For most women, menopause is a natural process of aging. Menstrual periods gradually stop. The ability to become pregnant ends. Some women feel relief that their childbearing years are ending. But other women struggle with the physical and emotional changes that come with menopause.
For most women, menopause happens around age 50. But every woman's body has its own timeline. Some women stop having periods in their mid-40s. Others keep having periods well into their 50s.
And some women go through menopause early because of cancer treatment or surgery to remove the ovaries.
Some women have only a few mild symptoms. Others have severe symptoms that disrupt their sleep and daily lives. Symptoms tend to last or get worse the first year or more after menopause. Over time, hormones even out at low levels. Many symptoms improve or go away. But some women may have symptoms that don't go away.
If you have mild symptoms, you may get some relief if you eat healthy foods, exercise, and lower your stress. Some women choose to take medicines if they have severe symptoms that aren't helped by making changes to their lifestyle.
If your symptoms are severe, talk with your doctor. You may want to try prescription medicines, such as:
All medicines for menopause symptoms have possible risks or side effects. A very small number of women develop serious health problems when taking hormone therapy. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your possible health risks before you start a treatment for menopause symptoms.
You can try:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: October 13, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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