Menopause is an experience every woman has to go through, and for many women, it can be a difficult, distressing time. Barbara Grazette, MD, of Women & Adolescents Gynecology Center in Edina, Minnesota, is an experienced OB/GYN with specialist expertise in helping women with symptoms of menopause. Find out how Dr. Grazette can help you make the transition to menopause as stress-free as possible by calling the clinic today, or book an appointment online.
Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life when she stops having periods. For most women, this happens on or a few years either side of their 51st year, and it signals the end of her ability to become pregnant.
Menopause is confirmed when you haven’t had a menstrual period for 12 months. The trigger for menopause to begin is the ovaries slowing down production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, and from then until menopause is confirmed the patient is in a transitional phase known as perimenopause.
Estrogen production starts to fluctuate during the late thirties and forties, which causes changes in the menstrual cycle. The cycle may become irregular, skip periods, or the flow rate changes. Although in most cases these are typical symptoms of perimenopause, one should always get the symptoms checked out by Dr. Grazette at Women & Adolescents Gynecology Center to rule out other causes. Other symptoms of perimenopause include:
Some women feel few effects during perimenopause, but for others, it can be a difficult time with severe symptoms that affect their quality of life.
Estrogen does have protective properties that you lose when hormone levels drop. The risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke increases, and reduction in bone density may be rapid in the years following menopause, making some women vulnerable to osteoporosis and fractures as they age.
It’s important to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle during and after menopause, to reduce the risk of serious health problems.
Making healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a varied, well-balanced diet, taking regular exercise, adding supplements such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3 and finding ways to relax effectively all contribute to your well-being during perimenopause.
If you’re experiencing problems such as vaginal dryness or painful sex, lubricants and vaginal estrogen creams can help, but for severe symptoms, the most effective treatment is hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
HRT helps by replacing the estrogen lost during perimenopause, reversing and reducing the typical symptoms of lowered estrogen levels. If you haven’t had a hysterectomy, estrogen in combination with progesterone protects the uterus from developing cancer.
You can take HRT pills, use a skin patch, gel, or spray, or have an HRT implant. Dr. Grazette discusses the options with you at your consultation and talks to you about the possible risks of HRT. She also needs to assess your suitability, because some women aren’t good candidates; for example, if you have ever had a deep vein thrombosis or breast or uterine cancer, she will advise you not to take HRT.
There are several other potential treatments for your perimenopausal symptoms, including:
Dr. Grazette also offers MonaLisa Touch® laser therapy to help restore the function of vaginal tissues and relieve many of the symptoms of menopause including vaginal dryness, atrophy, painful intercourse, and incontinence.
To book an appointment with Dr. Grazette and get menopause treatment, call Women & Adolescents Gynecology Center today, or use the online booking tool.