Most women transition into menopause with relative ease. Although they experience symptoms and some occasional discomfort, they typically get through without the need for medical assistance. But some women struggle more than others and may need help managing their menopause symptoms.
Here at Innovative Women’s HealthCare Solutions in Smyrna and Atlanta, Georgia, we offer comprehensive women’s health care, including treatments to help you manage menopause safely and comfortably.
Led by Dr. Melinda Miller-Thrasher, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist with more than 25 years of experience, our team provides the highest-quality care based on the latest technology and science. Here are our best at-home tips, as well as what you need to know about your medical options.
For most women, menopause occurs in their 40s and 50s. This transitional period in a woman’s life takes months or years to run its course.
Menopause isn’t official until you’ve gone 12 months without a period. The time leading up to that moment is called perimenopause, and you can expect your period to start and stop. You may also begin to experience some of the classic signs that your body is producing less estrogen.
Once you’ve stopped menstruating for a full year, you have reached menopause and immediately enter postmenopause, the final stage that lasts the rest of your life.
Most women enter menopause naturally as hormone levels decline and the ovaries stop releasing eggs. But certain medical conditions, such as primary ovarian insufficiency, as well medical or surgical treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hysterectomy or oophorectomy, can trigger menopause, too.
The symptoms of menopause
After a lifetime of periods, cramps, and dealing with birth control, you may welcome menopause, but you might just be trading in PMS for a few other annoyances.
The most common menopause symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Thinning hair
- Urinary incontinence
- Low libido
- Weight gain
Every woman experiences menopause symptoms to varying degrees, and there’s no need to seek medical attention unless the symptoms are disrupting your life. Also, since many of these symptoms can also be attributed to other medical conditions, if you suspect something other than menopause, it’s best to come in to get an accurate diagnosis. A simple blood test to check your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level can let us know for sure.
Managing the symptoms of menopause
It’s important to remember that menopause is a natural transition, not a medical condition that requires treatment, but you may need a little extra help staying comfortable. Here are some simple at-home remedies that can ease your way.
Prepare for hot flashes
Stay hydrated, carry a small battery-operated fan, and learn what triggers your hot flashes, like caffeine, spicy foods, stress, or alcohol.
Address vaginal dryness
Lower estrogen means less lubrication in your vagina, which can lead to painful sex. There are several over-the-counter gels that restore the moist environment and quell itching and burning. Having more sex helps, too.
Protect your sleep
A good night’s sleep is key to a healthy body, especially one going through menopause. Unfortunately, nighttime hot flashes can make you sweat through your pajamas and keep you awake, robbing you of essential restorative sleep. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, both of which can interrupt sleep, and get plenty of exercise during the day, which promotes sleep.
Exercise your pelvic floor
Loss of estrogen and the aging process make all your muscles more lax, including those in your pelvic floor. This can lead to uncomfortable and unsatisfying sex as well as urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises help you strengthen and tone those muscles and improve or resolve your vaginal and urinary problems.
Medical help for your menopause symptoms
Since lack of estrogen is the primary culprit behind your menopause symptoms, it stands to reason that replacing your body’s estrogen would bring relief.
Although there are several types of hormone replacements, including synthetic versions and some derived from the urine of pregnant horses, Dr. Miller-Thrasher trusts the formula in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
These all-natural hormones are derived from plants and exactly match the molecular structure of your own hormones. And there’s no need to remember to take a daily pill. Dr. Miller-Thrasher inserts a rice-sized pellet just under your skin to deliver a constant and steady dose. This is a huge improvement over older types of hormones that trigger a rollercoaster of physical and emotional effects.
Another treatment that may relieve your symptoms of vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, vaginal laxity, and low libido is the O-Shot. Here, she uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, a form of regenerative medicine that uses a small sample of your own blood. She isolates the growth factors and healing properties into a concentrated serum that she injects into your vaginal tissue to rejuvenate it for greater sensitivity and firmness.
Don’t let the symptoms of menopause ruin what could and should be a welcome transition. To learn more about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and PRP therapy, contact us at either office in Smyrna or Atlanta, Georgia, or request an appointment online today.