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Menopause: What to Expect

“Every woman experiences menopause differently,” says OhioHealth’s John Parker, MD, a gynecologist and North American menopause-certified provider. “That’s why there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to managing menopause and its symptoms.”

The most common menopause symptoms include:

  • Menstrual changes (periods can become heavier or lighter)
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Pain with intercourse

Talk to Your Doctor

According to Dr. Parker, all those symptoms are treatable. Treatment may be simple lifestyle changes. And, depending on your medical history, hormone therapy and non-hormone therapy may also be options for you to consider.

“The main thing is to see your doctor,” Parker says. “Make a list of your symptoms before you go, and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to bring them up. I’ve seen women who have struggled with symptoms for a long time before they finally see me. Many admit they haven’t seen a gynecologist in 20 years, thinking they didn’t need to if they weren’t having babies anymore.”

Parker says even if you’re not having children, you still need to see your doctor once a year, or every two years if you’re past child-bearing years.

“A lot of changes happen in a woman’s body during menopause,” he explains. “We can start to manage symptoms when they’re mild instead of when they’re advanced.”

Even after the common symptoms of menopause let up (and they do), reduced hormone levels put women at a higher risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. Regular visits with your physician are important to also monitor changes that may be signs of those conditions.

Looking for a physician as you start this new phase of your life? OhioHealth’s menopause and women’s health specialists can help you navigate changes and stay healthy.