Gynecology Services

 

Menopause Care

 

Menopause Care

Menopause occurs when the ovaries no longer produce eggs.  The result is a gradual decline in the hormones generated by the ovaries, namely estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.  The term, menopause, means "a year without a period".  Once a woman goes one year without any bleeding, she is considered postmenopausal.  The effects of this natural phenomenon vary from individual to individual.  Many women have no problems with "the change of life".  Others have severe hot flashes and night sweats, leading to sleep disturbances, daily fatigue, and moodiness.  A decline of estrogen may be associated with other symptoms, such as depression, a change in weight distribution from the breasts and buttocks/thighs to the midline, and vaginal dryness leading to pain with intercourse.  A decline of progesterone may be associated with mood disorders, sleep disturbances, and sometimes breast tenderness.  The majority of a woman's testosterone is made from her ovaries, and persists for up to 5 years after the start of menopause.  It may be associated with a change in hair growth, energy, and sexual desire.

The long-term effects of low estrogen has been shown to decrease bone density, leading to osteoporosis.  The highest rate of bone loss occurs within the first 3-7 years of menopause.  As we age, other diseases become more prominent, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  It used to be thought that hormones might help to improve the cardiovascular effects of these diseases, but we know that this probably is not the case after review of the Women's Health Initiative (initially published by the NIH in July of 2002).

At the turn of the 20th centruy, most women did not live past 55 years of age.  Now, many women are leading productive lives well into their 80s and some well into their 90s.  It is therefore important for women to take good care of themselves since they spend 1/3 of their lives past menopause.  Eating a diet enriched with calcium, monosaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins with limited red meats help decrease cardiovascular disease and stabilizes insulin levels leading to healthier levels of sugar and cholesterol in our systems.  Dietary supplements with calcium citrate 500 mg along with vitamin D 400 IU, will enhance the strength of the bones.  Cardio exercise will help to keep the heart muscle strong, along with weight bearing exercises to improve the integrity of the bones.  It is also important at this time to cease activities that are unhealthy, such as cigarette smoking, or drinking excess alcohol.  And whether one works outside the home, is retired, or has always remained in the home, it is important to find activities that allow for socialization and interaction with others, in order to decrease the isolation that many people feel as they age, especially if their children no longer live nearby, or if their spouse should become deceased.

The providers at AOA would like to see that our patients enter into menopause with empowerment and joy, looking forward to many healthy and productive years ahead.  They will be happy to visit with you, and discuss your personal healthcare needs and individual requirements to help you in your journey.

 

Click here for more information. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)