A consideration of menopause:
I hear valid concerns & frustrations about menopause every day.
- “Why can’t I sleep?”
- “My kids/spouse/co-workers are driving me crazy!”
- “I just don’t feel like myself anymore!!!”
What does the term menopause even mean?
- Menopause is the time when menstrual periods stop due to a decline in ovarian estrogen production.
- Menopause is defined retrospectively; which is to say, that it is defined after a stretch of time without periods.
- Perimenopause is the ill-defined time frame, ranging from months to years, leading up to menopause.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Menopausal & perimenopausal symptoms can be mild or debilitating and vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
- Irregular periods leading to the cessation of periods
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased libido
- Mood changes and irritability
- Weight fluctuation
- Sleep disturbance
- Trouble with concentration
- Skin dryness
- Bladder symptoms
- Etc., etc., etc.
What can I do about it?
Treatment of symptoms should always be individualized and tailored to unique symptoms. A thorough evaluation of your individual risk is essential.
Treatment options include:
- Supportive care with changes in diet and exercise
- Over-the-counter supplements
- Sleep treatment
- Low-dose antidepressants
- Hormone therapy
A brief word about hormones. Hormone therapy is confusing and somewhat scary. There are many conflicting recommendations and it can be hard to understand your options. The bottom line, however, is that: Hormones are just hormones, they are not “good” or “bad” and treatment with hormone therapy can be extremely beneficial for the right patients.
- Estrogen is the mainstay of therapy.
- Progestin therapy can also help with symptoms and is essential in people who still have a uterus to prevent endometrial cancer.
- Testosterone therapy can be useful in many circumstances.
- All forms of hormone therapy come in multiple formulations.
- Hormone therapy carries some risks. A thorough discussion with your health care provider is essential to find the right course of treatment.
What hormones are best?
- There is no perfect treatment or “one size fits all” plan.
- You may benefit from different options, depending on your symptoms.
- We can provide individualized treatment and have partnerships with Regel PharmaLab and BioTE Medical to provide access to specially compounded creams and sub-cutaneous pellet treatment to provide access to the most cutting edge options.
What should I do?
Going through menopause can be stressful and challenging, but it is also liberating. Most people can navigate the “change” successfully with support and care. Finding a compassionate health care provider who will listen to your concerns and discuss treatment options is essential. At Modern Gynecology & Reproductive Health, we have extensive experience and familiarity with the treatment of menopausal symptoms and would love to participate and partner with you to help you glide through this time. We are one of the very few practices in Memphis to offer the most innovative treatment options. Come visit with us to discuss your care and get on the path to feeling like yourself again!
Susan Lacy MD FACOG
Dr. Susan Lacy is the founder of Modern Gynecology & Reproductive Health & MORE Aesthetics.