In my role as a primary care doctor, I am able to support my patients through all stages of life. For the women I take care of in my practice, menopause is an important phase that brings about many changes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), menopause is a normal shift in a woman’s life when reproductive organs stop producing hormones and there has not been a period for 12 consecutive months. It typically takes place between 45 to 55 years old.
From lifestyle modifications to medications, there are many steps those experiencing menopause can take to ease into the changes their bodies are undergoing.
Manage changes through healthy lifestyle choices.
Many of my patients who are undergoing menopause ask how they can manage both mental and physical changes, like hot flashes, mood swings, and more. A few simple solutions include maintaining a healthy diet, incorporating supplements where needed to fill in nutritional gaps, and staying active through an exercise you enjoy.
Menopause can be stressful, so it's important to find healthy ways to manage that stress. A few recommendations I share with my patients include:
- Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.
- Stay socially active. Spending time with friends and family, joining clubs or groups, and volunteering can all help you stay connected and engaged.
- Take time for yourself to do things that make you feel good, which can help you feel better during this time of change.
Stay consistent with preventive screenings.
No matter what stage of life you are in, prevention is key. It's important for women to discuss their individual health risks with their doctor and to follow their recommendations for preventive care. By staying up to date with recommended screenings, women can take an active role in their health and potentially prevent or detect health issues early. For my patients going through menopause, I encourage them to complete all necessary screenings that impact women, including bone density, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.
Talk to your primary care doctor about medications that can support the transition.
Medication can be a helpful tool when navigating menopause. Some potential prescriptions may include hormone therapies to combat hot flashes or other symptoms. Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) involves taking hormones, usually estrogen and progesterone, to replace the hormones that the body is no longer producing in sufficient amounts. MHT is only recommended for women younger than 60 and at low risk of heart disease and breast cancer. It is not suitable for those with a history of breast cancer, heart disease, deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE) or stroke, active liver disease, unexplained vaginal bleeding, high-risk endometrial cancer, or transient ischemic attack.
Other medications that may be helpful in managing menopause symptoms include low-dose antidepressants, which can help alleviate hot flashes and improve sleep. It's important to discuss these options with your primary care provider to determine what's right for you.
As a primary care doctor at Village Medical, I get to work together with our pharmacy team at Walgreens to make sure patients are adhering to their medications. With just a short walk through the door to Walgreens, I’m able to connect with a pharmacist to discuss my patients’ needs, considering their overall health and individual risk factors.
Nothing makes me happier as a doctor than working with my patients over time and seeing them respond to a treatment plan. If you have been struggling with menopause or any other life changes, I encourage you to learn more about Village Medical and schedule a visit on our website to find a primary care provider near you.
Written by Village Medical