If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you are likely experiencing perimenopause (the years before your periods stop) or menopause (the time when you no longer have periods and can no longer get pregnant.)
Perimenopause and menopause are normal, natural occurrences in your life cycle. They happen when your body produces less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Unfortunately, the hormonal changes that occur during these years may cause telltale symptoms. These symptoms can range from uncomfortable to downright annoying.
Here at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati, our dedicated care providers specialize in helping our patients cope with the inconveniences of menopause. We work with our patients to provide information and symptom relief strategies, so they can enjoy life despite their menopause symptoms.
Read on to learn about some common menopause symptoms, along with context on treatment options.
Symptom #1: Hot flashes and night sweats
Three out of four women experience hot flashes, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. These may start long before menopause and may continue for more than a dozen years after periods end. (Those that occur at night are called night sweats.)
Simple remedies such as avoiding overheated rooms, using a personal fan, dressing in easy-to-remove layers, or wetting your face with a cold washcloth can help you cope with minor hot flashes. If you have frequent, fiery flashes, your provider may recommend hormone therapy or antidepressants.
Symptom #2: Sexual issues
The hormonal shifts of menopause can contribute to a list of sexual issues, including vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, and a decrease in interest in sex.
In many cases, vaginal lubrication creams can make intercourse more comfortable and desirable. Vaginal dryness and pain may also improve with MonaLisa Touch® laser treatments, which help restore moisture to dry vaginal tissues.
Symptom #3: Urinary issues
Changing hormone levels and weak pelvic muscles can contribute to urinary problems such as frequent urinary tract infections, an increased need to urinate, and urinary incontinence. For many women, a sure sign of menopause is the bit of urine they pass into their panties when they laugh, sneeze, or cough.
Depending on the type and cause of urinary issues you have, simple approaches such as daily Kegel exercises or bladder training can help. For more obtrusive urinary symptoms, your provider may recommend laser treatment with MonaLisa Touch.
Symptom #4: Sleep problems
Perimenopause and menopause can contribute to sleep problems, making it more difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Not only do hormone levels impact your ability to have a good night’s sleep, but nocturnal hot flashes (night sweats) and a need to urinate more often may wake you up more often than you’d like.
Many women sleep better with changes to their sleep hygiene habits. When those changes don’t help, your provider may recommend sleep medication or treatment of your hot flashes or urinary conditions.
Symptom #5: Mood and cognitive changes
Hormonal changes affect many parts of your body, including your brain. This can lead to a range of emotional and cognitive symptoms, including mood changes (irritation, depression, anxiety, impatience) and minor memory challenges.
If mood changes interfere with your life, don’t suffer in silence. Talk with your provider about whether you could benefit from medication and/or therapy. And tell your provider if your memory problems go beyond the “can’t find your keys” level.
Relief for menopause symptoms
If you’re experiencing these or any other menopause symptoms, your providers want to help. After evaluating your symptoms and your overall health, your provider recommends a customized treatment plan that may include lifestyle changes, home remedies, medication, gynecologic procedures, or hormone replacement therapy.
Most menopause symptoms can be improved, so don’t assume you have to put up with them.
To schedule an evaluation, call our office at 513-794-1500, or request an appointment via our online portal today.