You wake during the night, drenched in sweat and freezing. Or, perhaps your sex life has faltered because of painful vaginal dryness. Or, maybe you’re experiencing both, and more. The side effects of perimenopause and menopause can be life-altering, but the good news is that there are solutions.
Here at the Center for Women's Health - Mid Atlantic Women's Care, our team of experienced and compassionate gynecologists helps women navigate every stage of their lives, from puberty through menopause and beyond. While the transition through menopause is unavoidable, there are steps we can take to ease this transition and improve your quality of life.
Common side effects of perimenopause and menopause
Most women begin to transition out of their reproductive years in their mid- to late 40s and make the final transition through menopause around 50 or 51. This transition occurs when your ovaries begin to shut down, which means that production of your estrogen and progesterone hormones also rapidly declines, causing unwelcome side effects for many.
These side effects can range in quantity, severity, and duration and often include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness — which affects 50% of menopausal women
- Thinning vaginal walls
- Mood changes
- Bone loss
- Weight gain
As you can see from this list, the potential side effects of perimenopause and menopause can range from mildly annoying to life-changing.
Solutions for problematic menopause symptoms
If menopausal side effects are affecting your quality of life, we urge you to come see us so that we can tailor solutions that meet your lifestyle and your goals.
One of our frontline treatments for the symptoms of menopause is hormone therapy, which, as the name suggests, replenishes your supply of certain reproductive hormones.
The North American Menopause Society reports that, “Hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness,” and we concur.
We can deliver these hormones in several ways, largely depending upon your symptoms. For example, if vaginal dryness is your chief complaint, we may recommend vaginal estrogen therapies alone, which help restore health to your vaginal walls.
If you’re struggling with a wide range of symptoms, we may recommend hormone replacement therapies, which take a more system-wide approach to balancing your hormones.
You can combat the side effects of perimenopause and menopause on your own in several ways. As an example, to maintain the health of your vaginal tissues, sexual activity is important, as it signals your body to continue to send in resources.
We can also help you come up with a plan to offset other unwelcome side effects through relaxation techniques, limiting certain substances like caffeine and alcohol, and exercise.
The bottom line is that, while this transition is inevitable, there are many ways in which we can ease the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
To learn more about your treatment options or to schedule an appointment, contact one of our two locations in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia.