Menopause is a part of life for all women, yet a surprising number of women and also men have only a gauge knowledge of what to expect when going through this change. Here are a few basics about menopause that everyone should know.
What is Menopause
Menopause represents the gradual decline of estrogen production in a woman until she stops having her menstrual periods. It can be called menopause if there is no period for at least one year. Peri-menopause refers to the transition towards menopause, when the cycle frequency and duration may start to change, and some women may begin to experience symptoms, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbance.
When does it happen?
Menopause usually happens around age 51, though it can start anytime between 40-58, and can occur over several years. Rarely it can occur before age 40, and is then considered premature. Menopause can also be the result of medications (such as chemotherapy) or the result of surgical removal of the ovaries, usually accompanying a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).
What are the symptoms?
Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and/or itchiness, pain with sex, depressed mood, poor sleep can occur with menopause
How long do they last?
For some women hot flashes and night sweats can gradually improve over years, but for a small number of women it can be indefinite. Risks for severe hot flashes include obesity, smoking and certain ethnicities.
How are they treated?
There are both non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic ways to address symptoms. Working on optimizing lifestyle is first-line, and then individualized decisions are made if that is insufficient.
If you or someone you know is going through or about to go through menopause, contact us and we can help you with your symptoms through the use of massage, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and nutritional counseling.