Menopause, you may fear it or try to ignore it; but how well do you know it? The North American Menopause Society defines it as “a normal, natural event of the final menstrual period that is usually confirmed when a woman has missed her periods for 12 consecutive months (in the absence of other obvious causes).” During menopause, your estrogen and other hormone levels lower, marking the end of your fertility. The average age for menopause is 51 and one of the most important things to keep in mind is that every woman experiences it differently.
As a woman, you are born with a definite number of eggs which are stored in your ovaries. These same ovaries are the ones that produce your estrogen and progesterone hormones. These two are in charge of controlling your menstruation and ovulation cycles. When your ovaries no longer release eggs, you have reached menopause. But facts and data aside, how do you perceive menopause? Unfortunately, there’s a negative perception towards this matter when it’s actually a natural process that your body goes through, just like many other changes we experience throughout our lifetime.
There are no treatments to stop or reverse menopause. However, there are methods and treatments that can relieve the signs and symptoms when they are severe or uncomfortable. Most women are able to manage them by themselves without medication, but other women experiencing more intense symptoms have to resort to other options. The most common treatments for menopause include:
- Hormone Therapy: This is one of the most effective treatments for menopausal hot flashes. It’s based on a low dose of estrogen, which provides relief for this symptom.
- Vaginal Estrogen: This treatment relieves vaginal dryness by applying estrogen directly to the vagina with a vaginal cream, tablet, or ring. It also helps with discomfort during intercourse.
- Low-dose antidepressants: Sometimes, women are not able to have estrogen therapy for specific health reasons. A low dose of specific antidepressants can help manage hot flashes and mood disorder symptoms in these cases.
- Medications to treat or prevent osteoporosis: These medications help reduce bone loss and lower the risk of bone fractures.
The most important thing about going through this change in life (besides feeling comfortable with yourself) is having a qualified OB/GYN that you feel comfortable with. During this time, it’s important to always be informed and correctly guided towards the right path into feeling better.