Understanding Menopause

Menopause is a natural part of aging. Most women stop having periods between 44 and 55. Some may experience menopause earlier due to medical treatments (e.g., chemotherapy and radiotherapy), autoimmune diseases, and chromosome abnormalities

Aside from certain conditions and treatments, smoking can also increase your likelihood of experiencing menopause earlier, as smoking cigarettes depletes your body of estrogen.

Although all women go through it, menopause comes with unpleasant symptoms that can persist for years. To help you out, we asked our experts at Bethel Family Medicine about how menopause manifests itself and under what circumstances you may benefit from hormone therapy.

Menopause symptoms 

Menopause symptoms vary from woman to woman, but most experience the following:

Less common symptoms include hair loss, weight gain, and brain fog. Synthetic or bioidentical hormones can’t reverse menopause, but they can help manage the symptoms. 

Symptoms management 

For some women, menopause symptoms are mild and easily manageable with a few lifestyle tweaks. 

Other women experience more severe symptoms that may prompt medical attention. Hormone replacement therapy benefits women who entered menopause early and women who experience severe symptoms. 

Having a relative with osteoporosis may also make you a good candidate for hormone treatments, as estrogen can help maintain bone density. Hormone treatments have also been shown to decrease the incidence of heart disease in some women. 

Hormone treatments can be administered via a patch, a cream, or a pill. The hormone treatment may last a few years or until the menopause symptoms go away. 

Some women who can’t tolerate hormone treatments may benefit from taking certain antidepressants that are shown to help with hot flashes and night sweats. 

Find out if you're a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy 

Women suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, or liver disease, as well as women who have a history of blood clots and reproductive cancer, may not be good candidates for hormone replacement therapy. However, as long as you’re in good health, you can greatly benefit from hormone treatments for your menopausal symptoms.

As with any treatment, there are both risks and benefits. Thankfully, you don’t have to make the decision on your own. 

Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms and concerns with our experts at Bethel Family Medicine. Together, we can come up with a treatment plan that makes sense for your long-term health and short-term goals.

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