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Dr. Deb Answers Some of Your Questions About Menopause

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Thanks for all your comments and questions about menopause. I have taken the most common ones and provided short answers based on scientific literature. Do chat with your doctor about all your health concerns.

What is menopause?

Menopause is a single day — the day that you have not had your period for 12 consecutive months. The years that lead up to menopause are a transition from the reproductive to the nonreproductive state. It’s basically reverse puberty.

To learn more, read Menopause: A Heck of a Lot More Than Hot Flashes.

What are hot flashes?

A hot flash is the suddenly feeling of being really hot, likely accompanied by flushing of the face, neck, and chest. At least 10 percent of the population — male and female — experience hot flashes throughout their lives. For the other 90 percent, hot flashes are transient.

To learn more, read 9 Hot Flash Facts You Probably Didn’t Know.

Should I take hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?

Since menopause is essentially just a transition to a nonreproductive state, HRT is not truly necessary. With that in mind, we recommend that estrogen therapy be prescribed only as a short-term solution (no more than five years) under the guidance of your doctor. Some women ask their doctors to let them stay on HRT longer, and some doctors may oblige, but only for certain women without cardiovascular or breast cancer concerns. 

To learn more, read 6 Questions about Hormone Replacement Therapy Answered.

Why is my skin so dry?

With age comes skin changes. Moisture levels drop and staying hydrated and moisturizing becomes more important than ever.

To learn more, read 4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed About Vaginal Dryness.

Why is my hair falling out?

Both men and women begin to experience a decrease in hair thickness in their mid-40s. Your hairline may also recede with age. Hormones may be to blame. Nutrition is important for good hair.

To learn more, read Don’t Pull Your Hair Out: How to Cope With Thinning Tresses.

What can I do about weight gain?

Weight gain is not just a problem during perimenopause, but even women who’ve never struggled with their weight can see the pounds creep on as hormones fall and metabolism slows. Genes do influence weight, but the biggest single factor in weight maintenance is diet.

To learn more, read The Truth About Menopause and Weight Gain.

Do you have questions about menopause? Write and let us know.

About the author
Dr. Deb has more than 20 years of experience in academic medicine leadership positions, delivering educational programs on women's health and primary care research for healthcare workers in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

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