Office Visits with Dr. V

Episode 8: Menopause: Transition not Tragedy

February 6, 2021

Menopause. Perimenopause. Do you have to be sweaty, moody, forgetful with a spare tire around your waist? Not necessarily.  The average age of menopause is 51, some start before and some start after.  Learn how you can make this time a new phase of life and not a hardship.


00:30 - For the most part, both men and women view menopause as a death sentence. The misconceptions, rumors, and negative beliefs associated with menopause make it an unbearable concept once a woman hits 45. Well, it’s not a death sentence, neither is it a disease, and Dr. V. is here to tell you why it’s perfectly normal to have pre and post-menopausal symptoms. 


01:30 - Medically, menopause is described as a one-year period when a woman fails to experience her regular menstrual flow. The ovaries are one of the places where estrogen is made, and by the time a woman hits menopause, estrogen levels will have gradually dropped by a whopping 95%. Consequently, the uterine wall, which develops as a result of estrogen stimulation, does not grow as much as it used to. Thus, a woman’s periods become lighter and lighter until they eventually stop. Once you start experiencing lighter to no menses, it would be best if you kept track of your periods because any post-menopausal bleeding can be a sign of something serious.


06:10 - Perimenopause is the time before and after menopause where a woman starts to experience symptoms marking the end of her reproductive years. Unfortunately, just because your periods have stopped doesn’t necessarily mean that your menstrual symptoms will also stop. Symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can go on for years, which might force you to seek professional help. You might also experience symptoms such as vaginal dryness, mood swings, memory loss, low sex drive, joint pain, or low metabolism.


10:44 - Menopause is inevitable, and whether we like it or not, every woman must pass through this stage. As a woman, it helps to be physically and mentally prepared for menopause. The symptoms will be there, and it’s up to you to start changing certain aspects of your life. To do this, start by exercising, having regular sleep patterns, reduce stress, and maintain your weight. Not everything has to be fixed using a pill; somethings can be fixed by just eating healthy. 


12:07 - By eating healthy, Dr. V. talks about avoiding processed and deep-fried foods and instead adopting a plant-based diet. In particular, Dr. V. advises women to start consuming soy because soy has been proven to stimulate estrogen receptors the same way the ovary does. Back then, it was believed that soy consumption caused cancer. However, a recent soy study quashed all the misconceptions with findings pointing to several benefits, such as a 45% reduction in symptoms of hot flashes. If you’re experiencing severe bouts of hot flashes, you might want to consider incorporating soy into your diet. 


20:36 - When it comes to treating menopausal symptoms, most people prefer using pills as a quicker and easier option. Dr. V. is not against taking pills in severe cases, but she believes that people should consider other options before taking medication. She particularly believes that if everybody, including men, were to exercise regularly, we could potentially see a drop in the number of people booking medical appointments. Dr. V. further explains why exercising is essential for women who’ve reached menopause since the reduction in the body’s metabolism rate can lead to a sudden weight gain.


25:55 - Next to puberty, menopause is the other increasingly stressful time in a woman’s life, so it’s normal to be a little anxious. However, seeking quick fixes is something that should be avoided at all costs. Back in the day, women experiencing menopausal symptoms used to take estrogen and progesterone, similar to vitamin pills. Recent studies have pointed out that when taken together, estrogen and progesterone increased a person’s chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack. By itself, estrogen is not as bad as when combined with progesterone. 


38:24 - As earlier mentioned, menopausal symptoms can also include mood swings, which can significantly affect your social life. Your doctor might recommend antidepressants, which, interestingly, also help reduce hot flashes. So, if you’ve been experiencing hot flashes and can not take hormone replacements, you need to consider antidepressants. 


Dr. V’s message to you today is that menopause is not the end of everything. Your sex drive might take a hit, and you may experience sudden mood swings, but that doesn’t mean you should stop living a normal life. Menopause is just a transition that all women must go through.


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