Menopause is a natural biological process that every woman will experience at some point in her life. It’s triggered by changing hormone levels, which began declining as early as age 40. When estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, it can cause symptoms that range from mild to severe. These may include:
•loss of libido
•hair loss or thinning hair
•dizziness or vertigo
•vaginal dryness or soreness
•trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep
•changes to body odor
•joint or muscle pain and tension
It might be more bearable if this were a temporary thing, but many women live with menopause for ten or more years! If you’ve been dealing with perimenopause or have entered full-blown menopause, you’re certainly not alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to manage the associated symptoms in a way that doesn’t affect your quality of life! The MOGA team will work with you to get your menopause under control so you can feel like yourself again! Let’s take a look at how we can help you achieve that.
There are many ways to manage menopause symptoms, which is why we prefer to take a comprehensive approach with every patient. Depending on your health history and the severity of your symptoms, we’ll often start by recommending lifestyle changes.
Regular physical activity
Adding regular physical activity into your routine can minimize many menopause symptoms and help you maintain a healthy weight. Your diet is important, too. Aim for nutritious meals and snacks that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. If you smoke, consider quitting since tobacco use can also make menopause symptoms worse.
Hot flashes and night sweats can be disruptive. Stay prepared by layering your clothes and avoiding spicy foods and alcohol. You can also keep washcloths in the freezer for a quick blast of cooling relief!
Stress can sometimes exacerbate the symptoms of menopause. Managing your stress can also help you manage those symptoms. Try incorporating relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation into your day to keep from feeling overwhelmed. Some women find deep-breathing exercises helpful. Research has shown that a technique known as paced respiration can significantly decrease the frequency of hot flashes.
To perform paced respiration, focus on taking slow, deep, full breaths while gently expanding and contracting the abdomen. Aim for a rate of about six to eight breaths per minute. Practicing this technique twice a day for 15 minutes each time can be beneficial, and you can also use it anytime you feel a hot flash coming on.
Get a good night’s sleep
Insomnia and poor quality sleep are common among menopausal women. Erratic hormone levels can throw your body off, so you may not be able to combat this completely. However, a consistent sleep cycle can help improve your overall health. Our bodies tend to thrive with structure and routine. Having a regular bedtime and waking time will regulate your circadian rhythm. This internal clock governs your sleep cycle, and getting it on track can help reduce the severity of some menopause symptoms.
Positive lifestyle changes have other benefits, as well. As you get older, the risk of developing many health conditions may go up. Regular exercise and healthy eating can help prevent some of these conditions, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
Hormone therapy for menopause symptoms
Lifestyle changes will help make menopausal symptoms more bearable for many women. This won’t be the case for everyone, however. If your menopause symptoms are so severe that they’re interfering with your day-to-day life, there are several classes of medication that can help ease your discomfort. The most effective of these is hormone replacement therapy.
Some hormone treatments contain both estrogen and progesterone. This may be referred to as combination hormone therapy (HT) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), both of which can help lessen vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Hormone therapy is available in various forms, including oral tablets, topical creams, patches, gels, or spray.
There are some risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular complications associated with long-term hormone therapy, but for women struggling with serious symptoms, the benefits often outweigh the risks. If you’re interested in hormone replacement therapy, you should make an appointment to discuss your options with us.
Should you begin hormone therapy with us, we’ll generally recommend taking a low dose for the shortest period of time needed to minimize symptoms. This helps to reduce the risk of side effects. We’ll also maintain regular appointments with you during this time to ensure you’re seeing results.
Find yourself again with menopausal care from MOGA
One of the most common misconceptions about menopause is that women just have to suffer through it. Fortunately, this is no longer the case! There are options for making this transition easier on your mind and body, and we’ll be happy to help you understand them. You can trust our expert team to find the right balance of treatments to neutralize the worst menopause symptoms.
As the largest private women’s health practice in the Mid-South, Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association, P.C. has been providing superior service to our patients for over 30 years. With dozens of doctors and nurse practitioners available in Memphis, Germantown, Bartlett, and Southaven, we make it easy to get the personalized care you need throughout your life. You can make an appointment with us by calling our office or scheduling one online through our website.