Although each woman’s experience before, during, and after menopause is unique, chances are you’ll experience hot flashes, and at least half of all women experience vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Dr. Jacqueline Bracy understands the diverse physical and emotional challenges that arise during menopause, and is here to work with you, offering therapies ranging from laser restoration of vaginal tissues to hormone replacement therapy. To get help managing menopause, call the office in Glendora, California.
Menopause Q & A
Each woman reaches menopause in her own timing, but the average age is 51. It’s important to know that your hormone levels begin to fluctuate in the 3-5 years before menopause, a stretch of time that’s called perimenopause.
As estrogen levels cycle up and down during perimenopause, you’ll start to experience changes in your periods. They may be heavier, lighter, longer, or shorter than your usual menstrual cycles.
You reach menopause when you stop ovulating (releasing an egg from your ovaries) and estrogen and progesterone stay at permanently low levels. You’ve officially transitioned into menopause when you don’t have a menstrual period for 12 straight months.
The symptoms associated with menopause can start any time during perimenopause and continue for many years after your periods stop. This journey is different for each woman. Some have few or mild symptoms, while others struggle to sleep or keep up with daily responsibilities because their symptoms are so severe.
You may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Pain during intercourse
- Low sex drive
- Frequent urination
- Urinary tract infections
Estrogen has a lot of responsibilities throughout your body, where it helps many different tissues stay healthy and work properly. As a result, you’re more susceptible to several health concerns after menopause.
Estrogen helps maintain elasticity in tissues in your blood vessels, urinary tract, and vagina. This means you’re at a higher risk for heart disease, urinary tract infections, and vaginal atrophy.
Vaginal atrophy occurs as blood flow and lubrication in your vagina decrease. The tissues lining your vagina thin out and become dehydrated. As a result, sex is painful, and you may have itching and burning.
Your risk for osteoporosis significantly rises in the years after menopause, because estrogen is needed to regulate bone metabolism. Dehydrated, aging skin also worsens due to low estrogen.
Dr. Bracy works individually with each woman, developing a treatment plan based on your symptoms, age, and overall health. She may talk with you about lifestyle changes to relieve hot flashes and mood swings, or recommend estrogen placed inside your vagina to help relieve atrophy.
Dr. Bracy also offers one of today’s most advanced treatments for vaginal atrophy — gentle laser treatment with the MonaLisa® Touch, which rejuvenates and restores vaginal tissues.
You may benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is safe and effective for most women. HRT restores hormone levels back to normal, which eliminates menopause symptoms and prevents body-wide problems such as osteoporosis.
Dr. Bracy is available to help you manage the physical and emotional challenges of menopause for the long run, so call the office today.
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