Relief From Symptoms; Support for Life
This is no time for you to suffer from hot flashes, sleep disturbances or mood swings. You have a life to live and right now, you may have more time and resources to enjoy it! So count on Capital Women's Care Howard County to help you get past those changes and back to living your life to the fullest.
There's no one answer for menopause... just your answer. Trust in our doctors and staff to develop a treatment plan based on your unique needs. Our treatment plan may include bioidentical hormone therapy, herbal remedies, alternative remedies and lifestyle changes – they are all viable options. Trust the providers at Capital Women’s Care Howard County to find the ones that work best for you, all with the understanding and support that we know you will welcome.
Menopause is defined as the cessation of a woman's menstrual cycle for an entire year. It signals the end of fertility. "The change" generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. It can start as early as 35 or as late as 65 years of age. It can also result from the surgical removal of both ovaries. The physical and emotional signs and symptoms that go with the change usually span one to five years or more (perimenopause). They vary from woman to woman. The changes result from a number of factors that include hormone changes such as estrogen decline, the aging process itself and stress.
Physical signs and symptoms:
- Hot flashes are sudden waves of heat that are more common in the evening and during hot weather. They can hit as often as every 90 minutes. Each one can last from 15 seconds to 30 minutes – five minutes is average. Up to 80 percent of women in menopause experience hot flashes, though some are more bothered by them than others. Sometimes heart palpitations accompany hot flashes.
- Irregular periods can include periods that get shorter and lighter for two or more years, periods that stop for a few months then start up again and are more widely spaced, or periods that bring heavy bleeding and/or the passage of large blood clots. This can lead to anemia.
- Vaginal dryness is the result of hormone changes. The vaginal walls also become thinner. These problems can make sexual intercourse painful or uncomfortable and can lead to irritation and increased risk for infection.
- Loss of tone in the pelvic floor musculature can result in stress incontinence (leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise).
- Headaches, dizziness.
- Skin and hair changes. Skin is more likely to wrinkle. Facial hair may appear, along with thinning hair in the temple region.
- Muscles lose some strength and tone.
- Bones become brittle, increasing the risk for osteoporosis.
- Risk for a heart attack increases when estrogen levels drop.
- Mood changes.
- Lack of concentration, difficulty with memory.
- Tension, anxiety, depression.
- Insomnia, which may result from hot flashes interrupting sleep.
Reduce the discomfort of hot flashes with these tactics:
- Wear lightweight clothes made of natural fibers.
- Limit or avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol.
- Avoid rich and spicy foods and heavy meals.
- Drink cool beverages, especially water, when you feel a hot flash coming on and before and after exercising. Avoid hot drinks.
- Keep cool. Open a window. Lower the thermostat when the heat is on. Use air conditioning and/or fans. Carry a small fan with you (hand- or battery-operated).
- Try to relax when you get a hot flash. Getting stressed out only makes it worse.
- Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, biofeedback or yoga.
- Take 400 international units of vitamin E daily, but consult your doctor first.
Combat night sweats (hot flashes that occur as you sleep):
- Wear loose-fitting cotton nightwear. Have changes of nightwear ready.
- Sleep with only a top sheet and no blankets.
- Keep the room cool.
Eliminate vaginal dryness and painful intercourse:
- Don't use deodorant soaps or scented products in the vaginal area.
- Use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly to facilitate intercourse. Avoid oils or petroleum-based products. They encourage infection.
- Ask your gynecolist about intra-vaginal estrogen cream.
- Remain sexually active. Frequent sex may reduce the chance of vaginal constriction, help keep natural lubrication and maintain pelvic muscle tone. This includes reaching orgasm with a partner or alone.
- Avoid using antihistamines unless necessary. They dry mucus membranes in the body.
Ease emotional symptoms:
- Exercise regularly to help maintain your body's hormonal balance and preserve bone strength.
- Talk to other women who have experienced menopause. You can help each other cope with emotional symptoms.
- Avoid stressful situations as much as possible.
- Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, soft music and massages.
- Eat a healthy diet. Check with your doctor about vitamin/mineral supplements.
Treatment for menopause symptoms varies from woman to woman. If your symptoms cause little or no distress, you don’t need medical treatment. Alternative therapies such as botanicals, acupuncture and clinical herbology may be helpful for mild to moderate symptoms. Some women may need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to relieve many symptoms of menopause. HRT may also offer significant protection against osteoporosis. We highly recommend that you discuss the risks and benefits of HRT with your medical provider.
Get answers to your questions and concerns about menopause at Capital Women’s Care Howard County. Call 410-531-7557 or use our online Request an Appointment form to make an appointment. Our menopause patients come to us from Ellicott City, Fulton, Laurel, Maple Lawn and Columbia in Howard County, MD and close-by communities.