Talking about OBGYN Care Practices

Perimenopause And How You OBGYN Can Help You To Manage Symptoms

How can your OBGYN help you to navigate perimenopause? This transitional time is filled with hormonal, emotional, menstrual, and other physical changes. If you're not sure if your symptoms are part of perimenopause or how to handle them, take a look at what you need to know about this change and how a gynecologist can help.

What Is Perimenopause and What Are the Symptoms?

Did you think that someday your periods would stop and just like that you would reach menopause? This is a common misconception. Even though some women may not experience significant menstrual changes or other symptoms before reaching menopause (12 full months without a period), the perimenopausal transition can happen over the course of several years for others.

Perimenopause can last for up to 14 years and often starts between 45 and 55-years, according to the National Institute on Aging. Some women may experience perimenopausal symptoms before the age of 45, some may have them after 55, and others may have symptoms off and on in the years leading up to menopause. 

Common symptoms of perimenopause include changes in the menstrual cycle (including shorter, longer, heavier, or lighter periods), missed periods, spotting, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood changes, insomnia or other sleep changes, or a dip in sexual desire. You may experience no, some, or several of these symptoms during perimenopause.

How Can An OBGYN Doctor Help During Perimenopause?

The changes during this transitional time are also possible symptoms of other reproductive system issues. Unexplained spotting, longer periods, or heavier periods are part of perimenopause. But these are also symptoms of uterine fibroids or cervical polyps. Likewise, other symptoms (such as hot flashes and mood changes) may come from perimenopause, thyroid disease, or other hormonal disorders. This makes it important to talk to your doctor about potential perimenopause changes.

Your doctor may want to examine you, ask more questions, or order bloodwork/imaging studies to rule out other possible causes of menstrual and physical changes. If perimenopause is the cause of your symptoms, your OBGYN can help you to take the next steps.

Some women can tolerate perimenopause symptoms or have minor symptoms that don't interfere with daily life. But others may experience changes in their periods, mood, or hot flashes that require treatment. If your symptoms make you uncomfortable or make it challenging to work, care for your family, or do anything else, your doctor can suggest treatment options.

There is no cure for perimenopause. Instead, your gynecologist may recommend hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, vaginal estrogen, or supplements to reduce the severity of the symptoms and make perimenopause manageable. 

For more information, contact a local OBGYN.