Menopause… A New Beginning
WHAT IS MENOPAUSE? Menopause is a natural biological change in a women’s life cycle, not a medical illness. It is the time in your life when you stop having your monthly period.
WHAT CAUSES MENOPAUSE? Menopause begins naturally as your ovaries make fewer hormones. Eventually your ovaries do not produce enough hormones and menstrual periods stop.
DOES MENOPAUSE HAPPEN OVERNIGHT? Natural menopause does not happen all at once. It usually takes three to five years. Menopause is complete when a woman has not had a period for twelve months in a row.
WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN? Every woman is different. Many women start menopause around age 45, some start in their 50’s, a few start in their 30’s.
- Natural Menopause-most women go through menopause slowly over a few years.
- Surgical Menopause- some women have an operation to have their ovaries removed. They go through menopause all at once.
HOW WILL I KNOW I AM GOING THROUGH MENOPAUSE? Before natural menopause your body will give you clues for one to two years or longer.
- Changes in periods-missed periods, periods more often, bleeding between periods, bleeding much less or much more than usual.
- Hot flashes-feelings of heat in the face and upper part of the body, comes on fast and usually lasts for a few minutes, can cause to sweat a lot. During the night they can make it hard to sleep.
- Sleep disturbances
- Vaginal dryness-can cause itching and painful sex
- Mood changes-feeling sad or cranky-you might feel sad or cry more often.
- Weight gain
- Aches in your bones
- Forgetfulness or trouble focusing
WILL ALL THESE THINGS HAPPEN AT ONCE? Usually not, changes affect everyone differently.
WHAT CAN I DO TO FEEL BETTER?
- Do not smoke
- Exercise regularly
- Staying cool during hot flashes
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get plenty of sleep
- Take care of your bones
1200-1500 mg of Calcium
400-800 IU of Vitamin D
- Do Kegal Kegal excercises exercises to improve bladder control
- Talk with your doctor or health care provider about comfort measures to relieve vaginal dryness
- Make time for yourself, talk to family and friends
- Learn new ways to relax
- Laugh a lot
- Stay healthy and active
- Get regular check-ups
DO I NEED TO SEE MY DOCTOR? See your doctor or health care provider regularly. They can be a big help as you go through menopause.
DO I NEED TREATMENT? Many women will not need treatment, but just as many get relief from many of the menopause symptoms with treatment. Talk with your doctor or health care provider and develop a plan of care that is best for you.
For more information on Menopause please call our office to make an appointment to speak with one of our physicians or go to www.LGHealth.org/menopause. To speak to a menopause educator, call the Lancaster General Health Wellness Center at (717)544-3809.
References and Resources:
1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. www.mayoclinic.org
2. National Women’s Health Resource Center.
3. The North American Menopause Society. www.menopause.org
4. The American congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AGOG).