Traditionally, people have called menopause "the change," a rather fitting title given that this stage ushers in a dramatic shift in estrogen and progesterone levels, as well as a cessation of menstrual periods. Here at Northwest Associates for Women's Healthcare in Hoffman Estates, your four physicians and their team provide the care and support you need to navigate menopause in a healthy fashion.
The symptoms of menopause
Menopausal symptoms may begin as early as the late thirties, states The North American Menopause Society. Typically, this period is called peri-menopause, and as years advance (with 51 being average for true menopause), ovarian activity and the release of female hormones drastically diminish. When the ovaries release their last egg, menstruation ceases sometime afterward. When a woman has not had a menstrual period for a full year, she is considered post-menopausal.
In effect, menopause is a lengthy process of many kinds of changes, often accompanied by disconcerting symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Genital dryness (and sometimes painful sex) because of atrophy of the vagina
- Mood swings
- Inability to fall asleep, insomnia, and other sleep disturbances
- Weight gain, especially at the waistline
- Varying degrees of urinary incontinence
- Thinning bones (osteoporosis)
- Hair loss
Getting through the change
At Northwest Associates for Women's Healthcare in Hoffman Estates, your professional team provides the counseling and treatment you need to navigate menopause. Depending on your symptoms and personal preferences, your care plan may include:
- Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT (not appropriate for breast cancer patients)
- Antidepressants, such as Effexor
- Vitamins, such as B6 and E supplements
- Herbal supplements, such as St. John's Wart for depression and Black Cohosh for hot flashes
- Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers
- Kegal exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Relaxation techniques
- Adequate hydration and heart-healthy nutrition
- Avoiding foods which precipitate hot flashes and insomnia (spicy foods as an example)
- Exercising every day
- Limiting caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, particularly at bedtime
You can take charge of menopause
Know the facts about this important life change. Call your friends at Northwest Associates for Women's Healthcare in Hoffman Estates for the menopause treatment and counseling you need: (847) 884-1800.
Menopause is the end of the menstrual and fertility cycle in women. It can either occur naturally or as a result of surgical intervention that requires the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This usually as a treatment for cancer or other health conditions like infections or cysts. The ovaries regulate the hormones that control the menstrual cycle and fertility. Once the menstrual cycle permanently ends, either naturally or through the surgical removal of the ovaries, a woman is in menopause. The process varies form woman to woman and begins on average from the mid to late 40s to early 50s. As the production of eggs and hormones begins to decline, many women experience physical changes and symptoms that range in severity and intensity.
In addition to physical symptoms and changes, many women experience emotional and psychological symptoms related to the transition away from the child bearing phase. An OBGYN can help navigate the process and recommend treatment when necessary.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Like the menstrual cycle itself, menopause affects every woman differently. Some may experience only mild symptoms and require minimal to no treatment. Others may experience drastic fluctuations in everything from body temperature to moods, and require medication and specialized treatment plans from an OBGYN to help manage symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Irregular/infrequent periods
- Skin problems and hair loss
- Anxiety and depression
- Mood swings and irritability
- Loss of sex drive
Treatment for Menopause
Depending on the range and severity of symptoms, as well as the woman's overall health, an OBGYN may recommend hormone replacement therapy and medication. Many women benefit from lifestyle modifications like dietary supplements and changes to a more balanced and clean diet. Managing anxiety, depression and stress with exercises like yoga and meditation can help regulate moods, as well as provide an opportunity to engage in social activities in a supportive environment. Although fertility declines and eventually ends with menopause, women can still enjoy an active, fulfilling sex life both during and long after menopause.
You have likely heard a lot of information recently about the zika virus and its effects on unborn babies. We want to make sure you have the most up to date information, and help you distinguish between fact and fiction. Here are the main facts that you need to know. Please feel free to ask us questions at your appointments, and visit www.cdc.gov/zika for more information.
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus first identified in Uganda in 1947. It is transmitted by 2 species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus. Both species are found in the US, A. aegypti in limited areas of the South, and A. albopictus iacross the Southeastern US and the Midwest, including Illinois and Wisconsin. These mosquitoes are daytime biters.
About one in five people infected with Zika virus become ill. Illness occurs anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks after exposure to the virus. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Symptoms are usually mild and last up to 1 week. The most common mode of transmission is from the bite of an infected mosquito, although it may be transmitted sexually. The amount of time the virus remains in the semen is unknown.
Zika virus testing can be performed and is processed through the CDC. Testing should be done in all pregnant women who have traveled during pregnancy, or immediately prior to pregnancy, to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission. In addition, serial ultrasounds (US) should be performed in pregnancy to monitor for fetal abnormalities. If maternal testing is positive, amniocentesis can be done to test for Zika in the amniotic fluid.
Zika and Pregnancy
Data on zika in pregnancy are limited. Symptoms are similar in pregnancy as in non-pregnant individuals, and there is no evidence that pregnant women are more susceptible to infection. Transmission to the fetus can occur throughout pregnancy, however the rate of maternal-fetal transmission, and the risk that an infected fetus will develop abnormalities are unknown. Findings in the fetus can include microcephaly (small head as a result of poor brain development), and other brain abnormalities, eye defects and joint contractures.
Microcephaly is a condition in which the fetus’s head is smaller than expected for gestational age. It can be detected by measurements of the head circumference as early as 18-20 weeks. It can be difficult to predict long term consequences based on head size alone. Children born with severe microcephaly can have seizures, vision or hearing problems and developmental disabilities.
There is no specific treatment for Zika virus other than rest, fluids and anti-fever medications. Because there is no treatment for Zika virus, prevention is paramount. All women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should avoid travel to areas of ongoing Zika virus transmission (see list below, and for updated info see wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices). Pregnant women who travel to areas of Zika transmission should wear long sleeves and pants, use insect repellants and wear permethrin-treated clothes, especially during the day. Insect repellants containing DEET, picaridin and IR3535 are all considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Due to the risk of sexual transmission, pregnant women whose male partners have traveled to areas of Zika transmission should abstain or use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy after travel to Zika transmission areas, wait 2 weeks before attempting to conceive. If your partner also travelled, you must abstain or use condoms for at least 2 months before attempting to conceive.
There have been cases of Zika virus in the US, but they were all acquired abroad. As of yet, there have been no cases of Zika infection within the US.
Areas with active Zika Transmission (see http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices for updated list)
- Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St Barthelemy, St Lucia, St Martin, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands
- Central America:
- Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
- Pacific Islands:
- American Samoa, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga
- South America:
- Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paragua, Peru, Suriname, Venezuala
Welcome to the Blog of Northwest Associates For Women's Healthcare
Northwest Associates For Women's Healthcare would like to welcome you to our blog. Here you will find informative and useful postings about your health and our practice.
At Northwest Associates For Women's Healthcare we believe that educated patients are better prepared to make decisions regarding their overall health and wellbeing. Our blog was designed to provide you with valuable health care information, the latest medical developments and health advice from our dedicated team.
Northwest Associates For Women's Healthcare hopes you find our blog to be a great resource for keeping up to date with proper health care and treatments.
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-- Northwest Associates For Women's Healthcare
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