By: Holly L. Thacker, MD
Many of my patients have questions about menopause
and its symptoms. One of the most common is, “How will I know when I’m in menopause?” I say, “You’ll know in one of two ways: Either your menstrual pattern will change, or your periods will stop.”
The average age most women enter menopause is 51 years. You may start earlier or later (it doesn’t hurt to check with your mother. You may start menopause at the same age she did.) As your female hormone levels decline, you may find yourself experiencing unique symptoms such as hot flashes
. These symptoms
are at their most intense when your periods stop and for two years afterward.
If you find that symptoms
are disrupting your life, let your physician know. For most women, short-term hormone therapy
is the best solution for symptoms such as hot flashes and can prevent menopause-associated bone loss
. But hormone therapy
is highly individualized, based on your exam, your health history and your family health history. If the risks outweigh the benefits for you, we’ll offer alternatives to help you manage symptoms.