Menopause

Menopause Specialist
Every woman experiences menopause differently. Some women have mild symptoms that only last a few months, while others suffer through years of hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. The team at Tidewater Physicians for Women listens to your experiences and creates a plan uniquely suited to your health needs. This may include hormone replacement therapy, lifestyle interventions, or other appropriate options. If you’re approaching menopause, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment.

Menopause Q & A

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the time before menopause when estrogen levels begin to drop and menstrual cycles become irregular. Many women enter perimenopause in their 40s, but it can begin as early as your 20s. While this phase usually lasts three to five years, its length is different for each woman.

Most women begin to experience the classic, menopause-related symptoms during perimenopause:

  • Hot flashes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Night sweats
  • Low sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Mood changes such as irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Breast tenderness
  • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome
  • Urinary problems such as urgency or leakage when coughing or sneezing

What Menstrual Changes are Signs of a Serious Problem?

When your periods become irregular, it’s hard to know if an unusual period may be a sign of an underlying health problem. Contact your doctor at Tidewater Physicians for Women immediately if you experience any of the following during perimenopause:

  • Periods that are very heavy or accompanied by blood clots
  • Periods that last several days longer than usual
  • Spotting between periods
  • Spotting after sex
  • Periods occurring close together

When Do You Reach Menopause?

After a year without a menstrual period, menopause has been reached. While estrogen levels fluctuate during perimenopause, causing irregular periods, hormones stabilize at a low level and periods stop once you’ve reached menopause. You may experience the same symptoms of perimenopause after hormone loss in menopause, yet you need to be aware of your levels as low estrogen increases your risk for heart disease and osteoporosis.

How are Menopause Symptoms Treated?

Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective way to treat the symptoms caused by perimenopause and menopause. Hormone replacement may also prevent bone loss and fractures due to osteoporosis. Your doctor at Tidewater Physicians for Women will consider your age and medical history to determine if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.

We have a team of compassionate experts at Tidewater Physicians for Women dedicated to supporting your transition through menopause. Whether you need hormone replacement therapy, preventive care, or treatment for changes in sexual function, our physicians, nurse practitioners, and licensed professional counselor are available to help guide the way.

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