Perimenopause & Menopause

Perimenopause & Menopause

What you need to know about Perimenopause and Menopause.

Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months. Symptoms of menopause result from lowered hormone levels and they include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and vaginal dryness. The signs and symptoms of approaching menopause can include irregular periods and shorter intervals between cycles, as well as often intermittent night sweats and hot flashes.

The average age when women go through menopause is 51 years. Menstrual periods often become more irregular as women approach menopause. Most women experience some symptoms associated with menopause in their forties, and can benefit from education and occasionally treatment at that time.

Dr. Lepine’s interest in and appreciation for the complexities of menopause were deepened through her work as gynecologic consultant for the Emory University site of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Many of the WHI participants repeatedly expressed their hope that the results of this large multi-center, NIH-funded study would clarify the appropriate use of menopausal hormone therapy for their daughters and granddaughters. Unfortunately, this wish has not been fulfilled. Instead, there has been much publicized criticism of the study’s methods and confusion about the interpretation of the results. However, some good has come from the WHI, including:

  • A better recognition of the need to individualize menopause therapy
  • An emphasis on assessing family history and other risk factors
  • Wider availability of differing hormonal products and doses
  • Greater consideration of alternatives to hormonal treatments.

Our goals for perimenopause and menopause counseling and treatment are to:

  1. Educate you on the expected signs and symptoms of menopause as well as warning signs for serious health concerns
  2. Work with you to find the best solutions to bothersome menopause symptoms, taking into consideration your philosophy and desires
  3. Take a comprehensive approach to both alleviate the symptoms of menopause and help prevent disease

We feel very strongly about providing scientifically sound medical care.  Many celebrities and others have proclaimed themselves menopause experts, and there is a plethora of inaccurate and potentially dangerous information and recommended treatment relating to the menopause.  Examples include the Wiley Protocol and the use of salivary testing for hormonal evaluation. If you are looking specifically for this kind of treatment, our practice is not for you.

We will provide you with up-to-date information on the latest research. We will not treat you with a “one size fits all” approach, or perform tests that do not have scientific merit or validity. Although many questions remain unanswered, there is reliable scientific information to inform decisions about menopausal care. We enjoy working with women at this stage in their lives and we feel passionately about how we can best serve you. For more information about our philosophy please see:  Menopausal Hormone Therapy Consults.