It’s good that there’s more talk about menopause these days — among women, their health care providers, and even in the media. It’s a milestone in every woman’s life when your childbearing years are over and a new season is on the horizon.
You’re considered to be fully in menopause when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months, but apart from this, there are other indicators.
The provider team at Southdale ObGyn is committed to providing women with the best care in every stage of life. Whether you’re approaching or in the midst of menopause, we can help you through this major transition and make life easier and more comfortable.
In addition to offering menopause education and treatment, we prepare you for the symptoms that affect everything from your emotional state and libido to your sleep and weight.
Most have heard about hot flashes and night sweats, disturbed sleep, and mood swings, but other symptoms that point to menopause are less well-known. Here are three.
Menopause can actually cause joint pain in the sense that it can rise with a vengeance since estrogen counters inflammation. When estrogen plummets, you may notice more tenderness in your hands, elbows, shoulders, neck, and knees.
You might also experience more headaches. External bruising may occur more often as well because your skin becomes thinner and less elastic.
Unfortunately, some women get migraines for the first time, thanks to decreased estrogen, while the luckier ones with a history of migraines experience fewer headaches because, for some, higher estrogen levels trigger them.
Slowed estrogen production can affect your sex life, too. You might notice a lack of desire to have sex or experience pain during intercourse because vaginal tissue thins during menopause, setting you up for vaginal dryness, tears, and inflammation.
Many menopausal women develop incontinence, including increased urgency when they need to urinate, leakage problems, and a burning sensation during urination.
Here again, the culprit is thinning of the vaginal tissues that progresses to vaginal atrophy, a condition that causes your vagina to shorten and shrink.
Fortunately, your Southdale ObGyn can relieve these symptoms and more with innovative treatments.
Menopause isn’t a medical condition; it’s a life stage. However, the symptoms can make you feel as if something is physically wrong, and that’s where we come in with treatments to alleviate your symptoms and help you transition smoothly into this new phase of life. Depending on what’s affecting you most, here are some approaches we may recommend.
Many women get much-needed menopausal symptom relief from hormone replacement therapy. In this treatment, you receive either supplemental estrogen and progestin or just estrogen if you’ve had a hysterectomy.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is another option. These plant-based hormones match the molecular makeup of your body’s hormones.
We might advise you to take a low-dose oral contraceptive to even out your hormone levels.
Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors, commonly known as SSRIs, are prescription medications that can treat menopausal mood issues and uncomfortable, unpredictable hot flashes. Certain over-the-counter medications can also help with vaginal dryness.
MonaLisa Touch® treatment is a gentle, quick (typically under five minutes) treatment where we use a handheld device to direct laser energy to your vaginal tissues and treat vaginal atrophy. The treatment causes your body to generate new blood vessels and produce more collagen and elastin.
MonaLisa Touch also addresses painful intercourse and eases incontinence and vaginal discomfort.
Menopausal women are at risk for losing bone density and developing osteoporosis, which can cause joint pain and put you at risk for fractures. A simple, quick, and painless test called a DEXA Scan gives us valuable information about your bones and lets us know whether you need preventive treatment for osteoporosis.
We talk to you about lifestyle changes you can make to ease your menopause symptoms. These include getting better nutrition, becoming more physically active, and stress-reduction techniques like meditation.
We also encourage women to attend two informative sessions we offer, depending on whether they’re fully in menopause yet or not. Our women’s health nurse practitioner, Krista Bernhoft Margolis, NP, leads the Mondays: Let’s Talk Menopause workshop, and for women approaching menopause, she holds a Perimenopause Workshop.
Call our Edina or Burnsville, Minnesota, office to schedule an appointment at Southdale ObGyn, or book one online.