Oasis Women's Health
Heather Skanes, MD
Obstetrician/Gynecologist located in Birmingham, AL
Menopause is the stage in a woman’s life that marks the end of her menstrual cycle. Though a normal part of the aging process, the hormonal changes that occur during the transition to menopause may affect your quality of life. At Oasis Women's Health in Birmingham, Alabama, Heather Skanes, MD, provides comprehensive care for women before and after menopause. To schedule your menopause consultation, call the office or book an appointment online today.
What is menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she stops having her period. You officially reach menopause when you go one full year without your period. This happens because your ovaries no longer produce estrogen and progesterone.
Despite what you might think, menopause doesn’t happen all at once. As you get older, your reproductive system naturally slows down. As you get closer to menopause, estrogen production slows, which initiates many of the symptoms you associate with menopause.
The transitional period to menopause, known as perimenopause, may last several months or several years. Women of color tend to start perimenopause at an earlier age than white women, have a longer transitional period, and experience more severe symptoms.
At Oasis Women's Health, Dr. Skanes specializes in the health care needs of women of color and can provide the menopausal care you need when you need it.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Typically, symptoms of menopause start during perimenopause and continue through menopause and postmenopause (rest of your life after menopause). Though the type and severity of symptoms vary.
Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during intercourse
- Urinary urgency
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Low libido
Menopause symptoms occur because of the fluctuations in your hormone levels.
When should I schedule a menopause consultation?
Dr. Skanes may start talking to you about menopause during your annual well-woman exam before you even start the transitional period.
Menopause is a natural part of your aging process, but the hormonal changes that occur cause more than just physical symptoms. Your decreasing estrogen levels may increase the rate of bone loss and your risk of osteoporosis. You may also experience an increase in blood cholesterol levels, which may affect heart health.
In addition to your annual well-woman exam, you should also schedule a menopause consultation with Dr. Skanes if you start to have symptoms of menopause that affect your quality of life.
She conducts a comprehensive evaluation to determine the best treatment to alleviate your symptoms.
How is menopause treated?
You can’t stop menopause. However, Dr. Skanes offers various treatments to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
Treatment for menopause may include:
- Hormone therapy for hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal estrogen for vaginal dryness
- Vaginal lubricants for vaginal dryness
- Low-dose antidepressants for hot flashes and mood changes
- Gabapentin or clonidine for hot flashes
- Nutritional supplements
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
Dr. Skanes works one-on-one with you to develop a menopause treatment plan that provides the best symptom relief and fits your personal health needs and preferences.
For patient-centered menopause care, call Oasis Women's Health or book an appointment online today.