Demystifying Menopause: Our Gynecologists Set the Record Straight
Menopause is a stage of life that we’re thankfully talking about a lot more than we used to! Still, because the symptoms of “The Change” can often be uncomfortable or embarrassing, there are a lot of menopause myths out there that continue to affect the way women see themselves and their futures.
There’s no doubt that menopause is a time of transition—emotionally and physically. But at OB/GYN Associates of Alabama, we’re here to make that transition as smooth as possible. With a wide range of menopausal management techniques, we can change the tune of the old wives’ tales. Let’s tackle some of these myths and set the record straight.
Myth #1: You Have to Grin and Bear Every Menopause Symptom
It’s easy to get scared when you focus on all the possible menopause symptoms. All of us have surely heard horror stories about hot flashes from our mothers, grandmothers, or other women in our lives. Other menopause symptoms you may be dreading or experiencing right now include:
- Vaginal dryness and irritation
- Changes in your mood
- Night sweats and/or chills
- Trouble sleeping
- Thinning hair and changes in your skin
But there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, menopause isn’t the same for everyone—some women experience more or more intense symptoms than others. Secondly, for anyone who is struggling with their menopause symptoms, there is hope!
Your gynecologist can recommend a number of different tips, tricks, and treatments to help address the issues that are causing you trouble. So, don’t be afraid to speak up!
Myth #2: Hormone Therapy is Too Dangerous to Try
One of the most common and effective treatments for hot flashes is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). But many women are hesitant to get the relief they deserve because of the risks associated with early HRT methods. Women in the early days of HRT had an elevated risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, especially when they were given these treatments with no real understanding of proper dosages and time limits.
A lot has changed since the early days of HRT. We now know how to safely administer bioidentical versions of these hormones which, for a majority of women, provide major benefits that outweigh the risks.
While BHRT may not be for everyone, when prescribed by a trusted gynecologist who will diligently monitor your health, it can be an incredibly effective way to recharge your quality of life and provide major menopause relief!
Myth #3: You’ll Never Enjoy Sex Again After Menopause
Because estrogen levels drop quite sharply in the lead-up to menopause, some women do experience a noticeable difference in their sex drive. For some, it becomes difficult to get in the mood or achieve orgasm. For others, vaginal dryness and irritation can make the experience painful, to say nothing of pleasurable.
But this doesn’t have to mean the end of your sex life. Today, we have a variety of treatments to help you continue enjoying this important aspect of your health and well-being. Vaginal rejuvenation with MonaLisa Touch® is a painless, non-surgical laser therapy that boosts the production of collagen in the vaginal walls, providing significant relief from the symptoms of vaginal atrophy. Read a testimonial from one of our patients!
Myth #4: Get Used to Bladder Control Problems
Another common symptom of vaginal atrophy—the gradual thinning, inflammation, and drying of vaginal tissue—is incontinence. However, incontinence is not something that you simply have to accept as a normal part of aging. Your gynecologist can recommend a number of treatment options to combat bladder control issues, such as Kegel exercises, hormone treatments, and other medications or lifestyle interventions.
Learn more about incontinence and menopause by reading our previous blog!
Myth #5: It’s Okay to Stop Going to Your Annual Exams
While it’s true that you may be able to receive pap smears less often after menopause, you should still attend your annual gynecological exam! This exam is an important tool for your doctor to keep an eye on your overall health, including screening for other forms of cancer, changes in your body, and your mental well-being.
Women without a history of abnormal pap smears typically only need to maintain a pap smear every 5 years, instead of every 3—but they’re still important. Plus, around the time of menopause, you’ll need new preventative measures, like mammograms.
Myth #6: You Can Still Get Pregnant After Menopause
This menopause myth probably arises from tales of women who thought they’d gone through menopause, only to find themselves pregnant in later life. You can’t get pregnant after menopause, but you can in perimenopause. Perimenopause is the stage before menopause, when you may start missing periods once every other month. Over time, it may slow down to once every three months, and so on.
But menopause starts only when you haven’t had a period for one full year. Until that time, pregnancy is still possible.
If you experience any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause (12 months without a period) contact your gynecologist right away for an exam. Bleeding and spotting after menopause are not normal and should be checked out by a trusted doctor.
Myth #7: There Are No Upsides to Menopause
As a society, we tend to focus a lot on menopause’s downsides—but women can and should find this time incredibly rewarding! Whether it’s freedom from contraceptive worries or relief from the bloating, cramping, and severe disruption of conditions like endometriosis, menopause has plenty of upsides. And for all the parts that don’t feel so great, you can always reach out to your gynecologist at OB/GYN Associates of Alabama.
We’re here to help women get the most out of life in every stage of life. So if you’re battling hot flashes, weight gain, incontinence, or vaginal discomfort of any type, reach out to our clinic today. We have the personalized tools, technologies, and tips to help you get the relief you deserve!
OB/GYN Associates of Alabama: Menopause Relief in Birmingham, AL
OB/GYN Associates of Alabama proudly serves women in the Birmingham metro area with the latest women’s health advancements and compassionate care. From our convenient locations in Hoover, Gardendale, and downtown Birmingham, we’ve been serving women in this community since 1965. To schedule your appointment, call 205-271-1600 or contact us online.