There are as many different experiences of menopause as there are women. For some women, menopause arrives like a gentle breeze with barely a feeling of warmth or any other bothersome symptom, while others experience menopause like a Class 5 Tropical storm with overnight drenching hot flashes and night sweats, mood changes and a complete disruption in life. While many clinicians understandably and appropriately focus on hot flashes and night sweats, many women may be more concerned with sleep disturbances, weight gain, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, incontinence and mood changes.
There are many hormonal and non-hormonal remedies that are available to address and treat women’s symptoms. I find that by first asking the woman what she’s most concerned with is a good place to start the conversation. I also ask what symptoms are most bothersome, as well as what remedies she has already tried. It’s also important to validate that many women are using complementary and alternative remedies that provide relief at varying levels of effectiveness. It’s also important to provide information about the availability of FDA approved bio-identical hormones, non-hormonal medications as well as over-the-counter options with risks and benefits.
See Barb Dehn, RN, MS, NP FAANP, NCMP speak in Nashville, Pensacola Beach, and Orlando (October).