Menopause is a natural phase of life, but it can significantly impact a woman’s health and wellbeing. At NewYork-Presbyterian, our experienced and compassionate gynecologists provide the highest level of care to women in every phase of life, including the years before, during, and following menopause. We help you understand the changes you can expect during menopause and offer strategies and lifestyle adjustments to address your symptoms and lower your risk for chronic diseases that the aging process may bring. We provide you with knowledge, support, and the superior care you need to help you live your best life.
Stages of menopause
There are three phases of menopauses:
Perimenopause — the years leading up to menopause — starts when the estrogen produced by the ovaries begins to fluctuate. One common sign of perimenopause is a change in your menstrual cycle, with cycles becoming longer or shorter than usual or the amount of flow lighter or heavier. Perimenopause typically begins in a woman’s mid 40s.
The symptoms of menopause and perimenopause greatly vary from woman to woman. Some women have no symptoms or only experience mild symptoms. These symptoms may include:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes, including night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping, including insomnia (trouble falling asleep), or waking up earlier or later than usual
- Vaginal dryness
- Urinary incontinence
- Pelvic floor prolapse
- Memory problems
- Mood or emotional changes
- Decreased libido (sex drive)
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
Menopause is defined as the process in which you stop having menstrual cycles for 12 consecutive months. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing estrogen, a hormone that helps control the menstrual cycle. Menopause marks the end of the reproductive years. The average age that women go through menopause is approximately 51 years.
Once you have gone through menopause (having no menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months), post-menopause begins. Your menopausal symptoms may start to fade after menopause but could continue for many years.
Since menopause affects everyone differently, it’s important to receive care from an experienced gynecologist committed to understanding and improving your symptoms and protecting you against the health risks of menopause and the aging process.
Menopause & age-related health conditions
Without the protective effects of estrogen, post-menopausal women are at increased risk for various chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, bone loss (osteopenia and osteoporosis), and cancer. As women age, health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight, or being physically inactive can increase the risk for these chronic diseases.
Women in their menopausal years may not have any symptoms, but some women struggle with challenges, such as urogynecological disorders (such as incontinence and pelvic floor prolapse), sleep problems, weight gain, memory problems, and mood disorders.
At NewYork-Presbyterian, our experienced gynecologists have a thorough understanding of the physical and emotional impact that menopause can have. We view menopause as a time to evaluate one’s health, identify risks, and initiate strategies to prevent the chronic diseases that menopause and the aging process may bring. Early planning and lifestyle changes can help lessen the symptoms of menopause and ensure that your body is functioning at optimum levels so you can enjoy this time of life.
Our Approach to Care
Our gynecologists will sit down with you and take a comprehensive medical history, discuss any symptoms you may have, and learn about your lifestyle habits such as diet and nutrition, physical activity, and stress levels. We develop a personalized treatment plan to minimize your symptoms and improve your overall health.
Mid-Life Women’s Health Program: NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine offers this multidisciplinary program to address women’s needs in mid-life and through menopause. Pioneered by obstetrician-gynecologists, the program includes specialists in primary care, cardiology, neurology, endocrinology, integrative health, psychiatry, and weight loss. Often these consultations start with a telehealth visit.
The Columbia Women’s Mental Health Program: NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center offers a comprehensive clinical program developed in collaboration with the Division of Psychiatry and the Department of OB-GYN. The program addresses women’s mental health needs across the life cycle, including problems that occur during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and the postpartum period, and in the course of parenting. Our experts also help women deal with infertility, fetus’s loss during pregnancy, and later, with the onset of menopause.
Women’s Heart Health Program: Both NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian & Weill Cornell Medicine offer women’s heart health programs to address women’s unique cardiovascular health needs. These programs seek to identify women at increased risk for heart disease, prevent disease development and progression, and improve women’s overall health and social well-being.
The Integrated Women’s Health Program, offered at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, provides comprehensive, coordinated care that looks at the whole woman. Our program delivers care management for a broad range of women’s health care services, from routine gynecology to heart health, to ensure every woman gets the care she needs and is empowered to take an active role in her own health and well-being. Our patient-centered approach involves coordination with specialists from across Columbia University Irving Medical Center to optimize health outcomes across a woman’s life course.
The Integrative Health and Wellbeing Program: NewYork-Presbyterian, in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine, offers customized, evidence-based care to patients who may not find relief in a more “typical” medical setting. The program offers acupuncture, mind-body therapies, and relaxation techniques and provides guidance about nutrition, herbal supplements, and plant-based hormones.
Treatments we offer
We offer various treatments for menopausal symptoms based on a patient’s symptoms, disease risks, and other factors. Treatment options include:
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Medications such as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM)
- Vaginal estrogen in the form of a cream, a ring, or a tablet to treat vaginal dryness and prevent urinary tract infections
- Holistic and alternative treatments
- Lifestyle changes, including eating a balanced diet, reducing stress, getting more sleep, and regular exercise
Why Choose Us
The complex nature of menopause and its related conditions requires a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to each woman’s care. At NewYork-Presbyterian, our gynecologists are North American Menopause Society Certified Menopause Practitioners, which means they are focused on preventive care and patient education to help women achieve optimum health and well-being.
We work closely with each patient to develop a personalized treatment plan that minimizes the symptoms and discomfort of menopause and formulate strategies to improve her overall health. Our gynecologists closely collaborate with specialists in cardiology, endocrinology, psychiatry, neurology, sleep medicine, and nutrition to provide coordinated care that addresses a woman’s individual needs and her risks for disease. Through NewYork-Presbyterian’s extensive network of resources and support services, we help women navigate the many challenges of menopause.
Personalized and holistic care to address women’s unique needs
Just as every woman is unique, so is her experience with menopause and the aging process. We take a personalized, holistic approach to menopause care in which we strive to understand each patient as a whole person, including her physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. We proactively address a woman’s comprehensive needs through careful listening and open discussions as she transitions through the menopausal years. Some of the issues may include:
- Weight changes and nutrition
- Heart health
- Bone health and osteoporosis
- Mental health
Advancing the field through research
In addition to providing world-class care, our gynecologists conduct innovative research to better understand menopause and its symptoms. Our clinician-investigators continue to pursue studies of new therapies. Our patients benefit from treatments and therapies based on the most up-to-date research and findings.
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