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Menopause – The permanent cessation of menstruation and diagnosed in females after 1 year of absent menstrual periods.  The average age of menopause is 51 years. 

Perimenopause – Is characterized by symptoms associated with decreased blood levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone and usually begins a few years before the last menstrual cycle.

Possible Causes of Early Menopause

Surgical removal of ovaries, Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, especially targeted to the pelvic area and/or Premature Ovarian Failure.

Physical/Emotional Changes of Perimenopause or Menopause
Changes can include menstrual irregularity, dizziness, headaches, changes in memory or mental abilities, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, breast tenderness, bloating of the upper abdomen and/or depression and fatigue. Hot flashes/flushes or night sweats (sensation of heat spreading from the waist or chest toward the neck, face and upper arms) can also occur as well as vaginal itching, burning, discomfort, and dryness during intercourse, decreased sexual desire and response, sleeping difficulty and mood changes (increased tension/anxiety).  Additional changes may include elevated Cholesterol levels, thinning of the lining of the urethra (causing frequent or urgent urination) and bone loss with an increased risk for osteoporosis.

Treatment Options for Menopause Symptoms

Hormone Replacement (Systemic)

  • Estrogen therapy
  • Progesterone and Estrogen treatment (patients with a uterus).
  • Localized Vaginal Estrogen Therapy – A pill, cream or ring method administered into the vagina to relieve vaginal symptoms of menopause and believed to be free of systemic effects/risks for most patients.

You should know:

Risks and benefits should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Estrogen therapy alone can increase the risk of endometrial cancer in a patient with a uterus.

Systemic hormone replacement therapy may increase a patient’s risk of stroke, blood clots, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

Non-Hormonal Treatments

  • Prescription medications such as types of antidepressants.
  • Herbal remedies such as soy products, black cohosh are helpful in some patients.
  • Vaginal moisturizers and water-soluble lubricants to relieve vaginal symptoms.
  • Paced breathing exercises, acupuncture and yoga.


Menopause can be a challenging time in a woman’s life. Help is available by exploring your treatment options with an experienced healthcare provider.

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