Menopause marks the end of the ovaries' major functioning. This transition, which commonly occurs between the ages of 40 and 55, differs widely between women. The average age that women go through menopause is at 50 1/2 years old. Symptoms can occur in a +/- five-year time span of reaching menopause. As women approach menopause, medically defined as 12 consecutive months of not having a menstrual period, their hormone levels fluctuate. During peri menopause, menopause symptoms can last months or years. During this time, hormone imbalances can cause uncomfortable, and sometimes severe symptoms. Among the most common are: hot flashes, bladder control issues, vaginal dryness and pain with diminished sex drive, joint and muscle pain, headaches, mood swings, depression, fatigue, insomnia, and heart palpitations. Once a woman becomes postmenopausal her symptoms frequently ease on their own. Even women who reach menopause symptom-free should have annual OB/GYN check-ups. The decrease in estrogen that accompanies menopause puts all women at greater risk for numerous health issues, such as osteoporosis and heart disease, that are more effectively managed or cured with early diagnosis.
Formerly referred to as “vaginal atrophy,” genitourinary syndrome refers to such conditions as – vaginal dryness, burning, painful intercourse, urinary frequency and recurrent bladder infections – that result from the loss of estrogen in menopausal women. It is important to note that genitourinary syndrome includes more than vaginal atrophy. It encompasses any problems that occur with aging. Women must understand that the muscle support structure of the genital area also ages and may produce genital prolapse.
Each patient is different. Dr. Mayhew is versed in the full scope of treatment options and creates individualized programs to meet each woman’s unique needs. Among the options that may be used are:
All women should continue to have annual checkups post menopause due to the increased likelihood of genital cancers with age.
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