Menopause is a natural part of life for all women. It occurs in the 40s or 50s due to a gradual decrease in the ovaries’ production of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Yet many women still feel uncomfortable talking about menopause and its symptoms. But, be assured that your doctor wants to help you understand all aspects of this very natural phase, and make the transition as easy and symptom-free as possible.
While you may feel isolated during menopause, every woman will go through this change at some point in their lives.
Common Menopause Symptoms
For some, menopause causes no significant problems. For others, symptoms can interfere with their quality of life. Some common complaints include:
- Hot flashes or hot flushes are very common among menopausal women and can occur at any time of the day or night. They typically last just a few minutes at a time but can recur throughout the day. Some women have reported as many as 30 hot flashes in a single day. Hot flashes that occur while you sleep are called night sweats. Hot flashes may start while you still have a menstrual period and may last up to 10 years – or longer.
- Vaginal changes, including dryness and the thinning of the vaginal walls, occur during menopause. These changes may make sexual intercourse painful.
- Irregular periods, either heavier or lighter than you’re used to, are hallmarks of the earliest stages of menopause.
- Sleep problems are common, as a result of night sweats, which can make it difficult to be comfortable enough to sleep through the night and can leave you exhausted during the day.
- Depression and anxiety can occur due to the upheaval sometimes caused by the disruptive symptoms of menopause.
When to Seek Professional Help for Menopause
Although menopause is a normal phase of life, it can cause some troubling symptoms. If one or more symptoms trouble you, make an appointment to see your doctor. Here are some tips about what to bring up:
- Describe your symptoms – how bad are they? Do they interfere with your quality of life? Which symptoms are most disruptive? Which can be treated?
- Talk about how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms. Keeping a journal of symptom occurrence and intensity levels can help when it comes to discussing treatment options with your doctor.
- Discuss what treatments are safe for you, given your health history, age, and length of time you’ve been experiencing symptoms.
Do not be afraid to mention up front that you would like to discuss your menopausal symptoms. It is perfectly okay to make this the primary reason for your visit.
Your doctor may provide resources for more information or suggest tips or therapies for managing problematic symptoms.
If you have questions about your menopause symptoms and what relief may be possible, call the experienced, friendly staff at Intercoastal Medical Group for an appointment at one of our area locations near you. You can also request an appointment online now.