The official start of menopause occurs 12 months after your last menstrual period. While the average age of menopause for American women is 51, it can happen anytime during your 40s and 50s. Natural menopause results from a decline in reproductive hormones. The ovaries make estrogen and progesterone in lower quantities, typically starting in your late 30s.
During perimenopause, the years where you’re transitioning into menopause, your periods may become lighter or stronger, shorter or longer, and the duration between them may fluctuate, including months where you may have no period at all. Other symptoms will likely appear including:
Whether you need to treat any of these symptoms depends mostly on how much they interfere with your daily life.
If any of your menopausal symptoms are causing discomfort or distress on a regular basis, talk with Dr. Ramos about possible solutions. For example, if you suffer from vaginal dryness, but have few other symptoms, applying estrogen creams, tablets, or rings directly to the vagina may be a better treatment than oral hormone therapy.
Hot flashes sometimes respond to certain low-dose antidepressants, even if you have no depression symptoms. Similarly, an anti-seizure medication called gabapentin also reduces hot flashes.
Estrogen treatments are the most effective way to relieve a range of menopause symptoms. While there is a statistical increase in the occurrence of side effects when using hormones, for many women the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Dr. Ramos treats genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) using a laser treatment called MonaLisa Touch®.
If you have symptoms of GSM, including dryness of the vagina and vulva, with accompanying itching and pain experienced during intercourse or urination, MonaLisa Touch can help. It’s a simple in-office treatment that requires no anesthesia and no downtime.
The MonaLisa Touch treatment provides rejuvenation in the vagina and vulvar areas, restoring this tissue to a fuller, more youthful state, and often bringing relief of menopausal symptoms after the first treatment. Dr. Ramos plans a treatment schedule with you, but many women benefit from three sessions, spaced six weeks apart.
*Individual results may vary.
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