Menopause marks a significant transition period in a woman’s life. It can also be a frightening, challenging time if you’re not prepared. At Capital Women’s Care, a team of qualified physicians helps the women of Leesburg and Sterling, Virginia and surrounding areas, navigate this phase for optimal health in body, mind, and spirit. If you want a partner in your healthcare who understands the importance of personalized medicine, book your appointment today.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
The symptoms of menopause can start to develop several months or years before you reach menopause. While each woman is different, your symptoms might include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Decreased libido or painful sex
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes or chills
- Sleep disturbances
- Night sweats
- Weight gain and/or changes in fat distribution
- Decrease in breast fullness
- Dry skin, hair, or nails
- Brittle bones or osteoporosis
You might also experience mood-related symptoms, like increased irritability, depression, or anxiety.
What can trigger menopause?
Menopause is a natural life phase, but sometimes the progression can be triggered by health conditions or lifestyle choices. A few common causes include:
Lower levels of estrogen and progesterone
As you age, your body naturally produces fewer reproductive hormones, which govern your menstrual cycle. The average woman reaches menopause by age 51, a time when her body has stopped producing eggs, and she no longer has a period.
Some cancer therapies, like chemotherapy and radiation, can trigger menopause. However, a cessation of your period after cancer treatment is not necessarily permanent.
If you’ve opted to remove your uterus and your ovaries, which is sometimes referred to in lay terms as a “total hysterectomy,” this triggers immediate menopause. Women who retain their ovaries after a hysterectomy will not get periods, but they may also experience menopause earlier.
Certain women are simply prone to early menopause because of their genetic makeup. If your mother and grandmother experienced early menopause, for example, it’s likely you will too.
Certain health conditions, like primary ovarian insufficiency (“premature menopause”) or autoimmune diseases, can trigger menopause as well.
How is menopause treated?
To treat and manage the symptoms of menopause, your physician may recommend several different options, including:
- Hormone therapy, which helps to relieve hot flashes or vaginal dryness
- Antidepressants, which can alleviate hot flashes and mitigate mood disorders
- Bioidentical hormones, which are hormones sourced from plants and available in a variety of compounded forms from specialty pharmacies
- Dietary supplements, which might include certain herbs or estrogen-rich foods
- Other non-hormonal remedies such as Clonidine, Gabapentin, Acupuncture, Hypnosis, behavioral changes including exercise, alcohol use, food choices, etc.
Your menopause treatment plan will be highly individualized to ensure you have the best health outcomes. At Capital Women’s Care, your comfort and ease during your menopause transition are the primary concern.
Book your appointment today with a qualified practitioner.