient’s specific needs. There are several drugs that prevent bone loss and fracture risk. Your physician may recommend vitamin D pills to strengthen bones.

Lifestyle Changes:

Another treatment option is lifestyle changes that can help to ease the symptoms. One of the most important things you can do is eat a healthy diet. Ensure plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Staying active is also important. Exercise helps to increase energy levels, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality. In addition, try to reduce stress in your life as much as possible. This may mean simplifying your schedule or learning how to say “no” more often. 

Stop smoking

Tobacco use is associated with early menopause, resulting in symptoms like hot flashes.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Researchers have discovered a relationship between drinking alcoholic beverages and breast cancer. Therefore, your physician may advise you to limit your daily alcohol consumption to no more than one serving, like a five-ounce glass of wine.

Use of Calcium Supplements

To strengthen bones, your doctor may give calcium supplements, like calcium carbonate or calcium citrate and vitamin D to aid in calcium absorption by the intestines. Your physician can decide the appropriate calcium dosage for you.

You can also enhance your calcium consumption by eating milk, cheese, white beans, yogurt, spinach, kale, and salmon. Foods high in calcium, including orange juice and oats, may also be beneficial.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Menopause can result in weight increase and inhibit weight loss. Your physician may advise you to consume a diet that is low in calories, fat, salt, fat, and sugar and is rich in fruits and vegetables. Thirty minutes a day of weight training can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disease characterized by fragile and sometimes fractured bones.

These treatment options can help a woman manage her menopausal symptoms and live a healthy and active life. Finally, talk to your doctor about any changes you’re experiencing.

In the Bottom Line

Menopause is a natural process, and there are many ways to manage its symptoms. Some women take hormone replacement therapy, while others find relief with natural therapies like acupuncture or herbal supplements. There is no one “right” way to deal with menopause, and each woman will find what works best for her.

References:

  1. Lifestyle Changes for Menopause | NYU Langone Health nyulangone.org/lifestyle-changes-menopause Accessed: 2022-05-08
  2. Menopause: Age, Stages, Signs, Symptoms & Treatment my.clevelandclinic.org/-menopause Accessed: 2022-05-08
  3. Treatments & Solutions for Menopause Symptoms | The North American Menopause Society, NAMS menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes Accessed: 2022-05-08
  4. What Is Menopause? | National Institute on Aging nia.nih.gov/what-menopause Accessed: 2022-05-08
The information in this site will not replace a medical examination or relevant medical advice. We do our best to make the most reliable and orderly information available. Still, as reliable as it may be, this information can not be a substitute for any other medical recommendation received by a qualified physician after an individual examination.
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