Menopause is the time when a woman stops having her monthly menstrual period. It is a natural stage of life, but can also be brought on by surgery and certain medical treatments. Induced menopause has the same symptoms as natural menopause, but can be more intense.
Dignity Health Central California provides comprehensive, personal gynecological care. Regardless of the condition, we treat every woman with a philosophy of care, dignity, and respect. If you have started menopause in Central California, Find a Doctor to help you navigate this important life change.
What Causes Menopause?
Every month, a woman’s levels of progesterone and estrogen — her two main sex hormones — rise and fall. These changes trigger ovulation and menstruation. With age, these changes become less predictable. Menopause occurs when these hormones settle at low levels and ovulation and menstruation stop. At this point, a woman is postmenopausal.
Menopause usually begins with a transitional period called perimenopause. Some, but not all, women have symptoms during this time. Perimenopause can last up to eight years.
Doctors consider menopause to have occurred once a woman hasn't had a period in one year. This usually happens around age 51 for women who do not smoke and an average of two years earlier for women who do.
Menopause Symptoms Treated at Dignity Health Central California
Signs of menopause start in perimenopause and can continue during postmenopause. Since estrogen and progesterone affect processes throughout the body, menopause symptoms can vary. They include:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Decreased sexual desire or response
- Vaginal dryness and painful sex
- Thinning bones (osteoporosis)
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
Hormone Replacement Therapy & Other Menopause Treatments
Menopause can’t be cured because it is a normal stage of life. However, your doctor can help you manage symptoms during this time. For some women, hormone replacement therapy is very effective at controlling menopause symptoms. Your personal and family medical history will help you decide if it’s right for you.
There are a number of other treatments that may help reduce uncomfortable symptoms:
- Keep your room cool at night, using a fan, and having an ice pack ready for night sweats.
- Use small fans, sip cold drinks, and dress in layers during hot flashes.
- Eat healthy, get regular exercise, and maintain a healthy weight.
- Establish a sleep schedule and nighttime routine.
- Practice stress management and relaxation techniques to help with mood changes and anxiety.
- Get regular sexual stimulation to help maintain vaginal blood flow and health.
- Use vaginal moisturizers and lubricants to ease dryness.
- Use medications such as antidepressants to manage symptoms and help with mood swings.
- Work with your doctor to maintain bone health and monitor bone density status.
At Dignity Health Central California, we understand that your body’s changes during menopause can be uncomfortable and a little scary. Talk to your doctor about ways to control your menopause symptoms today.
Dignity Health Central California offers personalized care and support for women during menopause in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.