For numerous women, menopause comes with a wide variety of symptoms and physical changes. At Ob-Gyn Associates, our doctors help patients get the care they need to manage menopause symptoms.
What is menopause?
When a woman’s body stops producing functional eggs, menopause begins. There are approximately 1 to 3 million functioning eggs present at a woman’s time of birth. This number decreases to roughly 400,000 when she reaches puberty. At menopause, there are typically less than 10,000 functioning eggs remaining. While some are lost during ovulation, many more are lost through atresia. Ovarian follicle atresia is when an immature ovum degenerates and is then reabsorbed into the body. As menopause draws near, eggs being produced also become resistant to FSH or follicle-stimulating hormones. The ovaries severely reduce estrogen and testosterone production as well. These fluctuations frequently cause the unpleasant symptoms related to menopause.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
The symptoms of menopause typically differ from woman to woman and in some cases women can even experience no symptoms at all. The most frequently experienced symptoms usually include:
- Skipping menstrual cycles
- Anxiety and mood swings
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
What treatments are used to minimize symptoms?
When menopausal symptoms are serious enough to hinder a woman’s everyday life there are several options available which help to mitigate or reduce the symptoms. Treatment options include:
- Lifestyle Changes: Exercise and dietary changes can assist to keep a woman in optimal overall health and also helps her avoid triggers for symptoms including spicy foods and caffeine which can contribute to hot flashes and night sweats.
- Alternative Therapies: Meditation, relaxation tools, and acupuncture can work to greatly reduce symptoms. Herbal treatments have also been successful. Before beginning any of these therapies, consult a physician at the practice.
- Prescription Medications: Hormone replacement therapy is a frequently used medical tool for menopause. Estrogen and progesterone are suggested to women who have not had a hysterectomy. For women without a uterus, estrogen alone is employed. A doctor is the only person who can prescribe hormones and other medications are available if hormone treatment is unwanted or not recommended.