As the level of estrogen in women decreases in perimenopause and menopause, shrinkage and dryness of the vaginal and urinary organs occur. The tissues thin out and the blood flow to the genitalia decreases. These changes can result in genital tissue dryness, burning, irritation, pain with intercourse and urinary difficulty such as urgency, frequency and incomplete emptying. These symptoms affect approximately 50% of women.
The changes in a woman’s body that eventually result in the symptoms mentioned above start long before the actual symptoms present themselves, which is why physicians should be watchful during yearly exams for any early signs. Also, women going through these hormonal changes should be aware of changes in their body and report any symptoms to their physicians.
There are several treatment options and each needs to be personalized based on the current level of discomfort and need. However, prevention is always the best policy.
Early hormonal replacement can prevent these changes from occurring. In our office, we prefer natural hormone therapy as it offers minimal adverse effects and maximal benefits to the affected area. We synthesize the hormones naturally and therefore have control over the dosage and ensure that the chemical structure is similar to the ones naturally produced in a woman’s body.
Non-hormonal options are also available for few patients that do not qualify for hormone therapy. This type of medication increases lubrication and reduce symptoms associated with menopause during use.
Evaluation of the bladder can help your doctor determine the exact nature of the urinary problem that may have gotten worse after menopause. Many options are then available to address these issues before they turn into major problems.
Kegel exercise, modification of diet and fluid intake and weight loss help strengthen the pelvic muscles and improve the function of the genital and urinary organs, keeping you healthy and improve the quality of life during this next stage of life.