There’s a reason why menopause used to be called “the change of life”: Aside from puberty, menopause ushers in perhaps the most significant changes in a woman’s life, both physically and emotionally.
Menopause is more than just an end to your periods. The decline in estrogen affects you in plenty of other ways, too — ways that can be hard to fathom until you’re right in the middle of them.
As a leading medical practice in San Pedro, California, Harbor Community Health Centers offers comprehensive gynecological care for women in menopause and perimenopause (the months and years leading up to menopause). Seeing a gynecologist regularly during this stage of life is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy.
About 1.3 million women enter menopause every year in the United States. Most are between 51-52 years old, but a small percentage of women enter menopause in their 40s.
Menopause happens when your ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen, which is responsible for ovulation and menstruation. Once you enter menopause, you no longer have periods, and can no longer become pregnant.
Perimenopause can begin as early as your 30s. During these years, your estrogen level fluctuates, causing your periods to become irregular or shorter, heavier or lighter. This is also the time when many women begin to experience the nagging symptoms of menopause.
Stay healthy during menopause
The first reason it’s important to see a gynecologist during menopause is pretty simple: Your doctor can make sure the symptoms you’re having are related to “normal” changes associated with menopause and not some serious underlying medical problem. Some medical issues, including cancer, can cause many of the same symptoms, so it’s crucial to schedule a visit to discuss your symptoms and rule out other possible causes.
Help for your symptoms
Most women have at least some symptoms during the months and years leading up to menopause. The most common symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful intercourse
- Problems focusing (sometimes called “brain fog”)
Annoying? Sure — but for many women, menopause symptoms interfere with other aspects of their lives and affect their quality of life. The good news: Seeing a gynecology specialist ensures you have access to the right treatment for your symptoms and your health needs.
Many women benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but that’s not always the best choice. Our team takes a custom approach to treatment, helping women feel comfortable with the options they choose.
Help for your health
The decline in estrogen during perimenopause and menopause also makes women more prone to certain health problems, including:
- Osteoporosis (brittle bones) and fractures
- Heart attacks
- Urinary incontinence
- Uterine prolapse
- Anemia, resulting from heavy bleeding during perimenopause
As specialists in women’s health, our providers provide important health screenings and treatment and prevention strategies to help women enjoy optimal wellness throughout perimenopause and menopause. Regular doctor visits give you the confidence to enjoy your life with confidence.
Menopause means you stop having periods — it doesn’t mean you stop being a woman. And that means it’s still critically important to seek out care from doctors who specialize in the unique needs of women, including needs and concerns that arise during the menopause years.
Custom care for every stage of life
Our doctors specialize in patient-centered gynecologic care for women of all ages. If you’re in menopause or perimenopause, book an appointment online or over the phone and learn how they can help you feel your best.