What is postmenopause?
Postmenopause occurs after a woman hasn’t had a menstrual period in 12 consecutive months. It typically happens between the ages of 48 and 53, with the average age of 51. While some symptoms related to menopause, such as hot flashes, can ease with time during the postmenopausal period, there is an increased risk of other complications due to low estrogen levels. Every woman experiences postmenopause differently, which is why your care plan is specific to your needs.
When it comes to helping you through postmenopause, our professionals focus on easing your symptoms and helping improve your quality of life. We analyze your current condition to find the treatment approach that best fits you, whether it’s estrogen supplements, simple lifestyle changes or laser therapy. In addition, we work hard to manage the risks involved with postmenopause, such as osteoporosis. You can rely on Northwell Health experts to help you through every step of this transitional time in your life.
Common symptoms of postmenopause include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal pain, irritation
- Pain during intercourse
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Narrowing of the vagina
- Urine frequency
- Urinary infections
- Urinary incontinence
- Decreased libido
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Night sweats
- Thinning of skin or hair
Risks associated with postmenopause include:
- Osteoporosis—A condition that causes bones to become fragile and brittle
- Chronic sleep disruption
- Sexual discomfort
- Sleep problems
How is it diagnosed?
Typically your doctor will diagnose you through a medical history and physical exam. In addition, your doctor may recommend bone densitometry, a test that measures the density of your bones, due to the increased risk of osteoporosis.
Treatment options for postmenopausal management include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Physical therapy for vaginal tightness
- Sexual therapy
- Dietary modifications
- Botox injection in vagina to decrease muscle spasms
- Oral estrogen alone or combined with progestin systemic therapy
- Laser therapy of the vagina and vulva for menopausal dryness and pain
- Vaginal estrogen tablets, rings and creams
- Vaginal dilators (can be performed at home or under light sedation)
- Lifestyle changes—Routine exercise and a well-balanced nutrition regimen can help control postmenopause symptoms