Menopause is the time when fertility ends and hormonal changes occur, but that doesn't have to mean you can't still enjoy good health. Dr. Sharan Abdul-Rahman, a leading OB/GYN and founder of Today's Woman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers customized solutions for the wide array of menopause symptoms. Dr. Rahman can help to reduce and in some cases, eliminate symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness with the right treatments.
Menopause is the time when menstruation stops and fertility comes to an end. As menopause begins, a woman’s hormone production decreases from her previous levels at the peak fertility. With this decrease, there are a number of symptoms that may occur.
Menopause officially starts when you haven't menstruated for 12 consecutive months. The vast majority of women go through perimenopause before they enter full menopause. In perimenopause, menstrual periods become erratic, but they do still happen. The perimenopause period can be from two to 10 years long depending on the woman. Women can start menopause at any point from their 30s through their 60s, with most women being in full menopause by the time they reach their early to mid-50s.
Menopause symptoms can be unique to each woman, but most women have at least a few of these symptoms as they enter their menopausal years. Fortunately, there are effective ways to manage and even eliminate the symptoms of menopause. Menopause is often accompanied by a number of symptoms. These can include:
Options for managing menopausal symptoms differ depending on the specific symptoms, their severity, and each woman’s health. When it comes to those caused by the thinning and drying of vaginal tissues (including: painful intercourse and frequent urinary tract infections), the MonaLisa Touch® laser is an excellent option. It uses a small, thin probe that’s inserted into the vaginal canal. The probe delivers controlled CO2 energy that improves blood circulation and activates collagen production to increase elasticity and moisture production. For other symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and fatigue, Dr. Rahman may recommend hormone replacement therapy or lifestyle changes, including dietary and nutrition counseling.
It is often referred to as diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). At this stage. A woman still has eggs, still has menstrual cycles (assuming she is not using contraception). These eggs are not high performing eggs. Often women with DOR seeking fertility treatments will be advised to use donor eggs.
Menstrual cycles become erratic. Spacing out of cycles is common. Bleeding between otherwise normal cycles, heavy (changing every hour) or prolonged (lasting more than 7 days) is abnormal and needs to be evaluated.
Hot flashes and night sweats are most commonly associated with menopause. We used to tell women that they would only last a couple of years. Now we know that it can be longer - up to 10 years. The truth is it's variable for every woman. This is the stage where women consider hormone replacement, because more that ever it's about quality of life and how you choose to live. There is no one right answer. It's an individual decision. Just know that you have options.
This is often hush-hush because as a society we are not comfortable talking about sex, the vagina or pelvic health. Often women accept this an inevitable - a result of aging. However more women are embracing their midlife vitality and are being pro-active about their health and sexuality.
Like a fine wine- full bodied, rich and deep, women at this stage of life have so much more to offer to the world. Watch out. It's truly about quality of life and making those choices which will keep you healthy and happy.