What to Expect from Menopause
All women eventually go through menopause — it is a natural part of your life cycle. During this natural process, your ovaries gradually function less and less as your body’s hormone levels that control the reproductive cycle decline. Eventually the release of eggs from the ovary ceases completely. Menopause generally occurs in women ages 48 to 52 years old, but that upper time frame has been seen to extend later into a woman’s 50s. The entire menopause process generally lasts about two years.
Just as with puberty, a woman’s body goes through many changes during menopause, but the effects of these changes vary widely among women. Although menopausal symptoms are usually temporary, they may interfere with a woman’s quality of life for a time if they are persistent or severe enough. Many dietary supplements and prescription medications are available to help alleviate these symptoms.
Many women report discomfort and symptoms associated with menopause such as:
- Hot flashes, night sweats, disturbances of sleep or moods
- Changes in sexual interest or in sexual responsiveness — be sure to report this to your doctor, as it could signal an underlying medical problem
- Reduced vaginal lubrication (which can affect sexual desire)
- Occurrence of pain with sexual activity
- Development of medical conditions that were not exhibited before but run in a person’s family including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes (or pre-diabetic conditions), heart disease, and thyroid problems.
- Increase in occurrence of vaginal infections or bladder infections
- Urinary incontinence
- Pelvic support problems involving the uterus, bladder or rectum
- Osteoporosis and other bone density problems
- Increased occurrence of various kinds of cancers
Your office visits during the time of menopause may include a discussion of your overall health, family medical issues, and health risks. We will coordinate your care with your primary physician or any specialists concerning if specific treatments, tests, or consultations are called for. As always, you’ll be in good hands at our practice.