Menopause occurs after a woman doesn’t menstruate for a period of 12 months. Menopause generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 in most women, and the menopausal transition can last for several years. During this transition, hormones in the body fluctuate, bone density decreases, and weight changes occur.
Many symptoms are associated with menopause, and women can have trouble dealing with them if not managed well. Here are the most common menopausal symptoms and what you can do to manage them better.
Menopause causes hormones like estrogen and progesterone to decrease, which can lead to a variety of changes including significant mood swings. These hormones are responsible for regulating mood-related neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. When the hormones change, women can experience anxiety, sadness, crankiness, and swift changes between moods for unexplained reasons. Regular exercise and meditation can do wonders to manage moods, as well as changes to your diet like reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Estrogen is a protector of bone strength, and bone loss happens in menopausal women because estrogen levels fall during this process. Significant bone loss can lead to conditions like osteoporosis, which makes bones weak, less dense over time, and more susceptible to fractures. Bone loss can be reduced by increasing your intake of calcium and vitamin D. Before beginning any supplement or vitamin, talk to your doctor to see if it’s needed and in what dosages.
Because of hormonal changes associated with menopause, many women experience hot flashes. Hot flashes are feelings of intense warmth that are caused by internal reasons instead of external ones (like hot weather or a heater). They can last for several minutes and can happen at any time. Women report symptoms of warm and/or red skin, sweating, and fast heartbeats as part of a hot flash.
Hot flashes can be managed with regular exercise and supplements like black cohosh, licorice, red clover, and wild yam. Watch out for the kinds of foods and drinks that trigger hot flashes, such as alcohol or spicy foods, so you can avoid them. The supplement niacin, or vitamin B3, is also known to cause hot flushing symptoms even with people who are not menopausal, so it is another trigger you should be aware of.
Loss of Libido
Menopause decreases the amount of testosterone in the body significantly, which is essential for sexual drive. Consequently, women in the menopause stage often experience loss of libido, which affects their sex life significantly. Things like lubricants, Kegel exercises, and therapy can help with this symptom. While it may seem odd, it’s essential that you talk to your doctor about this symptom so you can work to make your sex life better.
Difficulty With Concentration
Hormonal changes can also cause difficulty with concentration in menopausal women. While this symptom is often discredited because of age or hectic lifestyles, it shouldn’t be discounted because there is an undeniable connection between concentration, memory, and hormones. You can use supplements like ginkgo biloba or ginseng to help with this symptom. You can also keep your mind sharp by actively doing mind exercises like puzzles and crosswords. Reducing alcohol and caffeine intake and having a healthy diet can also help.
Managing menopause is not something you have to figure out on your own. Your doctor can help you manage all of your symptoms in a variety of ways as you transition through this stage of life. If you’re experiencing menopause or will be soon, talk to your doctor so you can be proactive with the changes it brings and manage it better.
Expert Care for Women in Syracuse
The providers at University OBGYN Associates are here to help you before, during, and after menopause. Our gynecologists and obstetricians offer experienced care with the highest professional regard for every patient and would love to help you with your health care needs.
Call (315) 464-5162 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.