Menopause is defined as the time in your life when it’s been a whole year since your last menstrual period. At that point, your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs for good, and have produced most of their store of the hormone estrogen.
Perimenopause is the period in the years before you reach menopause, when your estrogen levels significantly decline. While most women in the United States reach menopause around the age of 50, perimenopause can begin much earlier.
The hormonal changes your body goes through during perimenopause and menopause can put you through the wringer, both physically and emotionally. Symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats make it hard to get comfortable, and impacts like vaginal dryness and weight gain can put a dent in your self-esteem and personal life.
At Longoria OBGYN, Dr. Leonardo A. Longoria and our team support new and existing patients going through this transitional period in their lives from our office in El Paso, Texas.
Even if you’re not interested in hormone treatment, Dr. Longoria can still help you keep your balance through menopausal changes, with recommendations to ease your uncomfortable or undesired symptoms.
Hormone treatment and menopause
Many of the symptoms of menopause occur due to lowered levels of the hormone estrogen in your system. One of the common treatment options for menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), supplementing your hormone levels to rebalance your system.
However, you may prefer to move through menopause without using hormone treatments. And, women with previous hormone-dependent cancer shouldn’t use HRT. Talk to Dr. Longoria about the pros and cons of HRT for you.
Managing menopause symptoms without HRT
If you can’t or don’t want to use HRT to manage your menopause symptoms, Dr. Longoria helps you work out lifestyle, alternative, and other medical approaches to maintain your comfort and quality of life. For instance:
- Cutting back on alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, and quitting smoking, can minimize your hot flashes
- Exercising regularly can reduce your risk of weight gain, as well as symptoms of hot flashes and disrupted sleep
- Weight-bearing exercises can reduce your risk of menopause-related osteoporosis
- Wearing loose clothing and increasing ventilation in your sleeping area can minimize the disruption of night sweats
- Managing stress can relieve mood swings, and practices like tai chi and yoga can help you maintain calm and relaxation
- Lubricants and moisturizers can help with vaginal dryness
- Minimally invasive procedures and physical therapy can help with menopause-related urinary incontinence
You may also be able to reduce hormonal symptoms like hot flashes with nonhormonal medications, including Tibolone and some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
For a full range of support with your menopause and perimenopause symptoms, get in touch with Dr. Longoria and the team at Longoria OBGYN today. Schedule your consultation online, or call our office to book.