Regular visits to your primary care doctor and gynecologist are essential for your underlying health, but certain conditions may still arise even with these scheduled checkups. While menopause is most common in women in their fifties, four out of every 100 women develop an early form of this condition. Although each woman experiences different signs and symptoms of early menopause, proper understanding is key to ensuring your receive the correct form of treatment. Using this guide, you will understand the signs of early menopause and learn how to improve the physical and emotional changes of this condition.
Signs of Early Menopause
Menopause begins with the halting of a woman's menstrual cycle. This marks the end of a woman's reproductive period. If you experience the following signs before the average age of menopause, you may be in early menopause:
- Irregular Periods
- Vaginal Dryness
- Decreased Libido
- Rapid Changes in Mood
- Hot Flashes
- Overly Dry Hair and Skin
- Dry Mouth
- Bladder Discomfort
- Difficulty Controlling the Bladder
It is important to note that the above signs could stem from other medical issues. Be sure to consult your gynecologist to determine if you are going through early menopause.
Diagnosing Early Menopause
At your appointment, tell your gynecologist every symptom you are experiencing. This will include issues affecting your menstrual cycle, sexual health, and emotional well-being. If you have not had a period in 12 months, you have most likely gone through menopause. However, your gynecologist will first administer a urine test to ensure you are not pregnant.
Your gynecologist will also test the pH levels of your vagina to determine if you are in menopause. PH levels are around 4.5 during the reproductive years, but if the pH level is at 6, you are most likely in menopause.
Other tests may be necessary to effectively determine if you are in menopause. Blood samples may be taken to test hormone levels. Since menopause increases the production of follicle-stimulating hormones while decreasing the production of estrogen, these blood tests can give an accurate diagnosis.
Treating the Emotional and Physical Changes of Menopause
There is no cure for menopause, since it is a natural, unavoidable change of life. However, you can ease any emotional and physical stress and discomfort associated with menopause.
Incorporating more exercise into your daily routine is beneficial. Exercise is proven to increase the brain's production of endorphins, which flood your body to improve your mood.
Following a well-balanced diet is smart for your underlying health, but it can also decrease the physical and emotional effects of early menopause. Consider adding a multi-vitamin, designed for women, to your daily routine.
Be sure your multi-vitamin includes vitamin E, which can reduce hot flashes, and vitamin C, which will improve your vaginal health by decreasing dryness. Calcium is also important, since this can reduce your risk of bone loss. Lastly, add magnesium to your supplement schedule. Magnesium is effective for reducing anxiety and other mood fluctuations.
HRT, or Hormonal Replacement Therapy, is also an option to ease the symptoms of early menopause. This therapy replaces the estrogen and progesterone lost during menopause.
Replacing estrogen by taking a pill, wearing a patch on the skin, or applying a topical cream is the most effective form of hormone replacement therapy. The addition of estrogen will reduce hot flashes and night sweats while easing vaginal dryness and discomfort.
Combining exercise, a healthy diet, and hormone replacement therapy can reduce the emotional and physical symptoms of your early menopause. This will allow you to live a more fulfilling life without the worry of discomfort and stress.
Going through menopause is challenging, but experiencing early menopause can be even more overwhelming. Using this guide and the help of your doctor, you can understand and ease the symptoms of early menopause. For more information, speak with experienced doctors at a clinic like Central Iowa OB/Gyn Specialists, PLC.