Duke gynecologists offer a range of treatment options when the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause affect your quality of life. The symptoms are mainly due to lower levels of estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes also increase your risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Your ob-gyn can help you stay healthy and active as you age.
Treating Menopause Symptoms
Talk to your doctor if you have irregular periods, problems sleeping, hot flashes, urinary issues, vaginal dryness, and/or painful sex. A women's health specialist will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the most appropriate treatment for you. Your evaluation may include tests to understand your risk or diagnosis for cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, untreated depression, and anxiety, which can mimic symptoms related to perimenopause and menopause.
Lifestyle Changes, OTC Medicines
Your women's health specialist can recommend simple changes in your diet or exercise habits, as well as over-the-counter medicines to make uncomfortable symptoms better.
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If hormone therapy is a safe and effective option for you, your women's health specialist will let you know which type of hormone therapy is right for you. Hormone therapy includes estrogen by itself, estrogen and progesterone, and regulated bioidentical hormone therapy. It can be given as pills that you swallow, a patch you wear on your skin (called a transdermal patch), or in another form -- such as a gel, spray, ring, cream, or vaginal tablet.
Low-Dose Oral Contraception
Birth control pills may be prescribed to relieve menopause symptoms in perimenopausal women. They can control irregular periods, hot flashes, and night sweats.
Some antidepressants can relieve hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances. This non-hormonal option may be recommended to women who are not good candidates for menopausal hormone therapy.
Laser Treatment for Vaginal Dryness
When hormone therapy isn’t effective, your women's health specialist may recommend a noninvasive treatment called the Mona Lisa Touch. This laser treatment causes the growth of new blood vessels and the production of collagen and elastin, which helps restore the vaginal walls.
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. That is why our gynecology program is nationally ranked, and is among the highest ranked programs in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021-2022.