Menopause is a natural life stage encountered by all women, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. It is characterized by the cessation of menstruation for 12 consecutive months. The term "perimenopause" denotes the phase surrounding menopause, marked by the onset of symptoms as women transition through this period. While menopause may be an easy transition for some, it can be very difficult for others. The decline in hormonal levels brings about a range of commonly observed symptoms, including alterations in menstrual patterns, occurrences of hot flashes, changes in weight, mood fluctuations, shifts in sleep patterns, feelings of fatigue, discomfort during intercourse, vaginal dryness, issues with sexual function, and changes in hair density. This process unfolds gradually over several years, during which various physiological changes take place.
Hormonal changes contribute to a range of transformations in a woman’s body which may or may not be evident during the transition including:
- Increase in abdominal and visceral fat, making it more difficult to achieve weight reduction.
- Vasomotor instability (hot flashes).
- Reduction in collagen, which provides the infrastructure for elastin, hyaluronic acid, and other skin components that make up the extracellular dermal matrix.
- Genitourinary syndrome of menopause, which include changes to the labia, introitus, vagina, clitoris, bladder, and urethra.
- Memory impairment and other cognitive changes.
- Joint pain.
- Rates of bone loss are highest at the time of menopause. On average, women experience a decline in bone density ranging from 10% to 12% over the menopausal transition.
- Palpitations, elevated blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, and heightened insulin resistance may occur.
There are a number of FDA-approved pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic options, as well as dietary and lifestyle modifications that can be adopted to alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy, deemed safe and highly efficacious, stands as a suitable treatment avenue for appropriate candidates.
The North American menopause society (NAMS) is the leading organizational body dedicated to promoting health and quality of life of women in midlife and beyond. NAMS certified menopause providers (NCMP) have completed a competency examination giving distinction of expertise in this field. We will work with you to help you better understand this transition with the goal of empowering you to make informed decisions about your health. We offer individualized evidence-based treatment tailored to your personal symptom experience and medical history, with the goal of optimizing your quality of life.
To set up an appointment with Jana Magarian, NP, NCMP, please call the office during regular business hours at 401-848-0022 or schedule via our website under “Patient consultation/Midlife”.