Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States. Menopause is a natural biological process, but the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy or affect emotional health. There are many effective treatments available, from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy.
Perimenopause which is the months or years leading up to menopause, you might experience these signs and symptoms: Irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, chills, night sweats, sleep problems, mood changes, weight gain and slowed metabolism, thinning hair and dry skin, and loss of breast fullness. Symptoms, including changes in menstruation, are different for every woman. Most likely, you’ll experience some irregularity in your periods before they end. Skipping periods during perimenopause is common and expected. Often, menstrual periods will skip a month and return, or skip several months and then start monthly cycles again for a few months. Periods also tend to happen on shorter cycles, so they are closer together. Despite irregular periods, pregnancy is possible. If you’ve skipped a period but aren’t sure you’ve started the menopausal transition, consider a pregnancy test. Menopause is a natural process with treatments that focus on symptomatic relief. Vaginal dryness can be treated with topical lubricants or estrogens. Certain medications can be used to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes. In special circumstances, oral hormone therapy may be prescribed.
If you are having problems with symptoms of menopause Dr. Whiteley encourages you to schedule an appointment to have your case evaluated and so arrangements can be made to customize your care for your personal needs.