For many, menopause can be a time of transition and uncertainty. At MultiCare, we want you to feel supported and informed during the changes that happen.
Menopause occurs 12 months after your last menstrual period, resulting from your ovaries producing less of two critical hormones, estrogen and progesterone. On average in the U.S., menopause begins around 51, but you may begin experiencing symptoms between the ages of 40 and 58.
However, the transition period before menopause, also called perimenopause, can last for years. While approaching menopause, your ovaries are making less and less estrogen and progesterone. This transition period can cause changes in your body, including irregular periods and hot flashes.
Although irregular periods — including spotting and skipping periods — are a sign of menopause in people older than 45, you are not officially menopausal until you have not had any bleeding for a year.
Although menopause happens to everyone with ovaries, menopause symptoms can be different for everyone. Sometimes, these symptoms are easy to deal with or monitor without intervention. Others find that menopause interferes with daily life. If you are dealing with hot flashes, problems sleeping, mood changes or vaginal problems, medications can help.
Depending on each person’s unique case, hormone therapy is often an effective way to treat uncomfortable menopause symptoms, but it comes with its own set of risks. If you don’t want to pursue hormone therapy, there are other options that can also help.
Every medication, including hormone therapy, has side effects. Your OB/GYN or board-certified nurse practitioner can help pick the right medication option for you.
In addition to treating menopause symptoms, we can help you cope with life after menopause. Once you stop having periods, your body’s low hormone levels can cause other health effects. If you are in or close to menopause, talk to your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.
To schedule an in-person or virtual video appointment with our menopause specialist nurse practitioners, call MultiCare Tacoma Women’s Specialists at 253-403-5432 or Catherine Hunter, DO, at MultiCare Women’s Health Care in Covington Medical Center at 253-372-7128.