Menopause

(Information provided by UpToDate)

Menopause is defined as the time in a woman's life, usually between 45 and 55 years, when the ovaries stop producing eggs and menstrual periods end. The average age of menopause is 51 years.

Years before you stop having menstrual periods, changes in your hormone levels can lead to some of the symptoms of menopause. In addition to irregular periods, the most common symptoms are hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.

Menopause is a normal part of a woman's life and does not always need to be treated. However, the changes that happen before and after menopause can be disruptive. If you have bothersome symptoms, effective treatments are available.

The average age of menopause is 51 years, although the age range can vary between 45 and 55 years. Women who become menopausal before age 40 are considered to have an abnormally early menopause.

If you are 45 years or older and you have not had a menstrual period in 12 months, there is a chance that you are menopausal. Most women in this group do not need any lab testing to confirm menopause, especially if you are having menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or vaginal dryness.

If you are less than 45 years old and you stop having periods or if you have questions about menopausal symptoms, talk to your doctor. You may need further testing to see if menopause, or another problem, is the cause of your symptoms.

MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS

As the ovaries stop working, levels of estrogen fall, leading to the typical symptoms of menopause. Some women have few or no menopausal symptoms while other women have bothersome symptoms that interfere with their life. These symptoms often begin during the menopause transition, before you stop having periods.

The most common symptoms of menopause include:

Hot flashes — Hot flashes typically begin as a sudden feeling of heat in the upper chest and face. The hot feeling then spreads throughout the body and lasts for two to four minutes. Some women sweat during the hot flash and then feel chills and shiver when the hot flash ends. Some women have a feeling of anxiety or heart palpitations during the hot flash. Hot flashes can occur once or twice each day or as often as once per hour during the day and night.

Night sweats — When hot flashes happen during sleep, they are called night sweats. Night sweats may cause you to sweat through your clothes and wake you from sleep because you are hot or cold. This can happen one or more times per night.  As a result of interrupted sleep, many women develop other problems, such as fatigue, irritability, trouble concentrating, and mood swings.

Sleep problems — During the transition to menopause, some women begin to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, even if night sweats are not a problem. Sleep problems can cause you to feel tired and irritable the next day. Effective treatments for sleep problems are available.

Vaginal dryness — As the levels of estrogen in the blood fall before and during menopause, the tissues inside the vagina and urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body) can become thin and dry. This can cause you to have vaginal dryness or irritation or to have pain or dryness with sex.

Depression — During the menopausal transition, some women develop new problems with mood, such as sadness, difficulty concentrating, feeling uninterested in normal activities, and sleeping too much or having trouble staying asleep. Women with a past history of depression can feel more blue moods during the menopause transition. If you have any symptoms of depression or blues that will not go away, talk to your doctor. There are a number of effective treatments available.

MENOPAUSE TREATMENT

Not all women will need treatment for menopausal symptoms, especially if the symptoms are mild. However, there are several options for women who have bothersome menopause-related symptoms.

Talk to Dr. Scott about treatment options that are available for symptoms of the menopause.  If you are a candidate for menopausal therapy, Dr. Scott will tailor a treatment regimen to fit your needs. 

 SCOTT GYNECOLOGY & PELVIC SURGERY.  Call us at (770) 405-0391.

Conditions Treated
  • Menopause
  • Leaking Bladder
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Genital Prolapse
  • Painful Menses
  • Chronic Pelvic Pain
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic Ovaries
  • Osteoporosis

SCOTT GYNECOLOGY & PELVIC SURGERY - Dr. Vincent S. Scott   (770) 405-0391
5041 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs, GA 30127    drscott@scottgynecology.com

Copyright © 2009 SCOTT GYNECOLOGY & PELVIC SURGERY. All Rights Reserved.

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