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Published on January 30, 2019

Women’s Health: Experiencing Your Own Personal Heatwave in Winter? Maybe It’s Menopause

Hot Flashes and Menopause

Perimenopause happens several years before menopause begins and includes some of the symptoms of menopause. Women have irregular periods during perimenopause. Menopause happens when women haven’t had a regular period in more than a year. Symptoms include hot flashes, mood change, vaginal dryness and insomnia. Once a woman is in menopause, she is always considered menopausal.

The most common complaint women have during menopause is experiencing hot flashes. There are many ways to manage them without medication. Nonpharmacological options include:

  • Dressing in layers.
  • Carrying a portable fan.
  • Exercising.
  • Making sure to regulate the temperature in your home.
  • Making your bed so you can take blankets off if you need to.

There are also pharmacological treatments available, which include both hormonal and nonhormonal options. Talk to your OB/GYN about which options are best for you.

Sexuality during menopause is also a common issue for some women. While most women do not have a decrease in their sex drive, some do. They may also experience discomfort during sex due to vaginal dryness. There are many treatments and medications available to help both symptoms.

Myra Dove, MD, is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at the Center for Women’s Healthcare, and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Dove completed medical school at West Virginia University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Charleston Area Medical Center. She has been in practice for more than 20 years.

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