Many women transition to menopause without significant complications. But countless others suffer from significant biological, cognitive, psychological, vulvovaginal, urinary, and sexual dysfunctions. For many women, this time in life may represent a significant challenge. It may lead to problems in relationships with family, co-workers and friends.
The most common symptom our patients experience is mental and physical exhaustion. This is followed by hot flashes and night sweats. Many women also report mood changes, sexual problems and bladder issues. Most women report a combination of several symptoms that combine to decrease their overall quality of life after menopause.
Symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes can be alleviated with many different therapy options. Our providers at Nore Women’s Health specialize in menopause relief and working with patients during this period of their lives.
Lifestyle Changes. A balanced diet and adequate exercise are recommended and may minimize symptoms associated with menopause. Your Nore provider can discuss how lifestyle changes can improve your symptoms and provide menopause relief.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy. Natural, plant-derived compounds can closely reflect the hormones that your body produced before menopause. This process can improve menopause symptoms like low libido, anxiety and depression, irritability, lack of mental clarity, and an overall lack of energy. Learn more about Nore's Bioidentical Hormone Therapy.
Vaginal Rejuvenation. Menopausal women may experience dryness, pain, loss of tone or sensation, or an overactive bladder. Or a combination of these symptoms! Nore offers the latest technologies in non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation therapies which can provide menopause relief.
Vitamin Therapy. Vitamins may help ease menopause symptoms and support overall health. Nore can perform a comprehensive Micronutrient Test to identify your specific deficiencies and then recommend Vitamin IV Therapy, Vitamin Injections, and/or Vitamin Supplements.
Menopause is a natural and common transition for women, but that doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. During perimenopause, the body’s transition phase into menopause, estrogen levels significantly decrease, and the ovaries stop releasing eggs to be fertilized. This rapid shift in reproductive hormones forces women to experience a wide variety of symptoms, though the intensity of the symptoms differs for everyone.
Some of the most common signs of menopause are irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. In addition to these symptoms, women experiencing menopause also have an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis; that’s a lot for one body to go through. Fortunately, there are multiple treatments and lifestyle choices that can help with menopausal symptoms.
Symptoms & Treatments
While many women are not diagnosed with menopause until their 40s or 50s, symptoms of perimenopause may begin 8 or 10 years earlier. One of the most common symptoms of perimenopause is irregular periods. Irregular periods may be heavier, lighter, or more spotty than normal, or periods may be skipped for months before reappearing again. Many women also have more intense premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms like breast tenderness and more painful cramps.
There are multiple medications and treatments for irregular periods and additional intense PMS symptoms. One of the most common treatments is hormone therapy, where estrogen is prescribed to help regulate or increase estrogen levels. You may also experience relief with pain medication to help with cramps.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
When experiencing hot flashes, your cheeks may feel flushed, and you’ll likely feel a wave of heat over your body. This is a common symptom of menopause, but the duration and intensity will vary. Some women experience hot flashes for the rest of their lives, while others have hot flashes for a short period before they disappear. It is also common to have chills shortly after a hot flash as the sweat from the sudden heat cools down.
Hot flashes can also be treated with hormone therapy. However, you may also relieve hot flashes through a better diet. Caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and smoking can all trigger hot flashes, so avoiding these may lead to fewer or less intense hot flashes. However, tight or restrictive clothing and anxiety may also induce a hot flash, so keeping an eye out for any patterns in your routine, diet, or clothing may also help reduce hot flashes.
Vaginal Dryness and Bladder Control
Estrogen levels are directly linked to the moisture and elasticity of the vagina, meaning a decrease in estrogen will also affect the vagina. Vaginal dryness may lead to much discomfort in life and sexual intercourse, as the dryness may result in bleeding.
The elasticity and moisture of the vagina also affect bladder control. During menopause, women may experience urinary incontinence, painful urination, or the repetitive feeling of needing to urinate at night.
Vaginal dryness can be treated with a water-based moisturizer that is safe to use on the vagina, including lubricants that can be obtained without a prescription. You can also receive an estrogen topical cream or ring that can be inserted inside the vagina. These treatments release small levels of estrogen that help moisturize the vagina, which may help with sexual intercourse and discomfort.
Estrogen creams, tablets, or rings that release estrogen directly into the vaginal tissue may also help with bladder control problems. You can also decrease incontinence by performing Kegel exercises or other strength-building movements to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Mood Swings and Mental Issues
It’s common for women to experience mood swings during menopause, especially considering the amount of discomfort many women find themselves in. Irritation, aggression, and anxiety are most commonly seen in women going through menopause. Still, some women also experience more intense periods of depression in addition to brief lapses in memory or having difficulty concentrating. While these emotions are not caused by menopause, women may feel these more intensely during this time.
Mood swings may be helped by better exercise, sleep, and relaxation exercises such as deep breathing. It may also be helpful to become involved in a group or creative activities during intense mood swings or depression. If you feel your depression or anxiety is getting beyond your control, contact your doctor to ask about anti-depression or anti-anxiety medications.
How Lifestyle Choices Affect My Menopause Symptoms?
Many of the symptoms experienced during menopause can be helped through healthy lifestyle choices, especially for the following risks:
- Weight gain
- Cardiovascular disease
Researchers have observed a direct relationship between women’s bone density and estrogen levels, both of which decrease during menopause. Unhealthy cholesterol may also increase as estrogen levels decrease, leading to a greater risk of heart disease and weight gain.
These complications can be treated with vitamins and supplements. However, they can also be helped with regular exercise and a healthier diet, as can many of the symptoms discussed. Combine this with lower alcohol consumption, lack of smoking, and better sleep to help with lack of energy and motivation (occasional symptoms of menopause). There may also be additional treatments—such as yoga, acupuncture, and plant-based estrogen—to help your menopause symptoms, but speak with your doctor before testing any independent methods.
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