Dr. Pamela Dee, OB/GYN, is a paid spokesperson for Estroven®. The information provided herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as medical advice or to replace professional medical care. You should always seek the advice of a medical professional before starting any new medication or dietary supplement. The opinions stated herein are those solely of the writer and do not portray the opinions of the Estroven® brand, i-Health, Inc., or DSM.
Dr. Pamela Dee^ (Dr. Pam) is America’s leading menopause expert & OB/GYN, and she is on a mission to encourage honest dialogue about the physical and emotional symptoms that accompany menopause. Her goal is to de-stigmatize menopause and start the “Menopause Romance Revolution.” Her new film, LOVE, SWEAT & TEARS shares an empowering message of hope and action. Dr. Pam^ won’t rest until every woman knows the truth about menopause—that there is hope, and that the third part of a woman’s life can be the best and most romantic.
One of the most common questions in my practice is, “How will I know that I am in menopause?” My answer: there are a constellation of signs and symptoms that may at first be very subtle but become more obvious as time goes by.
1. Joint Pain
Many of these changes are also associated with aging in general and can happen to men as well. Take joint pain for instance. As people age, the constant wear and tear of daily activities can take their toll. Cartilage between bones gets thinner and recovery from injuries takes longer.
2. Weight Change
There is a shift in metabolism as we age that contributes to weight change. This is probably the most upsetting for my patients. A perimenopausal woman must be cognizant that this will occur and prepare for it by maintaining physical activity and decreasing caloric intake.
3. Skin Changes
Skin starts to sag and wrinkle because of the redistribution of fat under the skin, loss of muscle mass and loss of collagen. About 30% of skin collagen is lost during the first five years after menopause.1Perimenopausal women may notice this most visibly on their face, neck and upper arms. Acne results from an increase in oil or sebum production due to an abundance of male hormones compared to estrogen. Dry skin is also a common condition of aging skin and results from decreased water and lipid content of the skin as well as reduced oil production and sweating.
4. Hair Loss
Female pattern hair loss is more common after menopause and is thought to be due to the altered estrogen-to-androgen (male hormone) ratio. There may be a gradual shedding of hair on the top of the head. It may first be noticed because the hair part appears to be widening; unlike male pattern hair loss, the front hairline is maintained. While a menopausal woman may be losing hair on the top of the head, whiskers may start forming on the upper lip, chin and cheeks. The occasional “rogue hairs” on the chin may seem to appear overnight!
Another subtle change starts with drying out of the mucous membranes. The eyes may become very dry, often requiring frequent administration of lubricating drops. The mouth may become dry. Vaginal dryness is also common, potentially leading to pain during intercourse.
6. Changes in Menstruation
The menstrual changes may seem overwhelming when they initially occur. Menses may become more frequent and heavier before they lighten up, space out and eventually stop.
Is it all doom and gloom? Absolutely not! Menopause can be a wonderful time of freedom from periods and worries of pregnancy. All women are not going to have every symptom. In general, I recommend the following to help manage menopause:
- Maintain a healthy weight. It can help with hot flashes, acne and menstrual problems
- Engage in physical activity to protect your bones, reduce stress and help manage weight changes
- Try Estroven® Maximum Strength + Energy, which is formulated to help with hot flashes and night sweats*
- Take care of skin, hair, teeth and eyes with preventative visits to healthcare providers
- Avoid excessive alcohol, as it can increase stress and lead to sleep troubles
- Practice stress reduction techniques and decrease caffeine use to help feel calm and in control
- Take the advice of those who have already experienced menopause to help prepare for the changes, and support other women with your own advice
You can do this! I promise.
1 Menopause Practice. A Physicians Guide 5th Edition. Chapter 2: Midlife Body Changes p 21-38. North American Menopause Society. 2014
^Dr. Pamela Dee is a paid spokeswoman for Estroven®.