As you approach perimenopause or enter menopause, it’s important to know that you’re not alone in experiencing symptoms that can be uncomfortable and even distressing. As with menstruation, it’s an experience unique to being a woman that isn’t always the most fun. But with an understanding of the symptoms and why they occur, you can survive menopause.

What is Menopause?
When a woman doesn’t have a period for 12 months in a row, she’s officially reached menopause. During menopause, the body slows production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. According to the CDC, menopause naturally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Some women experience menopause early because of medical procedures to remove the ovaries, or because of chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

What does it feel like?
Some women don’t experience symptoms outside of simply no longer getting a period. But most women experience hot flashes. Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of warmth and flushed skin, usually in the face and upper extremities. Womenshealth.gov warns that women may also experience mood changes, vaginal and urinary problems, and loss of interest in sex. Some of the problems with sex can be related to the walls of the vagina thinning and becoming dryer due to hormonal changes.

What can you do about it?
There’s no way to avoid menopause symptoms entirely, but many women opt to use hormone therapy to help offset symptoms. Be sure to discuss the benefits and risks of hormone therapy with your physician. Hormone therapy can help with symptoms but it may also only delay menopause, lead to bone loss or increase your risk of breast cancer.

What about natural remedies?
Women experiencing menopause symptoms can experience relief simply through living healthier. Get enough sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. By taking care of your body, you can help work through symptoms like irritability, sleep disruption and mood swings. Quit smoking, limit alcohol use and talk to your health care provider about natural remedies that may assist you during menopause.

North Hills Hospital is here to assist women with their medical needs at every stage of their life. If you are suffering with menopause symptoms and want to know your options, call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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