You deserve compassionate, expert care throughout your entire life — including before, during and after menopause.
At Weill Cornell Medicine, our doctors understand that menopause and menopause symptoms can negatively impact your daily life. We are here to help you live the full, healthy and active life you want by minimizing uncomfortable symptoms and improving your health and well-being.
You do not need to live with discomfort. We are here to answer your questions, address all of your concerns and promote long-term health with preventative care. We are committed to understanding and supporting you through every stage and transition. We are here to help you live the best life possible.
Multidisciplinary preventative care for long-term health: Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology includes doctors who are passionate about delivering comprehensive care during patients’ midlife.
You and your doctor will discuss your symptoms and develop a unique treatment plan to minimize discomfort. Next, you will discuss ways to improve your overall health and well-being for many years to come. Our gynecologists will connect you with specialists at the Integrative Health and Well-Being Program, Women’s Heart Program and Iris Cantor Women’s Center, as well as specialists in endocrinology, psychiatry, neurology or urogynecology if necessary.
Comprehensive care founded on the most advanced research: In addition to caring for our patients, the doctors at Weill Cornell are on the forefront of research efforts to better understand menopause and its symptoms. As a scientifically based academic institution, Weill Cornell Medicine seeks to offer you the most effective treatments and therapies based on the most up-to-date research and findings.
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Menopause is a normal and natural biological process that often occurs during midlife. It is a transition that happens as the number of eggs in the ovaries declines and hormone production changes.
Menopause is defined as the process in which you stop having menstrual cycles for 12 months. After menopause, you are no longer able to become pregnant.
In the U.S., the average age for menopause is 51. Symptoms can range from being very painful to unnoticeable — and they may last for several years or only a few weeks. Since menopause affects everyone differently, it’s important to receive care from a trained gynecologist who is committed to understanding and improving your individual symptoms.
Throughout the stages of menopause, your ovaries become smaller and your body stops producing the estrogen and progesterone hormones that control your menstrual cycle. Eventually, your eggs become depleted and you are no longer able to become pregnant. This process can cause different symptoms at different times.
There are three stages to natural menopause: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.
Perimenopause (before menopause): Physical changes start to occur several years before the final menstrual period. Your ovaries get smaller and stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone that control the menstrual cycle. As your eggs deplete, your fertility declines.
You may experience some irregularities in your periods before they stop. It is common and normal to begin skipping periods during perimenopause. Often, periods will skip a month and return, or skip several months and then start up again. Menstrual cycles tend to get shorter, so they are closer together. You may also experience other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, which are often most severe during perimenopause.
Although your menstrual periods may be irregular, you can still get pregnant during the perimenopause stage.
Menopause: Menopause refers to when you permanently stop having your menstrual cycles. At this stage, you have gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period with no other apparent causes, such as breastfeeding or illness. Menopause causes lower levels of estrogen and other hormones.
Your ovaries have now stopped releasing eggs. You are no longer able to become pregnant, but are still at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
Each menopause experience is unique and the symptoms can vary widely. Symptoms that might have started before menopause can continue through menopause and after, but many often begin to subside.
Postmenopause (after menopause): Once you have gone through menopause (having no menstrual cycle for 12 straight months), you begin the post-menopause stage. Your menopausal symptoms may start to fade away after menopause, but could continue for many years.
After menopause, you are more at risk for:
● Heart disease
● Breast cancer
● Bone loss (osteopenia and osteoporosis)
● Urogynecologic disorders (incontinence and pelvic floor prolapse)
Preventive health care after menopause may include recommended health screening tests, such as colonoscopies, mammographies and triglyceride screenings. Getting regular check-ups and the recommended preventive screening tests are the most important things you can do to reduce your risk.
Premature and early menopause: Premature menopause is when you experience menopause before age 40; early menopause happens before age 45. Both premature and early menopause cause symptoms similar to natural menopause.
The causes of premature or early menopause are not always known. However, they are often due to genetics, illness or medical procedures.
Premature and early menopause are often diagnosed when a patient is unable to become pregnant or is experiencing menopausal symptoms. Besides taking a family history and performing a physical exam, your physician will test your hormone levels (estrogen and gonadotropin) to determine if you have gone through menopause.
Those experiencing premature or early menopause must cope with additional physical and emotional concerns. You may be at a higher risk of osteoporosis or heart disease. Our gynecologists are here to help you navigate premature and early menopause to promote comfort and the best possible quality of life.
Everyone experiences menopause differently. Fluctuations and changes in your hormone levels, including decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone, can cause a number of symptoms. The severity of these symptoms varies greatly from person to person. Currently, doctors are not sure why some people experience severe symptoms or what causes severe symptoms.
While some menopausal symptoms are not bothersome, other symptoms can be uncomfortable and negatively affect your quality of life. You do not need to suffer in silence or live with discomfort. Our doctors are here to help you manage your symptoms and live the full, vibrant life you want.
During perimenopause and menopause, you may experience:
● Irregular periods
● Hot flashes
● Night sweats
● Vaginal dryness
● Decreased sex drive (libido)
● Difficulty falling or staying asleep
● Mood or emotional changes
● Thinning hair
● Urinary incontinence
If, at any stage, menopause causes you discomfort, treatment is available. As a patient at Weill Cornell Medicine, your doctor focuses on understanding and managing your specific symptoms to improve your comfort level and quality of life. Our physicians offer a wide variety of treatments and preventative care options that will help you achieve optimum health.
Lifestyle changes: You can improve your overall comfort by making simple lifestyle changes. You and your doctor can discuss ways to improve your lifestyle, such as getting more sleep, eating a more balanced diet, exercising frequently, practicing relaxation techniques, strengthening your pelvic floor or using over-the-counter vaginal lubricants to ease vaginal dryness.
Personalized hormone therapy: Hormone therapy can be effective in relieving hot flashes and other symptoms, as well as preventing bone loss. It is also a common treatment for premature or early menopause.
Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of hormone therapy before developing an individualized plan. Hormone therapy is typically taken orally (pills that you swallow).
Vaginal estrogen: To relieve vaginal dryness and discomfort, estrogen therapy can be applied directly to the vagina in the form of a cream, a ring inserted into the vagina or a tablet of medication.
Other medications: Other medications are available to lessen the severity of hot flashes, bone loss and other discomforts.
Integrative health: An increasing body of research shows that integrative health practices — when used collaboratively with your physician’s care plan — can improve menopausal symptoms and increase long-term health. The experts at the Weill Cornell Medicine Integrative Health and Well-Being Program can offer you guidance about nutrition, herbal supplements and plant-based hormones. The team also offers acupuncture, mind-body therapies and relaxation techniques.
Our physicians are passionate about providing the highest level of care for every stage of life, from adolescence to childbearing to menopause and the post-menopause years. Our team focuses on preventative care and patient education, which empowers you to achieve your optimum level of health.