Menopause may be a natural “fact of life”, but that doesn’t mean it’s free from symptoms. In fact, most women experience some symptoms during menopause, and many women experience significant symptoms that take a toll on their quality of life. At My OB/GYN, Dr. Helen Salsbury and her nurse practitioner, Selena Hodgers, help women in and around Pembroke Pines, Florida, get the care they need to manage and relieve their menopause symptoms and even help reduce the health risks associated with menopause.
Menopause happens when your body no longer produces the same amount of estrogen and progesterone as it does during the childbearing years. It’s a natural occurrence, but that doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant and doesn’t come with “side effects” for your health. Most women start to experience some of these “side effects” and symptoms in their 40s, with periods ending in their early to mid 50s. Strictly speaking, the term “menopause” refers to the time of life when you no longer have your periods. A woman is in menopause when she hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months. The time leading up to menopause is actually called perimenopause, but most women refer to the entire time - from the moment symptoms begin until after periods end - as menopause.
Menopause can cause lots of symptoms, and not every woman experiences the same set of symptoms. Plus, symptoms can vary over time and they can also vary in severity. The most common symptoms include:
Some women may have very few symptoms, while others experience symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with daily activities.
Some symptoms, especially mild symptoms, may be treated individually. For instance, vaginal dryness can be treated with medications, lubricants or estrogen-based suppositories to relieve discomfort and even promote natural lubrication. A holistic and functional medicine approach would include eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and losing excess weight, which can help relieve some symptoms as well as certain vitamins and herbal hormonal balancing. Other times, especially when symptoms are severe, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and bio-identical hormones can help by treating multiple symptoms. HRT products and bio-identical hormones are available in different forms allowing you to select an option that works best for your needs.
It is very safe. It can be given in traditional formulations through prescriptions such as pills, patches or vaginally. Hormone replacement therapy can also be given by bio-identical hormone compounding. Compounding is a customized hormone product that a patient can take orally, by patch or with skin creams. Dr. Salsbury has spent decades working with both types of hormone formulations and finding the right solution is an art Dr. Salsbury is highly competent in achieving.