Menopause is a natural event which marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life. All women will experience the menopause as they age, and it usually happens after age forty, with an average age of fifty-one. When a woman goes through the menopause before age forty, it is called premature menopause.
Premature menopause is most often the result of surgery, for example, hysterectomy or removal of the ovaries, or because of medical treatment such as chemotherapy. Natural menopause begins with the perimenopause when the ovaries make less estrogen and periods become increasingly erratic. A woman is considered to be in menopause when it has been a year since her last period.
Many women, when approaching the menopause, will experience hot flashes, often accompanied by sweating. Some women experience severe hot flashes, while others have relatively mild symptoms. Other possible symptoms include fatigue, depression, headaches, irritability, mood swings, and insomnia.
As estrogen levels decline, it can cause long-term health problems. After menopause women are more at risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, weaker vision, vaginal dryness, poor skin elasticity and muscle power and tone, bladder weakness, and there is an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Diagnosing the Menopause
Usually, there is no need for diagnostic tests as the signs and symptoms of menopause are clear enough. However, in certain circumstances, midtown doctor of Manhattan Primary Care Center may suggest blood tests and which can check the following:
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and levels of estrogen. As menopause occurs, FSH levels increase, and estrogen levels decrease.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) as sometimes the symptoms of menopause are similar to hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid.
It is possible to purchase over-the-counter tests and which can tell you if you have higher FSH levels. However, levels rise and fall during the menstrual cycle, and these tests alone cannot tell you that you are definitely in menopause.
Menopause Treatment in NYC
Menopause is a naturally occurring event that requires no medical treatment, but our top doctors in NYC can provide help in managing your signs and symptoms. This can also help to prevent or manage chronic conditions that can occur with aging. Possible treatments are listed below.
Hormone therapy is one of the most effective menopause treatments available and can relieve hot flashes. Before prescribing estrogen therapy, New York doctors will need your family and personal medical history and will most likely recommend the lowest dose and shortest timeframe needed to provide relief. Progestin is prescribed with estrogen for women who still have their uterus.
Using estrogen can help prevent bone loss, but long-term hormone therapy does carry some risks of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. However, beginning hormone therapy around the time of the menopause has proven to be beneficial for some women. We can discuss the possible risks and benefits of hormone therapy so you can make an informed decision as to whether this is the right choice for you.
If you have vaginal dryness, estrogen can be applied directly to the vagina using a tablet, cream, or ring. These release a small amount of estrogen that is absorbed directly into the vaginal tissues and which can help to relieve dryness. This treatment can also help to relieve some urinary symptoms.
Some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can decrease hot flashes and may be useful for women who cannot take estrogen or for women who need an antidepressant for mood swings.
This is traditionally used to treat seizures, but can also help reduce hot flashes. It is another drug that is useful for women who cannot use estrogen therapy and can help those who have nighttime hot flashes.
This is a pill or patch normally used to treat high blood pressure but which can also help provide some relief from hot flashes.
If required as part of your menopause treatment, we may recommend medications to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Vitamin D supplements can help strengthen bones.
Self-help strategies can be a useful part of menopause treatment and can help prevent or reduce the effects of many of the signs and symptoms of menopause. If you suffer from hot flashes, make sure you drink plenty of cool water and dress in layers. It can be useful to try and pinpoint what triggers your hot flashes.
Some women find their hot flashes are worsened by caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages. Make sure you get enough sleep, and you may find it helpful to practice relaxation techniques. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with exercises called Kegel exercises can help to improve urinary symptoms. Regularly exercising will protect you against heart disease, osteoporosis, and other problems associated with aging.
There are alternative medicines that claim to treat the symptoms of menopause, including dietary and herbal supplements. If you do wish to use these products, please discuss them with us first as the FDA doesn’t regulate herbal products. Some can interact with other medicines and could put your health at risk.
Menopause Treatment Plan for Patients in NYC
Our doctors can help manage your signs and symptoms as well as to prevent or manage chronic conditions that can occur with aging. Possible menopause treatments are: Hormone Therapy, Vaginal Estrogen, Low-Dose, Antidepressants, Gabapentin, Clonidine, Osteoporosis Treatments.
Please make an appointment with one of our menopause specialist in Midtown Manhattan or Upper East Side. Our primary care, internal medicine doctors look forward to meeting you!