What is Menopause?
Menopause is the natural process when you stop having menstrual periods, usually in your 40s or 50s. It also can happen before then, due to surgery, some cancer treatments or certain health conditions. Whether it’s caused medically or comes naturally, menopause signals the end of your reproductive years. Menopause is a transition that comes in three stages: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.
While embracing your next stage, don’t let the symptoms of menopause hold you back. Partner with Sanford Health's team of providers to learn about menopause, and get a care plan that matches your symptoms and other concerns.
Signs of menopause include:
- Hot flashes or night sweats
- Irregular period or bleeding
- Sleeping difficulties
- Weight gain
Treatments for Side Effects of Menopause
Hormone Replacement Therapy
If menopause symptoms become unbearable or start to negatively impact your everyday life, you and your primary care provider may discuss hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
HRT replaces the hormones your body is no longer naturally producing to reduce your discomfort.
HRT may be given in a variety of ways, including:
- Skin patches
- Estrogen cream
- A class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)
Risks of HRT depend on the treatment option you choose, the dose, how long you take it and your preexisting health risks.
It’s common to experience changes in your sex drive and the way your body acts during sex following menopause.
The decreased amount of estrogen your body is producing may lead to a significant drop in your libido. Some of the symptoms you may develop include:
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Vaginal dryness
- Inability to orgasm
- Inability for penetration
Estrogen pills and creams can relieve vaginal dryness and restore elasticity. Personal lubricants can also be a key tool in reducing pain and dryness during sex.
Vaginal rejuvenation provides relief for painful menopausal symptoms.
Staying Healthy During and After Menopause
Your provider can help you create a plan for exercise, nutrition and more. At Sanford Health, we will work together with you on a step-by-step plan to live a healthier life. We will teach you the tools to create change in your life and reach your health goal – whether it's drinking more water, eating healthier, sticking to an exercise program or achieving a healthy weight.
Living healthy can be a challenge when you have work, family and everyday events to focus on. Take time to focus on you and have others encourage you to keep it up.
Exercise in Midlife
Hormonal changes can cause weight gain, emotional distress and loss of bone mass. Increasing your physical activity can help address many of the health concerns that come with menopausal hormonal changes.
While being physically active has countless benefits, it’s important to discuss new exercise programs with your primary care provider before you try them. Your provider can help you choose an exercise program that will work best for you.
Diet in Midlife
As you come to this new phase in your life, your body’s nutritional needs will change. For example, you should increase your daily calcium intake. Calcium is key to preserving bone mass and reducing your chances of developing osteoporosis. Vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption and building bone tissue. However, too much vitamin D or calcium can cause constipation, abdominal pain or kidney stones.
Navigating your body’s new dietary needs might sound a little overwhelming. Sanford Health’s nutritional experts are here to help make sure your diet meets all your nutritional needs.
Mental Health in Midlife
Even if you have never experienced depression or mood swings before, it is common to have changes in your mental health during menopause.
Hormonal fluctuations along with uncomfortable physical symptoms and normal life stressors can become overwhelming. See Sanford Women’s for a specialist who knows that your mental and emotional needs are as important as your physical ones.
Bone Density Screenings for Osteoporosis
Hormonal changes can cause loss of bone mass.
Sanford Women’s offers bone density screenings to let you know how your bones are doing now, and preventive care to keep your bones strong.
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