Living with Menopause
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
Menopause is defined as a woman's last menstrual period. The average age for this event is 51, but there are changes that occur several years before. As early as the late 30's, women begin a gradual transition from the "reproductive" years into menopause and beyond. Initially, generally, the changes are subtle including mood or libido changes and minor cycle irregularity. As one gets into the late 40's, the more obvious changes like hot flashes and night sweats become more prevalent. In addition, almost all women go through metabolic changes that commonly lead to weight gain in the premenopausal years.
After menopause or the last period, there are both short and long term symptoms that can be troubling. Managing menopause is complex. I am frequently asked "Can I have a blood test to see if my symptoms are due to menopause?". Rarely is a blood test needed or helpful, as I tell patients that I can answer their question better by listening to them than drawing their blood.
The key to living with menopause for any woman is understanding what is happening, what to expect and what can be done about it. A big part of my role is to counsel patients as to the potential for improvement in the quality of their lives without increasing risk to their health. This involves a discussion about hormone replacement options.
Just as every woman's experience is unique, the management of this time of life must be individualized with special attention to a woman's goals and concerns as we try to improve her quality of life.