Aspirus Media Center

Women nearing menopause can feel more comfortable with the right treatments and lifestyle changes

5/18/2023

Dr. Jenna Kolodziej, Board Certified OB/GYN

In honor of Women’s Health Week (May 14 – 20), Aspirus Health recognizes the significance of menopause in a woman’s life and aims to help women nearing menopause to navigate this change more comfortably and confidently.

 

Menopause marks the end of menstrual cycles, and is officially diagnosed after a woman has gone twelve months without a menstrual period. This change is caused by a significant decrease in the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. As a result of the hormonal changes, women experience a variety of physical and emotional symptoms that can vary widely in severity and duration.

 

“Menopause is a natural and inevitable stage of life, and it affects every woman differently,” says Jenna Kolodziej, MD, Board Certified OB/GYN with Aspirus Health. “With the right treatment and lifestyle changes, women can navigate this transition with confidence and grace, embracing the next stage of their lives.”

 

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), women may have physical changes such as bone loss, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, changes in sex drive and irregular menstrual cycles. They may also experience psychological symptoms such as mood swings, memory problems and trouble sleeping.

 

Fortunately, there are many options available for women to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Hormone therapy is a common treatment option that involves taking estrogen and progesterone to help relieve symptoms and prevent bone loss; but Dr. Kolodziej suggests talking with your OB/GYN first, as it does have some risks. Herbal remedies are available over the counter but are not regulated; and some plants or herbs can be harmful when combined with certain medications, so use with caution.

 

If you’re bothered by the symptoms of menopause, the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) and the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) offer some self-help strategies for some of the most bothersome symptoms:

 

Night sweats:

  • Keep a frozen cold pack under your pillow and turn the pillow to the cool side as needed
  • Wear lightweight sleepwear and use layered bedding
  • Use a fan

Irritability:

  • Share concerns about your mental health with your provider, just as you would share physical symptoms
  • Get your rest, make healthy foods a priority, exercise, and stay mentally active
  • Socialize. Research shows that people with active social lives have the slowest rate of memory loss
  • Don’t take on too much and do at least one thing you enjoy every day

“Mood swings are completely normal and are a result of changes in your hormones. It can feel similar to when you’re a teenager going through puberty,” says Dr. Kolodziej. “Emotions can be heightened and hard to deal with, but there are treatment options such as medication and therapy.” She recommends talking with your provider to determine the best way to manage any uncomfortable symptoms.

 

Don’t have an OB/GYN? Find one at www.aspirus.org/find-a-provider. Dr. Jenna Kolodziej sees patients at Aspirus Plover Clinic – Vern Holmes Drive AND Aspirus Riverview Clinic – Wisconsin Rapids.

 

For more information about women’s health services at Aspirus, visit www.aspirus.org/womens-health

 

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