Menopause is a time full of major changes in a woman's life. They can experience an increase in risks of some health issues like osteoporosis and vaginal dryness. At Advantia OB-GYN Shady Grove, women receive customized care to address the multiple symptoms of menopause while also helping to prevent serious medical issues.
What causes menopause symptoms?
Menopause is the time of life when a woman no longer has periods. The time leading up to menopause is called perimenopause or pre-menopause. Symptoms experienced during these times occur because of a natural decline in the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone that occurs as a woman gets older. While these hormones are most closely associated with reproductive functions, in fact, they play a much wider role and can affect many different systems and functions, which is why symptoms can be so varied. The most common symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irritability and moodiness
- Problems sleeping
- Problems with focus and concentration
- Weight gain
- Hair growth changes, including thinning hair on the scalp and an increase in facial hair growth
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during intercourse
- Urinary incontinence
- Increased risk of urinary tract infections
Menopause can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, resulting in brittle bones and an increased risk of fractures.
When does menopause occur?
For most women, the initial signs of menopause occur in their 40s with full menopause occurring when a woman is in her 50s; however, those ages can vary. Women who experience a cessation or abnormality in their periods at any age should be evaluated to determine the cause, including women who are at the age when menopause and perimenopause occur.
Can I still get pregnant in perimenopause?
Yes. Although pregnancy is much less likely once a woman nears menopause, as long as periods are still occurring, there is a chance that pregnancy can occur, and birth control should still be used until the doctor confirms you are in menopause and can no longer become pregnant.
Is hormone replacement therapy safe?
Today's HRT uses bioidentical hormones which have been designed to replicate the hormones naturally made by the body. As a result, they are “recognized,” processed, and eliminated like natural hormones, unlike earlier synthetic hormones that were not easily eliminated and caused side effects as a result. Women on HRT will need to have routine blood tests to monitor their hormone levels so the dose can be adjusted as needed.