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. Your ob-gyn will do a thorough evaluation to find out what would be the most appropriate treatment for you. Your evaluation may include tests to determine your risk or diagnosis for cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, which can cause symptoms that are similar to those that occur during menopause.
Lifestyle Changes, OTC Medicines
Your ob-gyn 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 ob-gyn 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 nonhormonal option may be recommended to women who can’t take estrogen.
Laser Treatment for Vaginal Dryness
When hormone therapy isn’t effective, your ob-gyn may recommend a noninvasive treatment called the Mona Lisa Touch. This laser treatment causes the growth of new blood vessels and the production of elastin, helping to restore vaginal walls.