Although menopause is something that all women will eventually go through, it is a complex condition that is a common source of confusion and uncertainty. That’s why we’ve taken some time to answer some of the more commonly-asked questions about menopause and its effects. Hopefully this will provide clarity and ease some of the concerns surrounding menopause.
Are there any ways to limit the severity of hot flashes?
Hot flashes are the side effect most commonly associated with menopause and a normal response to natural changes in your body. They can be uncomfortable and inconvenient for women, especially when they affect your ability to sleep through the night. While hot flashes usually cease within a year after menopause begins, we understand that this news won’t bring you any short-term relief. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to try to minimize your hot flashes:
- Avoid tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption
- Manage stress, which can often make hot flashes worse
- Get daily exercise and eat properly
- Try rhythmic breathing exercises
If those don’t help, you can speak with your board-certified gynecologist about hormone therapy or other medical treatments that may help.
If I undergo a full hysterectomy (including my ovaries), will my induced menopause differ from natural menopause?
Symptoms associated with induced menopause are typically very similar to those from natural menopause. This includes hot flashes, sleep disturbances, irritability and vaginal dryness. But the symptoms for premenopausal women who experience induced menopause can be more intense and require more treatment. Additionally, anyone who goes through menopause at a young age (before 40) is more susceptible to menopause-related medical conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis as they age and should be extra diligent when monitoring their health.
If I’ve begun menopause, do I still need to take birth control?
Yes. Though you may think your menopause has started, you won’t know for sure that you have experienced menopause until you go an entire year without having a menstrual period. Until you are totally sure, you should keep taking birth control like normal if you do not want to risk becoming pregnant.
If you still have questions about menopause, you can always contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. Our board-certified gynecologists can share their expertise on the three stages of menopause and help you determine a treatment plan that will make your transition as smooth as possible. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more news and updates.