Common Menopause Symptoms
When it comes to the change in life, most women go through a variation of the same common menopause symptoms. (1)
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Hot flashes
- Feeling tired
- Changes of mood
- Problems sleeping
- General forgetfulness
- Difficulty focusing
- Putting on weight
- Vaginal dryness
- Dry skin
- Slower metabolism
- Thinning Hair
If that seems like quite a list, it is. And that’s by no means an exhaustive breakdown of the myriad of menopausal symptoms that can strike.
A combination of these symptoms in their own right can be distressing and overwhelming if you don’t know how to combat them.
Whether it’s having someone to talk to or the need to determine your best course of action, seeing a doctor during menopause is a smart move. She will help you more easily navigate the waters of the change and steer you in the right direction.
Why Should You See a Doctor During Menopause?
As well as putting your mind at rest and reassuring you that you’re not going crazy, seeing a doctor during the change is your best bet if you want to alleviate symptoms as much as possible.
Beyond this, seeing a doctor can guide you in the direction of the most suitable form of treatment for menopause. Many of these symptoms can bring about health problems so it’s key that you get sound medical advice to enjoy a happier transition into menopause. (2)
How To Find The Right Menopause Doctor
Once you’ve decided the time is right to see a menopause doctor, how do you go about finding one?
A solid starting point is to ask around and see if your friends or family can recommend anyone. This gives you the confidence of knowing your nearest and dearest trust that doctor.
If your regular GP can’t help you out directly, you can always ask for a referral to someone more specialized. This approach again has the advantage of coming with a personal recommendation so it’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Another option is to check out the database offered by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), a handy online resource to help you track down NCMPs (NAMS Certified Medical Practitioners.) (3)
Once you’ve used your chosen method and found a menopause doctor, what should you do in the lead-up to the appointment to get the most out of your first meeting?
How To Prepare For a Menopause Doctor’s Appointment
Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Proper preparation is key if you want to get maximum value from your gynecologist appointment.
Focus first on tracking your symptoms in the weeks and months leading up to your first appointment. Check out our recent article Why Tracking Your Symptoms is Pivotal to Your Menopause Symptoms for a look at charting all symptoms so you can present a precise and detailed list to your doctor. This will help her to best counsel you on ways in which you can push back.
You’ve got a list (or your report from Vergo’s symptom tracker app; download this ios app free) outlining all your menopause symptoms and how they have affected you.
Now it’s time to assemble some more general questions and concerns you might have about the change…
- Are you menopausal?
- How long will your symptoms last?
- Is it necessary to be referred to a specialist like an OB/GYN?
- What different treatments are available?
- The pros and cons of HRT (hormone replacement therapy)
- The best places to search for accurate medical information online
- What dietary changes are necessary?
You can use this handful of questions to kickstart your thinking. Add anything that you have on your mind about menopause so you’ve got a concise document of everything you want to find out.
We cover this in more detail here. (4)
The final thing worth noting down is any allergies you might have, what other prescription drugs you are taking, whether or not you use alcohol, tobacco or recreational drugs and a brief outline of your sexual history. (5)
Once you’ve got that little dossier of information together, it’s time to head to your first appointment.
At The Doctor’s Office
With a list of your symptoms and general questions in hand, all that remains is to honestly communicate with your doctor so you can work together to achieve the best outcome. There’s no place for embarrassment - your doctor has seen and heard it all before.
One final thing to note: it’s well worth writing down notes since you’re likely to be bombarded with information that will be tough to remember.
Look at how you can best combat any menopause symptoms you’re experiencing, explore treatment options and you’ll be delighted you finally arranged to see a menopause doctor.
Vergo is an interactive program that gives women the tools to understand their Menopause.
- The Vergo iOS symptom tracker (emailable to your healthcare provider)
- The Vergo QuikTrak symptom tracker (the refillable pdf version, also emailable)
- Vergo’s Interactive Education Program, Journey Without a Roadmap: Understanding Menopause
- Curated guides to the biggest questions and hottest topics around menopause symptoms and treatment options
- Must-have information on male menopause: There’s an Andropause? (an overview of what your guy could be going through)
- Terminology Cheat Sheets
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