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Women over 45: You are not alone!

We keep hearing 40 is the new 30, 50 is the new 40 and that we are in the prime of our lives. However, why don't we always feel this way? Because hot flushes are interfering with our sleep and we experience changes in our mood and memory.

Questions like "Where did I put my keys, did I lock the door, what is my neighbor's name" are not uncommon. We may have less patience and tolerance with loved ones because we are tired from having interrupted sleep.  Our relationship with our partner may be stressed because of feelings of neglect, when in truth we just want to relax and at times prefer a pint of Ben and Jerry's in our bed rather than Ben or Jerry.

As a menopausal woman myself, I am appreciative of these common complaints. When my patients come to see me, it's often the first time they express their symptoms and find out that not only can they get help, they are not alone.

It is my privilege to give them advice about what they can do to make their lives better. Medications aren't always needed; treatment may instead involve identifying what causes their symptoms. For example, I had a patient who experienced hot flushes, and by keeping a symptom diary, realized that they occurred before she went into church because of a childhood fear of the confessional. Once she identified the trigger, she was better able to control her flushes.

As a gynecologist specializing in care of the maturing woman, I know first-hand how education can greatly improve patient symptoms. I encourage my patients to ask me anything – from what can they do when sex hurts to how they can prevent hip fractures. We work together to identify the causes and develop a management plan best for them. No two women are identical and neither should their plan.

More and more women are living longer, and it is my joy to help them improve their quality of life. One thing is certain: all women seem relieved to learn they are not alone and they can be helped, which I consider an honor to do every day as their doctor.

Judi L. Chervenak, MD, is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN) in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at Montefiore Medical Center. She also is associate professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health (Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Posted by blogmoderator on 10/14/2013 at 12:21 PM Add Comment