Menopause is not a disease; rather it is an inevitable chapter in a woman’s life. Some of the emotional and physical changes which occur can be bewildering and uncomfortable. At Women’s Healthcare of Princeton (WHP), we strive to understand what is most bothersome to you, and to offer treatment options which work for you. Our clinicians are all experts in Menopause, having completed additional training and certification by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS.org). We have a holistic and yet progressive approach to menopause, utilizing complementary and alternative therapies as well as traditional medical options to treat menopausal symptoms.
Menopause is the biological process that marks the end of female fertility. It’s set into motion by a decline in the production of estrogen and progesterone, the reproductive hormones that control menstruation and make pregnancy possible.
Although these hormone levels begin to decline sometime in your late 30s, menopause doesn’t usually occur until you reach your late 40s or early 50s. In the United States, the average age for menopause is 51.
Menopause officially starts 12 months after your final menstrual cycle. For women who undergo a total hysterectomy, or surgery that removes the uterus and both ovaries, menopause begins without any type of transitional phase. This is called surgical menopause. Many women believe any hysterectomy will lead to menopause, but this is not the case. Importantly, if the uterus is removed but the ovaries are retained, patients are not surgically menopausal. Although menopause indicates the end of your fertility, it doesn’t have to affect your vitality, sexuality, or health.
As you transition into menopause, you may experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms directly related to the decreasing levels of reproductive hormones, including:
Some women also experience drier skin, thinning hair, and loss of breast fullness. The physical symptoms of menopause also may lead to lower energy levels or give rise to feelings of sadness and loss.
Yes. The hormonal shifts brought on by menopause can increase your risk of developing certain health problems. Two of the most common health complications associated with menopause is urinary incontinence (UI) and significant weight gain.
Because lower estrogen levels can accelerate loss of bone density which in turn increases your risk of bone fractures, development of osteoporosis is a major concern after menopause. Reduced estrogen levels also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death among adult women.
Because it’s a natural process, menopause doesn’t require medical treatment. You may seek treatment for menopause-related symptoms, however, if they interfere with your daily life or affect your health.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or the supplementation of reproductive hormones that your body no longer makes, is used to address the symptoms and health risks associated with menopause. Low-dose systemic estrogen, which comes in the form of a pill, skin patch, gel, cream, or spray, can help:
*To learn about the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause, click here
*Individual results may vary