What To Expect During Menopause – Symptoms & Treatment

Filled with confidenceWhile menopause is a normal part of aging for women that occurs between the ages 45 and 55 years, not all women know what to expect when their ovaries stop producing eggs and the menstrual cycles dwindle, eventually coming to a complete halt.

The medical definition for menopause is when a woman has not had a menstrual cycle for 12 months. During this transition, there is reduced production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which is what causes the periods to become increasingly irregular until they stop, resulting in multiple physical and psychological symptoms in women.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of menopause usually appear in the perimenopause phase, which is several years before you reach menopause. Different women experience different symptoms, and to varying degrees. That said, there are some that are more common among many women, indicating the approach of menopause and beyond. These include:

  • Hot flashes – about 75 percent of women have reported an increase in temperature due to changes in estrogen level. It usually leads to sweating.
  • Mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and occasional memory loss – some women occasionally find it hard to concentrate or remember things, which may cause reduced self-esteem or depression.
  • Mild incontinence – some women experience reduced bladder control during peri-menopause and beyond, leading to minor cases of urine leakage, like when sneezing or laughing.
  • Changes to appearance – decreasing levels of estrogen hormone lead to increased wrinkling and other physical changes, such as thinning hair, loss of breast fullness, and increased abdominal fat.
  • Sexual changes – lower estrogen can also caused reduced vaginal lubrication or dryness, which may cause painful intercourse. Additionally, reduced blood flow to your sexual organs may cause lower sensitivity.
  • Sleep disturbances – around 40 percent of women have reported different types of sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea, or difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Irregular periods – changes to your menstrual cycles typically occur before completely stopping. They may become shorter, longer, lighter, or heavier.
  • Fatigue or joint pain.

Some women may also experience chronic medical changes due to the changes in their bodies. Possible menopause-related complications include weight gain, cardiovascular disease, incontinence, and osteoporosis.

Treating the Symptoms

Women who have reached menopause usually experience more severe symptoms than those approaching it (perimenopause), usually due to the complete lack of estrogen. Some of the symptoms can be managed by replacing the missing estrogen, but the symptoms should resume once you stop taking the drugs.

The simplest way to manage the symptoms is by staying in good health. This entails:

  • Regular exercising – 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity
  • Healthy eating habits – take a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D, and avoid sugars, oils, and saturated fats.
  • Getting enough sleep – exercise, avoid caffeine, and use relaxation techniques.
  • Lifestyle changes – stop smoking.

Maintaining a varied diet is particularly important after menopause. Consume whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Dairy products are good for calcium, while 20 minutes of sunlight should provide you with vitamin D to help the body absorb calcium.

How to Make Your Mother Feel Special on Mother’s Day!

mother's day ideas 2015Mother’s Day is a very special day that was created roughly 150 years ago to honor all Mothers for their dedication and hard work in raising children – because if you’ve ever done it you know just how tough it really is! With that said, it’s only right to give them thanks and praise on this special day.

After all, your Mother is the one who delivered you (with the help of an OB/GYN of course!), as well as raised you over the years – put up with your defiance, trouble, and everything else. ☺

A Few Gift Ideas to Consider

Most of us buy our gifts last second and that’s not a problem! It’s still the thought that counts, correct? Here are a few of my own personal recommendations from experience over the years.

Edible Arrangements

Similar to a bouquet of flowers, but can be eaten! Mothers love their chocolate, too. My personal favorite: Shari’s Berries. There are many other varieties of edible arrangements that Mom would love – a Google search will guide you in the right direction.

Spa Gift Cards

This one’s a winner. Moms love it – and it’s much better when you accompany them! It gives you an excuse to get away, as well as giving your Mother an excuse to take a much needed relaxing break.

Hiring a Maid

You may laugh at this one, but let me tell you: it’s a great idea. If you have a Mother who cleans house often, then hiring a maid service for even just a day will make her happy. That one day can be spent cleaning the entire house – saving her a week of time she can now spend doing what she would like to.

An Evening Dinner

Taking your Mom out to a nice evening dinner is another winning option. It means she doesn’t have to spend time cooking and worrying about whether or not her new dish will be a crowd favorite – which is very stressful to some. It doesn’t have to be fancy either.

There are plenty of other ideas not listed here, but above any gift you may get your Mother – nothing is better than simply spending time with her. It’s very thoughtful, while also being cost-effective. A win-win situation, really.

Happy Mother’s Day from the team at Dr. Torbati’s OB/GYN office!