There comes a time in a woman’s life when childbirth and menstrual cycles are behind them, and while it might sound absolutely great to not have to worry about that annoying monthly friend’s visit, menopause can also be a scary thought. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop making estrogen, the hormone that controls the menstrual cycle, and signifies the end of a woman’s reproductive years. This commonly happens around the age of 51, but the signs and symptoms can begin long before then. This is known as perimenopause, a time when women in their 30’s and 40’s may experience significant changes in their menstrual cycle such as shorter or longer cycles, a lighter or heavier blood flow, or maybe even no blood flow at all, as well as hot flashes, problems sleeping, and changes in the vagina and urinary tract such as vaginal dryness that causes pain during sex, increased occurrence of vaginal infections, more frequent urination, and increased risk of urinary tract infections.
Dr. Ghea, a female obgyn in Plantation, is here to help you navigate your way through perimenopause and menopause without worry. As a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale and its surrounding area, she understands the importance of providing patients with the best women’s health tips on what to expect when it comes to menopause, and how to handle this intimate and personal transition in your life.
We’ve all heard a woman distressingly announce that she is going through menopause, and whether we are going through the same stage or not, it’s women-code to do and say whatever you can to help alleviate her discomfort. Some women may not experience any symptoms, some may only experience them slightly, and some severely. Thankfully, there are safe and effective ways to help relieve the symptoms of both perimenopause and menopause.
One of the most common treatments is hormone therapy, which involves taking a combination of estrogen and progestin; however, note that women who have had a hysterectomy cannot take the progestin, and would simply take the estrogen on its own. Estrogen comes in several forms, including pills, patches, gels and sprays; it can be taken separately or combined with progestin in the same pill or patch. Estrogen therapy, with or without progestin, is the best treatment for relief from hot flashes and night sweats, two of the most common symptoms that occur during perimenopause and menopause. It also helps relieve vaginal dryness, protects against the bone loss that occurs during early menopause, helps to prevent hip and spine fractures, and, when coupled with progestin, it also reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Some women may be uncomfortable with taking hormones, and in those cases there are many other options available. Antidepressants can help with hot flashes; and the anti seizure medication, Gabapentin, and blood pressure medication, clonidine, both help with hot flashes and sleep problems. Those looking for a more natural remedy can find relief in plants and herbs such as soy, black cohosh and other Chinese herbs; however, it is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider before taking this route.For quick and easy relief, over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants are a big help with the vaginal dryness and painful intercourse that women experience during menopause.
Now that we’ve given you the tools you need to help handle your perimenopause and menopause symptoms, there is no reason to fret during this emotional stepping stone in life. The best thing for you to do is to find an obgyn you can trust and feel comfortable around. If you are looking for a Fort Lauderdale obstetrician, Dr. Ghea sees patients at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation obgyn practice. Appointments can be made by calling 954-473-2011 or online.