Mid-Life Transitions & Menopause

 Menopause, defined as no menstrual period for 1 year, occurs on average at age 51, however, it can come earlier or later.  Some women have no symptoms except for cessation of their periods.  Others struggle with insomnia, moodiness, hot flashes and vaginal dryness.  This physical transition often occurs when many women are already balancing social responsibilities to children, aging parents, and work.  "Personal tropical vacations", fatigue from insomnia, and irritability make this even more challenging.  Thankfully, there are hormonal and nonhormonal medical treatments for those who suffer.  Even those who find the transition easy, need to be more mindful of their overall general health.  Weight gain often accompanies menopause in those who do not exercise and cardiovascular risk rises at this time.  Bleeding between periods, heavier menses, and bleeding that occurs over 1 year from the last cycle can all be warning signs of serious disease and need further evaluation.  While some vaginal dryness is fairly common, painful intercourse can be averted medically.  Severe vaginal itching and irritation warrant an exam as they may be symptoms of concerning disease.  Be sure to inform your physician if you suspect any of these symptoms at your annual exam.

Menopause is not pathololgic but is a physiologic reminder that we are all in a process of transformation.  We sometimes forget that age can be a blessing.  Women who "pause" and reflect on this, are often more creative, productive and joyful than ever before.  We recommend "Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul at Midlife" for inspiring and humorous personal stories.  The American College of OB/GYN has a reputable website that we often recommend: http://www.pause.acog.org

Please contact us today to schedule your appointment!