Menopause Treatment in Homewood, AL
Menopause is the term used to describe the loss of ovarian follicular function (fertility) and menstruation in women, which occurs 12 months after a woman's last period. Most commonly a result of the aging process, menopause typically impacts women between the ages of 40 and 58, but can begin as early as a woman's mid-30s.
Menopause can also occur due to surgery (e.g., hysterectomy) or other medical interventions like cancer treatments. Certain medical condition like ovarian scarring and polycystic ovarian syndrome—or lifestyle behaviors like over-exercising—can cause amenorrhea, which is the cessation of menses. However, when those conditions are addressed, menstruation normally commences again. Other medical conditions like premature ovarian failure can cause early menopause that is permanent.
Menopause treatment aims to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with menopause, along with identifying and treating underlying health concerns which may exacerbate your menopause symptoms. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Homewood that specializes in menopause treatment, call (334) 781-7319 or contact Alabama Functional Medicine online.
Stages of Menopause
Menopause is a gradual process during which you may experience many physical, emotional and hormonal changes. While you are encountering symptoms of menopause, you are also undergoing changes in your body due to aging.
Typically, as you enter your 30s and 40s, your ovaries start making less estrogen and progesterone and your fertility experiences a decline. Your periods may become lighter or heavier, shorter or longer, more or less frequent, and your PMS symptoms like breast tenderness may increase, until your period finally ceases and you officially enter menopause. There are four stages of menopause:
- Pre-menopause: A broad term which describes a woman during her reproductive years where her menstrual cycle occurs regularly
- Perimenopause: The 3-5 years before menopause that causes a woman's estrogen levels to drop
- Menopause: A period of life a woman enters when she experiences her last menstrual cycle
- Post menopause: The phase in a woman's life that begins after her last menstrual cycle
Symptoms of Menopause
Depending on medical issues you are facing, as well as your particular genetic makeup, the hormonal shifts of menopause can cause a wide-ranging host of symptoms. Your lifestyle choices, as well as midlife transitions and stressors, all feed into your menopausal symptoms. Each woman will have a unique experience of menopause. In perimenopause—which can last for months or even years—the transition commences and this is when the "classic" symptoms of menopause occur:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Urinary issues
- Joint and muscle pain
- Hormone imbalances
- Difficulty concentrating and memory lapses
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Loss of breast fullness
- Changes in libido
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Elevated heart rate
These symptoms may continue through the transition of menopause and into post menopause. You may still get pregnant during perimenopause. Not until your periods have stopped for one year can you be considered in menopause and no longer fertile.
Decreased estrogen levels in post menopause can cause increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. It is also important to note that bleeding in post menopause should always be brought to the attention of your doctor as it can be a symptom of cancer in your reproductive system.
Seek Menopause Relief
Menopause does not require treatment but you will likely need help addressing the symptoms and risk factors during this stage of your life. Your healthcare professional can treat some of the extreme symptoms of perimenopause and monitor your health for postmenopausal concerns like heart disease, depression, weight gain, osteoporosis or decreased libido. Your menopause treatment plan may include:
- Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to replace estrogen and progesterone
- Vaginal estrogen or platelet-rich plasma injection to help with vaginal dryness or incontinence issues
- Medication to treat underlying medical conditions like depression and osteoporosis
- Medication to reduce hot flashes, address migraines or even help with mood swings
- Certain lubricating products for vaginal dryness
Options for Natural Menopause Treatment
For many women, the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause are best controlled through natural lifestyle approaches. Your healthcare provider will likely have you focus on these aspects of your life: diet, physical activity, stress management and dietary supplement use.
Incorporating a healthier diet is just one natural menopause treatment that can bring greater menopause relief than you would guess. A menopause diet should include:
- Organic fruits and vegetables
- Fermented dairy
- High-fiber foods including nuts, seed, legumes and beans
- Lean protein
- Phytoestrogenic foods like flax and chia seed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, green beans, celery and rhubarb
- Healthy fats from avocado, grass-fed butter or ghee or fatty fish
- Foods high in magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin D and zinc
It is also important to limit sugar, sodium and alcohol consumption or anything extremely spicy to alleviate hot flashes and reduce bloating.
Menopause weight gain is a significant concern for many women. Regular physical activity, particularly aerobic and strength exercises, during the menopausal years can reduce the likelihood of becoming obese and can help improve your sleep quality, energy levels and mood. Weight-baring activities can help to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Unfortunately, stress and mood fluctuations during menopause are par for the course for many women. This can result in depression, anxiety, fatigue and a reduced sex drive. In order to combat these emotional symptoms of menopause, employ stress reduction techniques like acupuncture, meditation and any other activities which restores your sense of calm.
If you fail to get enough nutrition through diet alone or seek specific nutrients known for their menopause symptom-reducing qualities, high quality, physician recommended supplements can aid in your menopausal relief. Your healthcare provider may recommend several different dietary supplements known to either optimize women's health overall, or are known to reduce your symptoms. These menopause supplements include:
- Vitamin D3 and K2
- Black cohosh
- Licorice root
- Dong quai
- B vitamins
- Evening primrose oil
Menopause is a natural part of the aging process for women, but you don't have to relinquish your wellbeing to your menopause symptoms. Request more information about menopause relief and your treatment options today. Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Alabama Functional Medicine online.
Alabama Functional Medicine
Address7040 Sydney Curve
Montgomery, AL 36117
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