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How do I know I am entering Menopause? 

What is menopause? 

Natural menopause occurs after a woman has experienced 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause occurs at a median age of 52 years in normal women and is a reflection of complete or near complete ovarian follicle depletion.

During menopause, there is a decreased level of circulating estrogen, which can cause many of the uncomfortable symptoms related to menopause which include sexual dysfunction, vasomotor symptoms including hot flashes and decreased libido. Long- term consequences of decreased estrogen include bone loss and cardiovascular disease. 

It is important to note that after menopause you should no longer have episodes of menses or vaginal bleeding. If you have experienced this, it is imperative you see your doctor for further evaluation and workup. 

It is also important to note that these signs and symptoms may be caused by other etiologies other than menopause, including medication side effects, thyroid disorder, depression, anxiety, vaginal infections, pelvic organ prolapse, vitamin deficiencies. It is important to speak with your doctor about any other medical problems you have. 

How does menopause affect my bone health? 

Bone loss typically begins during the menopausal transition. The annual rate of bone mineral density loss is highest during the one year before the last menstrual period through two years after the last menstrual period. Bone loss after menopause can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis, which is why it’s so important to screen for fracture risk with Bone Density Scan after menopause. 

What are some ways I can prevent bone loss? 

Engaging in weight bearing exercises after menopause can help to promote bone health. Low weight bearing exercises such as walking with ankle weights can help to increase your overall bone strength. Also, maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D and calcium is also important in maintaining healthy bones. 

How does menopause affect my cardiovascular system? 

The risk of cardiovascular disease increases after menopause and is directly related to estrogen levels post- menopause. Estrogen serves as a protective factor in cardiovascular health, which is why cardiovascular risk increases in females as estrogen falls after a woman reaches menopause. It is of the utmost importance to continue your cardiovascular screening to help prevent the progression of cardiovascular disease. 

What are some ways menopause is treated? 

Depending on the type of symptoms you are experiencing and where you fall on the spectrum of menopause; there are various treatment options which range from conservative treatment approach to prescribed medications. 

Schedule your appointment at Ross Medical Group with Dr. Nicole Ross D.O. for your full evaluation!

Author
Nicole A. Ross, DO Family Medicine

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