Menopause occurs when a woman's body no longer produces estrogen and menstrual periods stop. Natural menopause occurs gradually, usually between the ages of 40 and 55, with the average age being 51. Menopause can also occur due to the removal of both ovaries.


Menopause is different for every woman. Some women notice little difference in their bodies or their emotions, while others have difficulty coping with the symptoms of menopause. The good news is that many of the symptoms of menopause can be controlled with a healthy lifestyle and medication. The doctors at Capital Women's Care specialize in designing an individualized treatment plan to help you manage this natural part of aging.

SymptomsWorth Noting
Changes in your periodOne of the earliest symptoms
Hot flashesMost common symptom; can occur both day and night
Problems sleepingOften caused by hot flashes; medication available
Vaginal changesVagina may become thin and dry; lubricants help
Urinary Tract ChangesMay need to urinate more frequently
Bone changesOsteoporosis can be managed with medication
Emotional changesOften due to a lack of sleep and decreasing estrogen
SexualityMenopause doesn't have to affect enjoyment of sex

Women's Health Initiative

Deciding whether or not to use hormone therapy is an important health decision. The Women's Health Initiative, a 15-year multi-million dollar endeavor sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has collected valuable information about the risks and benefits of long-term menopausal hormone therapy.

Here are some links that offer the latest Women's Health Initiative information and guidance about hormone use:

Non-Medical Treatments

In conjunction with traditional hormone therapy, many women choose non-medical treatments to ease their menopause symptoms. Perhaps one of the best ways to help your body cope with the changes caused by menopause is to eat a healthy and well balanced diet. It should include a variety of low-fat, low-cholesterol foods and enough calcium to help maintain strong bones.

Exercise is especially important as you approach menopause. Regular weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, slows down the bone loss that can result from lower estrogen levels and improves your overall health.

For some women, herbal products can help relieve the symptoms of menopause. Because of the wide variety of herbal treatments available and their varying effects, it is best to work with your doctor to determine if herbs are safe and effective for you. Also remember that herbs can interact with prescription medication, so it is important to always let your doctor know about any herbs you are taking.

Herbs that have been used to treat menopause include:

  • Soy Products
  • Black Cohosh
  • St. John's Wort
  • Wild Yam
  • Dong Quai
  • Evening Primrose
  • Valerian Root
  • Ginseng
  • Chasteberry

Working with your doctor at Capital Women's Care, you can come up with an individualized menopause treatment plan that takes into account your personal health history, risk factors, and preference.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy (HT) replaces the hormones that your ovaries no longer produce and can help relieve the symptoms of menopause. Depending on your situation, you may be given estrogen alone or a combination of estrogen with progestin, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. Hormone therapy is most often prescribed in the form of pills, injections, vaginal rings, or patches placed on the skin.

In addition to easing the symptoms of menopause, hormone therapy has benefits and risks associated with it. The estrogen that is prescribed as part of hormone therapy has been shown to protect against bone loss, help prevent osteoporosis, and reduce the risk of colon and rectal cancers.

Among the risks that have been linked to hormone therapy are a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer in women who use a combination of estrogen and progestin. The increased risk appears to be small, but increases the longer you are on hormone therapy. Hormone therapy also slightly increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots and of endometrial cancer in women who use estrogen alone.

Your choice of whether or not to use hormone therapy depends on your individual health history and risk factors. Since the results of research studies are not always in agreement, it can be hard to weigh the benefits against the risks and decide what is best for you. The doctors at Capital Women's Care will work with you to determine if hormone therapy is right for you.

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.


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