Menopause is a term for the natural cessation of menstrual bleeding, which occurs in women on average in their early 50s due to the depletion of the egg supply in the ovaries. However, women can go through menopause as early as age 35 or as late as age 57. Perimenopause precedes menopause and can occur 8-15 years earlier, marking the start of the transition into menopause. This transition often produces symptoms that can include weight gain, mood fluctuations, fatigue, and decreased libido, among others. Such changes may or may not be accompanied by sweating or hot flashes. During this time, menstrual cycles become much more irregular. Many of these symptoms resolve within 6-8 months after menstruation ceases, however, 40% of women experience symptoms throughout their lifetime.
The end result of these changes is a decrease in production of the body’s primary estrogen. Concurrent with or sometime after menopause, testosterone production begins to decrease, which can further the previously mentioned symptoms. This is generally treated by the addition of molecular testosterone.
There are many treatments available to women that can eliminate or lessen the severity of symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause. They range from medications focused on maintaining bone stability and preventing osteoporosis, some of which may control hot flashes, to customized hormonal therapy. Other treatments include psychoactive agents; lifestyle modifications such as exercise and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and excessive caffeine; and relaxation therapy.
As part of the UAB Division of Women's Reproductive Healthcare, UAB Obstetrics and Gynecology’s services range from complete obstetric care to the medical and surgical treatment of complicated gynecological concerns. We work closely with the UAB Medicine Interventional Radiology team to diagnose and treat your condition, using the latest and most accurate technology and imaging methods, including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and CT scans. Because UAB Medicine is an academic health center, patients may be offered participation in clinical research trials, which can give you access to new techniques and treatments that are not available elsewhere in the area. Our physicians are here for you at all times, from your first routine gynecological exam, to delivering your baby, to guiding you through menopause. When you establish a relationship with our doctors, you can rely upon that relationship throughout your lifetime.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for menopause. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials