Obstetrics and Gynecology – Menopause: By Fiona Mattatall M.D.

Menopause is a normal transition in a woman’s
life from her reproductive years. In Canada the average age of last period is 51. Most
women have mild symptoms but some suffer significantly. It is important that physicians know how to
help. The most bothersome symptoms are: vasomotor symptoms (or hot flashes) which
can ruin quality of life. They can result in sleep disturbances.
In addition her mood can be low She can have vaginal pain, and
She can develop sexual dysfunction. Symptoms are a result of declining ovarian
function. Many symptoms can be treated with lifestyle
changes. The wonderful thing about regular exercise, smoking cessation, and healthy diet
is that in addition to reducing hot flashes and improving sex life, they reduce cardiovascular
disease and cancer! There are numerous herbal products available
for menopausal symptoms … unfortunately none has shown improvement more than placebo. Hormones are the most effective treatment
for menopausal symptoms. Estrogen and progesterone can be used in a variety of ways to help – pill,
patch, transdermal gel. A careful discussion of risks and benefits
needs to take place before starting a patient on hormone therapy. Some non-hormonal treatments have shown improvement
for those women who shouldn’t or don’t want to take hormones. Now you know that menopause is a normal part
of a woman’s life but she doesn’t have to suffer. Depending on the symptoms, there
are several options that can vastly improve her quality of life!

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