Menopause Care

What is Menopause?

Menopause is the natural process when you stop having menstrual periods, usually in your 40s or 50s. It can sometimes happen earlier 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 comes in three stages. Perimenopause is the transitional time around menopause when you may start to notice some symptoms. Menopause is when menstrual periods stop completely. Postmenopause is the time after menstrual periods have stopped for a year and indicates a new phase of life.

Signs of menopause include:

  • Chills
  • Hot flashes or night sweats
  • Irregular period or bleeding
  • Irritability
  • Low sexual desire or pain
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Weight gain

Menopause Management & Side Effect Treatments

While embracing your next stage, don’t let the symptoms of menopause hold you back from the possibilities. Partner with Sanford Health’s team of providers to learn about menopause and get a care plan that matches your symptoms and other concerns.

Hormonal Changes

During menopause, your body goes through major hormonal changes. Sometimes, this can cause symptoms that may start to negatively impact your everyday life. Your primary care provider can discuss treatment options with you.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

One treatment option is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT works by replacing the hormones your body is no longer naturally producing, which can reduce your discomfort.

HRT may be given in a variety of ways, including:

  • Pills
  • Skin patches
  • Estrogen cream
  • A class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)

Risks vary based on the dose, how long you take it and existing health risks. Talk with your provider about the risks and benefits of this treatment for you.

Sexual Intimacy

It’s common to experience changes in your sex drive and the way your body acts during sex following menopause.

Your body is producing less estrogen, which may lead to a significant drop in your libido. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Pain during 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 may also provide relief for painful menopausal symptoms.

Diet & Exercise

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.

Additionally, hormonal changes can cause weight gain and emotional distress. 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.

Mental Health

Even if you have never experienced depression or mood swings before, mental health changes during menopause are common.

Hormonal fluctuations along with uncomfortable physical symptoms and normal life stressors can become overwhelming. Our specialists know that your mental and emotional needs are as important as your physical ones.

Find Mental Health Support

Integrative Health

As your body is undergoing changes due to menopause, consider integrative health. Integrative medicine is a patient-centered, evidence-based and holistic approach to care that can provide support and symptom management during this time.

Discover More About the Benefits of Integrative Health

Bone Density

Hormonal changes can cause loss of bone mass.

Sanford Health offers bone density screenings to let you know how your bones are doing now and helps you plan for how to keep them strong.

Learn More about Menopause

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