As a woman, your body goes through numerous changes, and one of the most significant shifts occurs with menopause.
Typically starting in your 40s, perimenopause — the transitional phase leading up to menopause — is when your ovaries gradually decrease the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which regulate menstruation.
Menopause is a natural phase in every woman's life. It marks the end of your reproductive years (usually in your mid-40s to early 50s), and the experience is diverse. The process can be gradual or sudden, with symptoms varying in intensity and duration.
At Oakland Macomb Obstetrics & Gynecology in Rochester Hills, Lenox, and Troy, Michigan, our team of OB/GYNs and medical professionals understands that each woman's journey through menopause is unique.
We pride ourselves in offering personalized care and a wide range of treatment options to ensure your well-being during this transition.
In this article, we highlight five telltale signs of menopause and explore how we treat them.
Hot flashes are among the most common symptoms, affecting around 75% of menopausal women. It involves an abrupt and intense feeling of heat on the face and upper body. This sensation can be accompanied by a rapid heartbeat and sweating and is often followed by a cold chill.
For some women, hot flashes are mildly uncomfortable and occur infrequently. For others, they can be severely distressing, happening multiple times daily. Hot flashes can also disrupt your sleep when they occur at night.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an effective treatment for hot flashes. If HRT is not suitable for you, we may prescribe non-hormonal medications.
Lifestyle changes such as dressing in layers, keeping cool, and avoiding triggers like caffeine and alcohol can also help. It's essential to be mindful of triggers like spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine.
Irregular periods are a telltale sign of perimenopause. During this time, the length of your cycle may vary widely. You might observe that your periods are lighter than usual or unexpectedly heavy. The duration of your periods may also be unpredictably longer or shorter.
If irregular periods are not causing you discomfort, they may not require treatment. But if they're accompanied by heavy bleeding or pain, we may recommend birth control pills or hormonal therapy to regulate them.
The drop in estrogen levels during menopause can result in the thinning and drying of your vaginal tissues. This can lead to vaginal dryness, itching, and discomfort, especially during sex.
The decline in natural lubrication and changes in the acidity of your vagina can also make you more susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Regular use of over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers is often beneficial to relieve vaginal dryness. During sex, water-based lubricants can also reduce discomfort.
In addition, topical estrogen therapy applied directly to your vagina can help replenish estrogen levels locally, easing dryness and discomfort.
Many women report mood changes during menopause. The fluctuating hormones coursing through your body can lead to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and sometimes depression.
These mood changes might also be influenced by the physical symptoms of menopause, which can affect your sleep and general quality of life.
Lifestyle changes, including regular physical activity, engaging in hobbies, and maintaining social connections, can improve your mood. Counseling or therapy may also be beneficial. Sometimes, we might recommend hormone therapy to ease mood symptoms.
Sleep problems are common during menopause. Night sweats can wake you, and anxiety or mood changes during menopause can contribute to insomnia.
Practicing good sleep hygiene is vital. This includes sticking to a sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleeping environment, and avoiding stimulants close to bedtime. In some cases, we might prescribe low-dose antidepressants or other medications to aid sleep.
Remember that menopause is a natural phase and not a medical condition. The symptoms can be bothersome, but with proper care, they can be managed effectively.
With expert guidance and personalized care from our professionals at Oakland Macomb Obstetrics & Gynecology, you go through menopause with ease and grace. Schedule an appointment with us online, or call to get started.