The treatment and management of menopausal symptoms depend on the individual woman’s experience. There are many different treatment options available depending on symptoms, with the overall goal being the long-term health of menopausal women.
Healthy living, complementary and herbal therapies, menopausal hormone therapy, and other medications may help with symptoms. In most cases, many women can cope with mild symptoms and don’t need any extra therapies or medications. If symptoms start affecting your quality of life, though, you’ll want to seek advice from our doctors.
Symptoms of Menopause
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, doctors should look for several symptoms that could mean a woman has reached menopause. Some of these symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Irregular or abnormal periods, including changes in flow and length
- Difficulty sleeping
- Headaches or migraines
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
Vasomotor symptoms, like hot flashes and night sweats, and vaginal symptoms are common in most menopausal women. In general, these tend to last or get worse during the first year after menopause, but over time they fade away for postmenopausal women.
Is testing required to diagnose menopause?
Usually, your doctor will be able to diagnose menopause without needing special tests. You may not need to see your doctor about menopause symptoms unless you find them to be disruptive to your life.
Menopause doesn’t mean the end of your annual exams, though! Postmenopausal women are at increased risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and other women’s health issues.
What are the treatments for menopause?
As a natural part of growing older, you most likely won’t need treatments for menopause unless the symptoms become significant and start causing you distress. If your symptoms become too great, some treatments could help.
The first step is to make sure that you have a healthy lifestyle. Not only does healthy living reduce your symptoms, but it also reduces your risk of heart disease and other conditions.
Make sure that you eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet, get regular exercise, limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, and reduce your stress levels. Most of all, if you smoke, stop now! Quitting your smoking habit will reduce hot flashes and other long-term health risks.
For severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend hormone therapy to treat menopausal hormone imbalances and other therapies for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms.
One important note is that women should exercise caution when it comes to black cohosh, and herbal treatment you may find on the internet. The Food and Drug Administration warns women that preliminary research shows that black cohosh may increase the risks of breast cancer and liver failure.
Also, remember that you can still become pregnant until you reach menopause, so to prevent an unplanned pregnancy it’s recommended that you keep using birth control until you’ve had an entire year free from a period.
If you have questions about menopause management or any symptoms you may experience,
please contact our office via phone, email, or schedule an appointment online.