Silver Cross Medical Group Doctor Offers Insights on Menopause
No matter what the season – the coldest days of winter or a blazing hot summer day – hot flashes don’t discriminate and often come without warning. If you’re a middle-aged woman, you may know the feeling: that sudden feeling of warmth that envelopes your core and then spreads outward and upward to the face and head.
Hot flashes often cause sweating and a red face. If you lose too much body heat, you might even feel chilled afterwards.
Besides hot flashes, mood swings and irregular periods are other symptoms a woman experiences as she’s going through “the change of life”, or menopause. “Menopause is the time when your periods stop permanently, and you can no longer get pregnant,” explains Dr. Reshma Relwani , DO, FACOI, internal medicine doctor on staff at Silver Cross Medical Group in Lemont.
Before The Change
As your body prepares for menopause, which typically begins in a woman’s mid-to late 40s, you may notice some changes, especially with your period. You may start having heavier or irregular periods during this time.
“Even though you may know you are approaching menopause, don’t assume you can’t still get pregnant,” Dr. Relwani advises, “Be sure to ask your doctor when is a good time to cease the use of birth control, whatever forms you use.”
The transition into menopause is called perimenopause and may last up to four years before periods fully stop. You have reached menopause once you have been period-free, this includes spotting, for 12 months in a row.
To understand the symptoms you may feel, it’s important to know that during menopause, your hormone levels are changing within your body, causing various symptoms which include:
- Hot flashes – sudden feelings of heat; some ladies may even get red blotches on the upper body
- Vaginal dryness – which can make sex uncomfortable
- Irregular periods – less frequent, more frequent, heavier and/or lighter
- Problems sleeping
- Becoming forgetful or having trouble focusing
- Urinary problems – Inopportune leaks while sneezing or coughing
- Mood changes
- Depression and anxiety
- Osteoporosis – Having less estrogen after menopause can cause you to lose bone mass more quickly than prior to menopause.
The best part of menopause for most women is that you will no longer get a period, however if you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should get in to see a doctor right away.
“It is not normal to experience vaginal bleeding after menopause – it can actually mean you have a serious health concern,” Dr. Relwani advises. “However, the normal symptoms you may experience now instead of period symptoms are vaginal dryness, low hormone levels and unfortunately, hot flashes.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Relwani, call 630-257-5400.