Menopause

Understanding Menopause and its Effects

You have heard from friends the many changes you may experience during menopause. Our team understands the physical and emotional changes that women face during this transition phase in life.

Menopause is defined as any consecutive 12 months wherein a woman no longer experiences menstruation. While menopause can occur anywhere between ages 40-50 in a woman's life, the American average is typically 51 years of age.

Many women fear that menopause will signal an end to their sex lives. While menopause signals an end to menstrual cycles and the ability to conceive, women can still enjoy sexual vitality as long as they wish. Our doctors and nurses will be by your side to help you through these changes.

Signs and Symptoms of Menopause

While everyone's experience of menopause is unique, you may experience some or all of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Vaginal dryness or tenderness
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia or somnolence
  • Mood or emotional fluctuations
  • Slowed metabolism
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Thinning hair or skin
  • Changes in breast tissue

At your visit, we will determine which lab tests will reflect your individual case. We may also run thyroid labs at this time as the thyroid can be involved in menopause.

In addition to thyroid testing, we may also perform:

  • Lipid screenings
  • Colonoscopy
  • Mammography
  • Breast exam
  • Pelvic examination

Other Health Considerations to Think About

Estrogen is implicated in more than reproductive processes. When estrogen levels naturally decline, you may also experience these health concerns:

  • Urinary incontinence may occur because of decreased vaginal elasticity. You may be prescribed a cream or pill to assist with this issue, but please visit our urogynecology information page to learn more about how we can help manage urinary incontinence.
  • Weight gain can occur during and following menopause. While metabolism naturally slows during this time, we will perform thyroid and insulin testing to rule out other related health concerns.
  • Sexual function may change, and dryness may occur. We know this can be embarrassing to discuss, but please let us know; we can help. Water-based, natural lubricants along with prescriptive hormone creams may be suitable for your use.
  • Osteoporosis may ensue. We will monitor bone density with bone density testing to help you prevent significant bone loss. When estrogen decreases, bone loss may occur. We may prescribe a form of estrogen replacement depending on your circumstances, offer nutritional counseling, exercise program advisement that includes weight bearing exercise and calcium supplementation.

Preparing for Your Visit With Us

At your visit, we will discuss:

  • If you are still menstruating or if not, when your last menstrual period took place
  • Are you experiencing any overt symptoms of menopause?
  • Is there anything that makes your symptoms improve or worsen?

We look forward to helping guide you through this natural transition. Please do not hesitate to make an appointment with us to learn the best ways to manage your health if you think you are experiencing menopause.

About SC OBGYN

For over 50 years, our practice has provided gynecological and pregnancy-related services to women in the Columbia SC area of all ages. By offering comprehensive women's health services in our offi...
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