Menopause Transitions

Menopause Transitions

What are menopause transitions?

Menopause transitions are the time in a woman’s life when her hormonal changes begin. There are different stages of menopause and every woman will have a unique experience that is their own, however most women will experience common symptoms. Dr. Douglas Waterman is well-versed in supporting women through menopausal transitions.

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the transition leading up to menopause. During this time, a woman’s ovaries will gradually make less and less estrogen. Perimenopause begins for most women in their 40s, but in some cases, it can begin at the age of 30, or even earlier. The length of perimenopause on average is 4 years, but it can last as short as a few months or as long as a decade.

What are the most common symptoms associated with perimenopause?

Perimenopausal symptoms may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Frequent urges to urinate
  • A lower sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Irregular periods
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tenderness in the breasts
  • Mood swings

What is menopause?

Menopause, a naturally-occurring life transition, is when a woman stops ovulating and having a monthly period due to a lack of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone. In general, most physicians consider a woman to be menopausal when she hasn’t had a period for at least 1 year. However, symptoms and changes may begin much earlier. Though it begins at varying times for women, it most commonly begins after the age of 45.

What are the most common symptoms associated with menopause?

Once a woman reaches menopause, she may experience a number of symptoms, including:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hair loss from the scalp
  • Increased hair growth on the face
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Night sweats
  • Sexual pain

What is sexual pain?

Sexual pain is classified as when a patient experiences discomfort during the act of sexual touching and or sexual intercourse, either externally around the vaginal opening and labia or deeper inside the pelvic area. Sexual pain can be attributed to medical and psychological issues. Sometimes there is an obvious anatomical or physiological cause for the pain, other times the diagnosis is not so clear. Pain can come in many forms and at different stages in a woman’s lifetime, although there is an increase in the incidence of pain with intercourse around the time of menopause. Often this is due to the development of atrophic vaginitis, or changes in the vulva and vaginal tissue related to menopause. At our New Westminster office, Dr. Waterman specializes in diagnosing and treating issues involving pain with sexual activity occurring around the time of menopause.

Why does sexual pain occur?

Sexual pain can occur for a variety of reasons. Some women experience sexual pain from the first time they engage in sexual intercourse, others get sexual pain that increases over the course of their lifetime, some only experience it during their menstrual cycle, and other women begin to experience sexual pain after menopause. Trauma, surgeries, or infections can also cause pain with sexual activity. Identification of the symptoms and specific location of the discomfort is very important in determining the underlying cause and approach to treatment.

What are some of the causes of sexual pain?

Some of the most common problems that cause sexual pain include:

How do you treat sexual pain?

First, the reason behind the sexual pain needs to be identified. Dr. Waterman will take a detailed look into the patient’s medical history and perform a thorough examination based on the patient’s concerns. Once the possible causes have been identified, Dr. Waterman will provide a specific course of treatment. Treatment options vary from patient to patient. However, some common courses of treatment include: treatment of any local anatomic pathology, medication including Hormone Replacement Therapy, physiotherapy and pelvic floor exercises changes to lifestyle, and surgery or laser therapy.

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy? (HRT)

HRT is a treatment that can support and augment your body’s natural hormone levels. Depending on symptoms, medical history and where a woman is at in her menopausal transition journey, Dr. Waterman may make a recommendation that often includes supplemental forms of estrogen and progestogen.

Referral from Family Physician

If you are experiencing symptoms of a menopausal transition and are seeking treatment to correct the issue, request a referral from your family physician to Dr. Waterman’s practice located in New Westminster, BC. If you do not have a medicine provider, simply call our office at (604) 528-9042 for assistance in obtaining a referral.

*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee