As a board certified OB/GYN, Dr. Nadini Verma serves the women of the Santa Monica and greater Los Angeles, California area. She specializes in helping her patients recover from the many symptoms associated with reduced hormone function, and finds solutions to bring their bodies back into balance during menopause.
Menopause Q & A
What is menopause?
Menopause is a natural stage in the life of every woman. Typically it occurs after a woman has missed her period for 12 consecutive months. It’s not unusual for menopause to start as early as the mid-40s, although in the US the average age is 51 years. Menopause results in reduced levels of estrogen and other hormones and marks the end of fertility. Menopausal symptoms develop gradually or rapidly depending on the balance of various hormones in the body. Some women have symptoms that appear over time, whereas others have symptoms that appear to develop overnight. Fluctuations in your menstrual cycle are just one of the manifestations of menopause, and a comprehensive evaluation will determine whether a woman is in perimenopause or full blown menopause.
What changes are expected in menopause?
Every woman experiences menopause differently. Some have minimal symptoms outside of irregular periods, while other women experience hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, mood disturbances, vaginal dryness, weight gain, slow metabolism, dry skin and thinning hair. These changes are not always related to a lack of estrogen and some (like night sweats and hot flashes) tend to ease up after a period of time. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the transition time is essential and can prevent or lessen the effect of some of these changes.
Do all women require hormone replacement therapy?
Not all women require hormone replacement therapy. For many women, maintaining a healthy lifestyle involving exercise and modified diet, along with acupuncture and non-hormonal therapy, can alleviate symptoms and make the transition to menopause easier. However, hormone replacement therapy can be very effective in relieving menopausal symptoms if they are having a negative effect on your quality of life. Often women ask whether they should seek hormonal therapy or tough it out. Studies have shown that if a woman is going to be treated with hormones, an early start can have long term benefits. Early hormone replacement in and around menopause not only gives relief from severe symptoms but reduces risk of heart disease and protects from bone loss and future fractures. Hormone therapy earlier on for a limited duration also minimizes the breast cancer risk.
After a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Verma can determine if hormone replacement therapy is the right choice for you.