What to expect as you approach menopause
In American society, we often hear negative messages about menopause, so for women who are approaching this phase of their lives, it may require a change in mindset to think positively going into the experience.
Menopause means much more than stopping your monthly cycle, it also involves a myriad of physical and emotional changes in the years before and after the final menstrual period. However, there are actually very few physical changes that indicate you may be approaching the menopause transition.
The most common early sign is a change in the monthly cycle, such as skipped or irregular periods. Although much less common than changes in the monthly cycle, some women (about one in four) will experience hot flashes severe enough to prompt a doctor visit in the early stages of menopause. And in some cases, women will notice they have dry eyes as they approach menopause.
There are several steps a woman can take to approach menopause with a positive frame of mind. These include:
- Realize that menopause can be a period of rediscovery and reinvention.
- Human connection is important, and it is important to maintain positive female relationships.
- Relish in the freedom of not having to worry about a monthly period.
- Educate yourself about midlife health from credible sources, such as The North American Menopause Society’s website: menopause.org
- Do not question your own value. You are of considerable worth.
- Establish a good relationship with a healthcare provider you like and trust.
- Understand that there are effective treatments for symptoms such as hot flashes. Discuss options with your healthcare provider.
Our community is fortunate to have a resource such as The Women’s Health Network at Cone Health MedCenter High Point, with a Certified Menopause Practitioner dedicated to educating women about menopause and providing exceptional treatment for women experiencing the symptoms and body changes often associated with menopause.
Dr. Deborah Schoenhoff is the medical director at the Women’s Health Network located at Cone Health MedCenter High Point. As an internal medicine specialist, Dr. Scheonhoff also received advanced training and certification as a Certified Menopause Practitioner from the North American Menopause Society in May 2011. She is a 1989 graduate of University of Cincinnati School of Medicine and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Moses Cone Hospital in 1994.
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