Love it or hate it, all women experience the waning hormones associated with age. In this brief post, Marla Ahlgrimm, an HRT expert and retired health care specialist, answers questions no one wants speak (but everyone wants to ask) about menopause.
Q: Why does vaginal dryness occur during menopause?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Low estrogen is the culprit. Vaginal dryness causes discomfort and even embarrassing odor. You can combat this by using an OTC or prescription lubricant or cream. This is especially helpful when your condition interferes with your sex life. Hormone therapy and birth control may replace the lost estrogen and works well for many women.
Q: My periods are heavier now and seem to last forever. Why is this?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormones can trigger irregular menstrual cycles and menopause causes changes with our hormones. However, it is important to see your doctor if you begin bleeding more often than normal, the blood is a different color or consistency, or you do not bleed at all when expected. Not all missing cycles indicate that menopause is coming and other conditions may need immediate medical treatment.
Q: I want to ask a question, but I can’t remember what…
Marla Ahlgrimm: More than half of all women report memory and focus issues during menopause. Hormone treatments often do not help this issue. If you’re a smoker, quitting may help improve your memory.
Q: Why is it so much harder to “hold it” now that I no longer have periods?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Urinary incontinence is triggered by low estrogen, which can weaken the bladder and urethra. This is even more pronounced in women who already experience stress incontinence due to pregnancy. Kegel exercises and weight loss may help. Extreme urinary disorders may require the use of urethral caps, pads, or pessary.