Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s aging process. Every woman experiences menopause differently. Your doctors and caregivers at Clinic Sofia understand these differences and are available to answer your questions and address your individual needs.
The changes you experience during menopause should not prevent you from enjoying life. To maintain your physical and emotional health, remember to exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet that is high in calcium and visit your doctor for routine checkups.
It is considered normal for menopause to begin any time after age 40. Changes caused by menopause happen slowly over time. A common early sign of perimenopause, or the onset of menopause, is a change in your menstrual periods. They may become heavy or irregular. This happens when the ovaries start producing less estrogen. Eventually, your menstrual periods will stop. With the decline in estrogen, you may experience symptoms such as hot flashes, problems sleeping, vaginal and urinary tract changes, bone loss or emotional changes. For some women, symptoms of menopause are minor while others may find them more intrusive. Remember to discuss your symptoms with your doctor, especially those that are not normal for you, as they may be signs of a more serious problem.
Below are some common questions and concerns about menopause. If you don’t see your question here, or have additional questions, please email us.
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. A hot flash is a sudden rush of heat in the upper body and face that lasts up to several minutes. Your skin may redden and you may break out in a sweat.
Hot flashes can happen day or night, a few times a month or several times a day. Some women experience hot flashes for a few months, a few years or not at all. While hot flashes can be a nuisance, they are not harmful.
The fluctuation of hormone levels brought on by menopause can affect ovulation and change bleeding patterns. Although periods tend to be less regular around menopause, irregular bleeding can signal a problem, including cancer. If you experience bleeding that is not normal for you, contact Clinic Sofia.
A hot flash that occurs at night can wake you out of deep sleep. The lack of sleep can become one of the biggest problems a woman faces as she approaches menopause, causing changes to her mood and health. Some women also find that they have trouble falling asleep. To help you get to sleep, try drinking decaf tea or warm milk, or taking a warm bath before bed.
During menopause, the loss of estrogen can cause the lining of the vagina to become thin and dry, causing pain during sexual intercourse. These changes can also make the vagina more prone to infection, leading to burning and itching.
The urinary tract may also be affecteded, with the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder) becoming dry, inflamed or irritated, and more susceptible to bladder infection. Some women find they need to urinate more often.
If you experience extreme discomfort or suspect you have a bladder infection, contact Clinic Sofia.
With menopause, decreased estrogen may make the vagina dry, making intercourse uncomfortable. Vaginal lubricants can help remedy this, and regular sex may help the vagina keep its natural elasticity.
Some women find their libido, or sexual drive, decreases around or after menopause. This is a normal part of menopause and is caused by decreased hormone levels. It can be treated with hormone therapy.
Be aware that women are still able to become pregnant until one year after their last period.
Changes in hormone levels brought on by menopause may cause you to feel nervous, irritable or tired. You may feel emotions similar to those of premenstrual syndrome that don’t go away. These changes may be linked to other symptoms of menopause such as lack of sleep.
Stress can add to emotional changes. You can lessen emotional symptoms by avoiding alcohol and spicy foods. Some women find relief with anxiety medications, increased exercise or hormone therapy.
Good diet and exercise are important during menopause. Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and cholesterol and provide essential nutrients, calcium and vitamin D.
Exercise is also very important. Regular exercise slows bone loss and improves your overall health. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and aerobics, are best.
The greatest bone loss happens during the first five years of menopause. Osteoporosis, a result of bone loss, increases the risk of a bone breaking. Therefore, it is important to exercise regularly and get adequate calcium (1,500 mg each day) through food and supplements.
With menopause, your skin may require more attention with cleansing and nutrition. Many women experience frequent breakouts. You may also notice an increase in pigmentation or uneven tanning and a decrease in your skin’s elasticity.
Some women who are not on hormone therapy experience hair growth in unwanted areas, such as the upper lip, jaw line or chest.
You should continue routine visits to your doctor for breast, pelvic and rectal exams. Between visits you should perform monthly breast self-exams. Your doctor may also recommend you have a mammogram.
Hormone Therapy (HT) can help relieve the symptoms of menopause by replacing the hormones that are no longer produced by the ovaries. HT can help with hot flashes, vaginal dryness and some of the changes in the urinary tract. It also protects against bone loss and possibly reduce the risk of colon cancer. However, HT has some adverse side effects, including increased risk of endometrial and breast cancer, heart attack, stroke or blood clots.
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Edina, MN 55435
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