There’s no way to predict how you’ll experience menopause. More than half of women have hot flashes, but symptom severity differs for each person. No matter what issues arise during menopause, Dr. Stephen Weinstein has the expertise to help, offering hormonal and nonhormonal treatment options to alleviate your symptoms. If you’re concerned about your menopause symptoms, call his office in Walnut Creek, California, or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment.
You may experience perimenopause in the 3-5 years before you reach menopause. During this time, your ovaries begin producing less estrogen and your hormones start to fluctuate. This causes your menstrual periods to change, although the change is different for each woman. Your periods may become shorter, longer, heavier, lighter, or irregular.
Menopause occurs when your ovaries stop producing estrogen and you don’t menstruate for 12 consecutive months. While menopause may begin anytime after the age of 40, the average age is 51.
Menopause symptoms can begin during perimenopause and last well beyond menopause. Some women experience only minimal problems, while others have intolerable hot flashes. The most common menopause symptoms include:
Up to two-thirds of women have hot flashes and night sweats. Half of all postmenopausal women report vaginal dryness, and 40% struggle with dyspareunia, or painful intercourse.
Estrogen helps maintain the health of many parts of your body, from your heart and immune system to your skin and gums. Estrogen regulates bone metabolism, prevents loss of collagen in your skin, and maintains elasticity in vaginal tissues.
Loss of estrogen at menopause increases your risk for:
Dr. Weinstein recommends treatment based on the severity of your symptoms and your overall health. Whenever possible, he prefers to start menopause treatment with non-hormonal options, then prescribes hormone replacement therapy if more conservative treatments don’t provide relief.
Conservative treatments that can alleviate hot flashes include:
At least one non-hormone medication, paroxetine, is FDA-approved to treat hot flashes; several others, such as gabapentin and clonidine, also offer effective relief.
You can take simple steps to help relieve menopause symptoms. For example, dressing in layers makes it easy to cool down when necessary, and you can identify and avoid the things that trigger hot flashes, such as caffeine, alcohol, and stress. You may also want to use an over-the-counter lubricant to alleviate vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.
When menopause symptoms interfere with a good night’s sleep or simply become intolerable, please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Weinstein or book an appointment online.