Menopause is a case of mistaken identity. Almost everyone equates menopause with hot flashes and night sweats. But these symptoms do not define menopause.
Menopause is a single moment in a woman’s life - the pausing of menstruation. In other words, it’s her final menstrual period. Midlife women of menopausal ages 40 to forever, have health and wellness concerns that go far beyond menstrual periods and hot flashes. Ovarian function or dysfunction plays a pivotal role for all women, especially during perimenopause and postmenopause. Erratic estrogen production (perimenopause) and when ovarian estrogen production stops (postmenopause) are the most important biological transitions that women face, since aging and menopause are all tied to estrogen. There is simply no way around it.
Hot flashes that frequently occur during estrogen withdrawal are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. While women do not die from hot flashes and night sweats, they signal an important physical change that could indicate cardiac disease (heart attacks), vascular disease (strokes), dementia (loss of ability to think or remember), metabolic disorders (diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and the metabolic syndrome), depression (development of bad mood), osteoporosis (thin bones susceptible to fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine), vaginal dryness (with resultant vaginal itching, pain, and displeasure with sex), and skin aging and wrinkling. These conditions kill women and can make their lives miserable. The vast majority of postmenopausal women would be healthier and live longer with menopausal hormone therapy. Women should have a healthcare provider who will help them address their personal midlife health issues thoroughly, and should feel comfortable asking these questions.
Call to action:
Dr. Lovera Wolf Miller, MD, FACOG, NCMP, is a trusted provider with La Porte Physicians Women’s Care. To make an appointment with Dr. Miller, call (219) 879-2514