Let’s Talk about “The Change”

Menopause Chesapeake VAWhen you hear the term “The Change” in the discussion about women’s health, your initial assumption may be menopause. What we have learned over time is that menopause is just one stage of the transition a woman goes through sometime in mid-life. The first stage of transition and quite a long stage is perimenopause. Menopause is the stage during which a woman gets confirmation that her period has stopped. This stage of transition lasts approximately one year. After not having a period of 12 months, it is assumed that menstruation will not resume, and a woman is described as being post-menopausal.

The stages of transition are of minimal importance. When it comes right down to it, what our patients want to know is how they can manage health and general well-being through the changes that affect everything from mood to sex drive.

Some of the common indications that hormones have begun to shift include:

  • Menstruation changes from light to heavy to short to long. Ultimately, “irregular” may be the best way to describe a woman’s periods during perimenopause.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Reduced energy or chronic fatigue.
  • Hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Changes in breast tissue and sensation, such as density and tenderness.
  • Diminished muscle strength (and bone density).
  • Vaginal dryness and itching. This may coincide with the onset of stress urinary incontinence.
  • Painful intercourse or loss of sexual desire.
  • Skin changes such as thinning and sagging.

A Key Time for Mindfulness

These years of change in a woman’s life are some of the most pivotal when it comes to health and wellness. More than recognizing the signs and symptoms of perimenopause, what women benefit from is the implementation of strategies to support health and wellness during this time. Suggestions include:

  • See your gynecologist regularly for routine screenings.
  • Develop healthy eating habits that facilitate weight management (which can be difficult due to hormone shifts).
  • Engage in pleasant activities that ease stress, such as yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or hobbies that bring joy.
  • Develop a healthy exercise routine that burns fat and builds muscle.
  • Talk with your doctor about nutritional supplements like calcium and hormone replacement therapy.

Women First is dedicated to providing personal care to patients from the Chesapeake area. For an appointment with Dr. Corney, call (757) 548-2800.

Posted in: Menopause

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