Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Menopause

The Onset of Menopause

As a woman ages she will go through menopause. The average age for menopause is 51 but perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause can begin in the 30s and 40s. 

A common sign for perimenopause is a change in your menstrual cycle; they may become longer or shorter, lighter or heavier, or you may skip periods. 

There are some obvious menopause symptoms (many women experience no symptoms) including:

  • Hot flashes: a sudden heat sensation rushing across your upper body and face. It may last a few seconds or several minutes and can occur as often as many times a day to as infrequently as a few times a month. Hot flashes can occur at night (night sweats) and may wake you up or disrupt your sleeping.
  • Sleep problems: perimenopause may cause insomnia, or may cause you to wake long before your usual waking time. 
  • Vaginal and urinary tract changes: Vaginal dryness (from the decrease in estrogen), vaginal infections, urinary tract infections may increase during perimenopause. There are several over-the-counter products that can ease vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse. 

Reduced Estrogen Levels and Menopause

As your body stops producing estrogen, you will lose bone mass more rapidly. If too much bone is lost, you are at an increased risk for osteoporosis and have a much higher risk for bone fractures, especially of the hip, wrist and spine. 

Reduced estrogen levels has also been associated with an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Hormone therapy can help ease perimenopause and menopause symptoms, protect you from bone loss, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Other medications have shown potential in helping with symptoms, including antidepressants and some plant and herbal supplements.  

At USF Health, we can help you find relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. 

To schedule an appointment call (813) 259-8500.

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