The term menopause comes from the Greek word mens, which means monthly, and the Greek word pausis, which means cessation. While there is no cure for menopause, there are ways that one can alleviate the symptoms associated with it.
The earliest sign of menopause are periods that are irregular – either further apart or closer together, and when blood flow becomes light or heavy. Other signs and symptoms of menopause include weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, dry eyes, itchy skin, night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings and frequent urinary tract infections. Women who are going through induced menopause may notice that these symptoms are more severe and persistent.
As there is no medical cure for menopause, treatment is instead focused on relieving the symptoms. Hormone therapy, such as estrogen, is commonly used and found to be effective in relieving hot flashes associated to menopause. If a woman still has her uterus then estrogen is usually prescribed in combination with progestin. Other medications used to treat hot flashes include low-dose SSRI anti-depressants as well as Gabapentin. Gabapentin is a drug used to treat seizures but has also been shown to be helpful in reducing hot flashes, as well as useful in treating migraines, another common symptom that is linked to menopause.
When dealing with menopause it is also important to make lifestyle changes as this can have a significant impact on how hormones in our body function. Vancouver physician Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends patients get enough sleep and practice relaxation techniques. Dr. Ali Ghahary also recommends eating well balanced diets, and getting regular exercise. Smoking can also bring on early menopause, so you should speak with your healthcare provider about smoking cessation.
As menopause can be challenging, it is important to make sure you are well educated on the topic and prepare by reading books and articles. Talking to friends or family members who have experienced menopause is also helpful, as it managing stress. There are also various support groups and counseling programs in British Columbia (such as Vancouver’s West Coast Women’s Clinic) that focus on pre-menopause and menopause; and, as always, you should never hesitate to talk to your physician about any concerns you might have relating to menopause or other health ailments.