Menopause is the natural process that occurs at the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Once you enter menopause, you can no longer get pregnant.
Menopause lasts 4-5 years on average. It’s officially diagnosed when you haven’t had a menstrual period for one full year, but that doesn’t mean symptoms begin when menopause does.
In fact, many women experience symptoms of menopause for 7-10 years. It’s not uncommon to notice hot flashes, mood swings, and other changes before, during, and even after menopause. Vaginal dryness and bladder leakage are two symptoms that unfortunately tend to get worse after the hot flashes and mood swings resolve.
These symptoms can impact your sex life, your social life, and your happiness, but you don’t have to let them. Patricia Nevils, MD, and our team at Vibrant Woman Health Center are here to help you adjust to life in menopause.
Perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause
Perimenopause is the period before menopause where your hormone levels start to decline. It can last up to 10 years for some women, and it’s common to experience symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
You’re considered postmenopausal after you hit menopause, meaning you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period.
Menopause isn’t a disease, but it can produce a range of unpleasant symptoms that impact your quality of life. You can ease the adjustment during perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause by finding ways to minimize your symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapy to ease your transition
Your estrogen and progesterone hormone levels begin dropping as early as your 40s. Once you start experiencing hormonal fluctuation, you might begin noticing some of the more unpleasant symptoms of menopause.
At Vibrant Woman Health Center, we offer hormone replacement therapy to help you transition to menopause and beyond. Dr. Nevils may prescribe a low dose of bioidentical hormones, which regulate hormone levels to minimize menopause symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapy could be a good option if you’re bothered by severe symptoms that impact your daily life. It’s especially helpful for easing the discomfort of vaginal dryness and bladder symptoms. Hormone replacement is completely customizable. Dr. Nevils may recommend a low dose of hormones to start and our team monitors your condition to adjust your treatment plan as necessary – so you feel like yourself again.
Lifestyle changes to minimize menopausal symptoms
Whether you’re not interested in hormone replacement therapy or you’re looking for ways to manage menopausal changes long-term, you can try plenty of lifestyle remedies to make life more comfortable.
Strive to maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise and eating right. Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet. Fruit, vegetables, and whole grains provide essential nutrients, like calcium and vitamin D, that help boost wellness and bone density.
Prioritize sleep, and consider practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing. If you smoke, consider quitting, because tobacco use may worsen menopause symptoms.
Committing to a healthy lifestyle can also lower your risk of health complications in your postmenopausal years. Women are often at increased risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and other issues after menopause, but a healthy diet and exercise can help you enjoy good health for many years to come.
Menopause can make life more challenging, but you can manage your symptoms while still enjoying your favorite activities. Partner with Dr. Nevils to get personalized tips on adjusting to menopause. Call us at (337) 234-6838 or request an appointment online.