Menopause occurs when our ovaries stop releasing eggs and producing female hormones. This change in hormone levels can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, the inability to concentrate, sleeplessness and mood swings. Even if you have no obvious symptoms, it’s important to understand the effects of menopause and aging on your overall health. Loss of the female hormone estrogen can weaken your bones, for example, increase cholesterol levels that contribute to coronary artery disease, cause emotional changes, vaginal changes and urinary tract changes. Preventive care during the stages of menopause offers an opportunity to improve your quality of life as you age.
What are the Stages of Menopause?
This occurs before the ovaries permanently stop releasing eggs, but hormone levels begin to decline. Signs and symptoms are usually intermittent in nature and can be hot flashes, night sweats and irregular periods. This period begins approximately four years before menopause.
Menopause officially begins twelve months after a woman’s last period, marking the end of a woman’s reproductive years. At this point the ovaries have stopped producing eggs and our natural hormones continue to decline.
What Happens to a Woman’s Hormones as She Ages?
DECREASE IN HORMONE LEVELS
By the age of 50, we are at approximately 50% of our hormone function for estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, DHEA, melatonin and growth hormone. In women, one of the first hormones to decline is progesterone, starting at around age 35. This decline leads to symptoms such as anxiety, lighter sleep, PMS, mood swings, irregular or heavier periods and weight gain. Estrogen levels begin to decline at about age 35 in women and eventually wane at around age 50. At age 50 there is a 35% decline in estrogen levels. Changing estrogen levels produce hot flashes, skin and vaginal dryness, urinary tract symptoms, bone loss and cognitive decline. Testosterone starts its decline in the late 30s and onward, producing a loss of desire for sex, joint and bone pain, muscle weakness, moodiness, anxiety, muscle loss and fat gain.
At the Philadelphia Center for Sexual Medicine, Dr. Gittens takes the time to listen to your concerns and to formulate an individualized treatment program for you. We believe in treating the entire body, allowing you to be free from the symptoms of menopause safely and effectively. Learn more about hormone therapy here.
Vaginal Atrophy / Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal atrophy refers to the thinning, drying and inflammation of the vagina experienced by many women due to a reduction in estrogen. It is experienced by approximately 50% of women during or after menopause. It can cause symptoms such as: pain during intercourse, vaginal itching and burning, recurrent urinary tract infections, loss of vaginal folds and / or laxity.
What are Some Treatment Options Used to Treat Menopause?
We take the time necessary to listen carefully to each patient’s concerns in order to formulate an individualized treatment program that helps you comfortably transition into this new phase of life.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Our treatment consists of preventive methods such as modification of diet and exercise routines, life style changes and bio-identical hormone treatment.
MonaLisa Touch Treatment
We've had spectacular success treating women suffering from vaginal dryness with the MonaLisa Touch laser treatment. MonaLisa Touch treatment has been proven to successfully treat vaginal atrophy. Learn more about how MonaLisa Touch works.
These are just a few of the treatment modalities available to us. Request and a consultation with Dr. Gittens today to learn about how he would treat your particular situation.
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