Not Your Mother's Menopause: Tips to Master the Transition
While the number of studies on treatment of women with symptoms during perimenopause is relatively small, Jimmy Khandalavala, MD, a CHI Health obstetrician/gynecologist, said many of them show that the available treatments can make a noticeable difference. Some key areas of interest to most women:
BLADDER CONTROL — Khandalavala estimates that about 33 percent of perimenopausal women deal with this issue. “The lack of estrogen can definitely affect the pelvic floor tone,” he said. “The female pelvic floor has tons of estrogen receptors and when the estrogen goes away, the tone of the entire pelvic floor is affected. This brings a risk of prolapse and a risk of incontinence of urine.”
BONE DENSITY — Although Medicare doesn’t cover bone density testing until after age 65 in patients with no risk factors for osteoporosis, Khandalavala said testing can be started as early as age 55 if a woman has risk factors. He added that the list of risk factors is lengthy, meaning many women can get an early start on bone density testing.
HAIR LOSS — “It’s not so much hair loss as the quality of the hair that many women dislike,” Khandalavala said. “Women may begin to notice that their hair is more brittle or doesn’t have the natural sheen that it once had. Also, they tend to find the quality of the skin decreases – there’s more wrinkling and the skin can get more fragile.”
Myth-busting Women's Health
Myth: Women's bladders are smaller than men.
Fact: Both genders have similar bladder capacity. It's the pressure of the uterus that causes women to run to the bathroom more often.
Myth: Breast cancer is always hereditary.
Fact: Fewer than 10 percent of women with breast cancer have a known gene mutation that increases risk. More than 75% have no family history of the disease.
Myth: If your mom has wrinkles, you will too.
Fact: Just 10 percent of the way you age is caused by genetics; 90 percent is determined by environmental factors like sun exposure and diet.