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When do I Need to See my Doctor About Menopause?

Menopause is often heralded by hot flashes and other symptoms, even when you are still having menstrual periods. When no more menstrual periods come, that is when you are truly in the stage of menopause.

When menopause requires a visit to the doctor

If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause or the absence of menstrual periods, you should visit your doctor. There's a chance that what you're experiencing might not be menopause. It might be something else, and sometimes it's a sign of an illness. Therefore, no menopausal symptoms should be shoved under the rug, and you should consult a physician to see if you have the need for medication or if you have to have any other evaluations. It is also recommended to contact your doctor if you are experiencing menstrual periods that are unusually heavy, irregular, or prolonged. Additionally, you should contact your doctor if you have bleeding between your menstrual periods, renewed bleeding after having no periods for 6 months or more, or unexplained bleeding while you are taking hormones.

What is menopause?

Menopause is a physiological process in a woman’s body that happens because of a decrease in the ovaries' production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and marks the end of fertility. Most women will go through menopause in their late 40s or early 50s. This process is called perimenopause, which typically begins two to 10 years before actual menopause. After years of symptoms, most women will reach menopause around the age of 50. Menopause is different for each woman, and the severity/frequency of symptoms is different for each woman. Symptoms in women can range from tolerable to completely intolerable, and women should contact their doctors if their symptoms become severe.

Physical symptoms of menopause

With so many changes and new experiences, it can be very confusing for a woman to know what is normal and what isn’t. It can be very difficult to decipher whether an ache or pain is just a passing symptom of menopause or if it requires medical attention. This is why it is important for a woman to have knowledge of the common symptoms that occur during menopause. Common symptoms of menopause include; irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, and vaginal dryness. Some of the more concerning and unexpected symptoms of menopause to keep an eye on include an unusual pain or sensation that doesn’t align with more common menopausal symptoms.

Emotional symptoms of menopause

You should also seek medical attention if your symptoms become overpowering or disruptive to daily life. There are also many emotional symptoms that come with menopause, due to a change in hormones. Many women experience extreme emotional symptoms such as anxiety and irritability, which can be normal symptoms, but if they are damaging your quality of life it is highly recommended to make an appointment with your doctor.

The length of the menopause transition varies from woman to woman, and some symptoms such as loss of libido and mood swings can continue into post-menopause. While there is no treatment for menopause, if you are suffering from the tricky symptoms that go along with it, it is recommended to seek medical help and work with a physician to manage those symptoms.