By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: May 14, 2015
Menopause is a defining moment for many women. For some it is a massive relief of never having to have another period, while other women experience it as a loss, with concerns about intimacy and hot flashes. Vaginal dryness and night sweats may continue well beyond menopause. While these can be treated with low-dose hormone therapy or lifestyle changes like using vaginal lubricant and dressing in layers, other health concerns that are related to the decrease in estrogen like cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis need to be discussed with your doctor to decide what additional steps you may need to take to stay healthy.
CONTINUING GYN CARE
Discussing some of your additional GYN concerns with a doctor after menopause can often go by the wayside, since the cyclical events that remind you of your reproductive health diminish over time. Even though the focus of your GYN health has moved away from concerns due to monthly cycles, it now needs to shift to longer term care. Even during and after menopause, women complain of pelvic pain or abnormal bleeding due to untreated fibroids. In addition, annual exams to screen for cancer or prolapsed pelvic organs are also essential.
TREATMENT FOR FIBROIDS, ENDOMETRIOSIS AND ADENOMYOSIS
After menopause, many women remain reluctant to have a hysterectomy, but there are conditions for which hysterectomy is the only cure. While fibroids may be treated with medical therapy or alternative surgical procedures, the most comprehensive treatment to reduce or eliminate symptoms is a hysterectomy.
More than 75 percent of endometrial cancer (cancer cells form in the uterine lining) cases are diagnosed after age 55. The median age is 62. If caught in the early stage, there is a high chance of survival. In stage 1 of endometrial cancer, more than 95 percent of women have a 5 year survival rate. Source: National Cancer Institute http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/corp.html.
Ovarian cancer affects 1.3 percent of women. While there has been a steady increase over the last 40 years in the percentage of women with a 5-year survival rate, the current data shows a 45% survival rate. It is essential that women continue to get examined after menopause. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and are not specific to the disease. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/ovary.html
In many cases, early cervical cancer does not have any symptoms which makes the Pap smear a very important test for detection. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/cervix.html
PELVIC ORGAN PROLAPSE
Although many women who have pelvic organ prolapse do not have symptoms, the most common and bothersome symptom is pressing of the uterus or other organs against the vaginal wall. Pelvic organ prolapse is diagnosed during a pelvic examination.
Advanced laparoscopic hysterectomy does not increase the risk of prolapse, because all of the supporting ligaments and muscles are preserved. Open abdominal hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy procedures may increase the risk of prolapse due to the potential removal of supporting ligaments.
To learn more about these conditions, visit: https://innovativegyn.com/conditions/ or to learn more about important GYN care during and after menopause, visit https://innovativegyn.com and book a consultation.
The Center for Innovative GYN Care surgeons, Dr. Natyala Danilyants or Dr. Paul MacKoul are available to answer questions via Red Hot Mamas. Submit Your Questions