Menopause, which usually occurs when a woman reaches her 40s or 50, is a natural process that signals the end of your reproductive years. The symptoms that come along with it, such as pain with sex and hot flashes, can be unpleasant, but Samuel Van Kirk, M.D. OBGYN can help at his office in Redding, California. Dr. Van Kirk and his team treat the symptoms associated with menopause, working with you to make this stage of your life as comfortable as possible. If you’ve entered menopause, schedule an appointment online or by phone today for more information.

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What is menopause?

Menopause refers to the hormonal changes a woman’s body goes through when she is no longer able to have children. Menopause is diagnosed when you’ve gone one year without a menstrual cycle and occurs between the ages of 40-60 for most women. It starts when your body stops producing as much estrogen and progesterone, or if you’ve had a hysterectomy.

When you enter your 30s, your body begins producing less of certain female hormones that are responsible for ovulation and menstruation. It’s a natural biological process, but hormonal changes can lead to some negative side effects. Some women notice symptoms beginning in perimenopause, or the months and years leading up to menopause.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Menopause marks the end of your menstrual cycles. Your body doesn’t have as much estrogen and progesterone, and the symptoms commonly associated with menopause are a result of these hormonal changes.

If you’re in perimenopause, you might notice that your periods become more irregular or stop altogether. Other signs and symptoms of menopause often include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Sleeping problems
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain
  • Vaginal dryness

Many symptoms of menopause are frustrating for women, and severe symptoms can impact your quality of life. During perimenopause, menopause, and beyond it’s important to get regular exams for preventive health care. If menopause symptoms are interfering with your daily life, you should schedule a visit to meet with Dr. Van Kirk.

How does bioidentical hormone replacement work?

One treatment option for menopause is hormone therapy. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is one of the most effective treatments for menopause symptoms. Estrogen can help relieve some of your more unpleasant symptoms. Generally, Dr. Van Kirk starts you on the lowest possible dose of estrogen for the shortest amount of time to help you find relief.

Women who still have their uteruses need progestin along with estrogen therapy. Depending on your family and medical history, Dr. Van Kirk can help you decide if bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a good option for you.

Vaginal estrogen is a common, effective treatment for vaginal dryness. Avaginal cream, tablet, or ring releases a small amount of estrogen, helping with vaginal discomfort. These products can help relieve pain with sex and some urinary symptoms.

You don’t have to suffer through the symptoms of menopause alone. To find a solution for your menopausal symptoms, make an appointment online or by phone today at Samuel Van Kirk, M.D. OBGYN.