Taking Back Control
Don’t let your menopause symptoms run your life.
Signs that you’re entering menopause can be stressful — you don’t know when they’re going to show up, or how long they’re staying. It is possible to stay in control, however, and not let your symptoms take over your life. Recognizing what is happening is the first step.
Symptoms of menopause can include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular bleeding
- Vaginal dryness
- Anxiety, irritability or other mood changes
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
“Although you are considered in menopause when you haven’t had a period for more than one year, you can experience these symptoms for up to 12 years,” says Sheila Chhutani, M.D., M.B.A., OB/GYN, physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. “You may also experience increased risk for osteoporosis and heart disease, so it is important you stay up to date with the recommended associated screenings.”
Learning to Cope
It can be frustrating when menopause symptoms disrupt your daily life. Dr. Chhutani recommends nonmedical ways of lessening the severity of your symptoms such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and decreasing your intake of caffeine, sugar and alcohol, as these can affect the frequency of your hot flashes and night sweats.
“One of the most important things you can do is talk to your doctor to ensure that what you’re experiencing is typical,” Dr. Chhutani says. “Once you’ve confirmed that, you can start the conversation about whether you want hormonal or nonhormonal treatment, or no medical treatment at all. Not every woman needs hormone replacement therapy, but a number of women do like it, as it helps reduce frequency and severity of the symptoms.”
Starting that conversation is often easier said than done, however. Many women are hesitant to bring up matters such as menopause and its associated symptoms. If you are one of those women, Dr. Chhutani has a solution.
“A great thing about using electronic health records is that women can go online and fill out their medical histories, and there’s a place for questions or comments,” Dr. Chhutani says. “If they don’t feel comfortable talking about menopause out loud, they can at least enter their concerns there and they can be addressed.”
To find a Texas Health physician to help guide you through menopause, visit TexasHealth.org/FindAPhysician.
Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.