Menopause

We provide a wide array of comprehensive services tailored to meet your individual needs during this and other life phases

Menopause occurs when a woman permanently stops having menstrual periods. IU Health provides a wide array of comprehensive services tailored to meet women’s individual needs during this and other life phases.

Menopause most often occurs gradually, over several years, between ages 45 and 55. This stage signals the end of your ability to have children.

The years leading up to menopause are called perimenopause. This phase can last for up to 10 years. When you stop having menstrual periods consecutively for one year, you have reached menopause.

Diagnosis

Women’s Health specialists at IU Health focus on menopausal issues. Through the menopausal/post-reproductive years, they encourage you to see a physician annually for physical and gynecological exams, and every three years for Pap screenings. These exams help diagnose any issues you may have related to menopause and ensure you maintain the best health possible.

Cause

As you age, the amount of estrogen produced by your ovaries decreases, and eventually, they stop making enough estrogen to thicken the uterine lining. If you smoke and are underweight, you may experience an earlier menopause. If you are overweight, you may experience a later menopause.

Sometimes younger women go through menopause. If you have your ovaries surgically removed, this may trigger severe symptoms of menopause. Women who have a hysterectomy but keep their ovaries may stop menstruating, but they do not immediately experience the symptoms of menopause. They go through menopause at the normal age.

Symptoms

In the last few years of a woman’s menstrual cycle, periods can become more problematic. The symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep problems, night sweats, irregular bleeding, vaginal dryness and mood swings, can cause great distress. If you experience any of these symptoms, the specialists at IU Health can provide treatment to help make your symptoms more bearable.

As you age, bone health becomes increasingly important. It is estimated that as many as half of all women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. IU Health offers screenings to detect signs of osteoporosis, as well as prevention and treatment options.

After menopause and into the post-reproductive years, cancer rates increase due to age and other factors. Prevalent forms of cancer during these years include breast, endometrial (lining of the uterus), ovarian and cervical cancer. If you experience any sort of bleeding after menopause, see a physician immediately. The IU Health Gynecology Oncology program offers comprehensive cancer services, including both surgical and non-surgical treatments.

Overview

Menopause most often occurs gradually, over several years, between ages 45 and 55. This stage signals the end of your ability to have children.

The years leading up to menopause are called perimenopause. This phase can last for up to 10 years. When you stop having menstrual periods consecutively for one year, you have reached menopause.

Diagnosis

Women’s Health specialists at IU Health focus on menopausal issues. Through the menopausal/post-reproductive years, they encourage you to see a physician annually for physical and gynecological exams, and every three years for Pap screenings. These exams help diagnose any issues you may have related to menopause and ensure you maintain the best health possible.

Cause

As you age, the amount of estrogen produced by your ovaries decreases, and eventually, they stop making enough estrogen to thicken the uterine lining. If you smoke and are underweight, you may experience an earlier menopause. If you are overweight, you may experience a later menopause.

Sometimes younger women go through menopause. If you have your ovaries surgically removed, this may trigger severe symptoms of menopause. Women who have a hysterectomy but keep their ovaries may stop menstruating, but they do not immediately experience the symptoms of menopause. They go through menopause at the normal age.

Symptoms

In the last few years of a woman’s menstrual cycle, periods can become more problematic. The symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep problems, night sweats, irregular bleeding, vaginal dryness and mood swings, can cause great distress. If you experience any of these symptoms, the specialists at IU Health can provide treatment to help make your symptoms more bearable.

As you age, bone health becomes increasingly important. It is estimated that as many as half of all women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. IU Health offers screenings to detect signs of osteoporosis, as well as prevention and treatment options.

After menopause and into the post-reproductive years, cancer rates increase due to age and other factors. Prevalent forms of cancer during these years include breast, endometrial (lining of the uterus), ovarian and cervical cancer. If you experience any sort of bleeding after menopause, see a physician immediately. The IU Health Gynecology Oncology program offers comprehensive cancer services, including both surgical and non-surgical treatments.

IU Health provides an array of comprehensive services, from gynecology to urogynecology to oncogynecology, to help you identify health conditions and develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

A couple of the treatment services for menopause include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT involves taking estrogen and progestin to help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause, particularly hot flashes. It also relieves vaginal dryness and can help to relieve some changes that can cause problems in the urinary tract. HRT slows bone loss after menopause and helps prevent osteoporosis. You can take it in many forms, including orally, vaginally or transdermally (via the skin).
  • Bone densitometry exam. Your IU Health gynecologist may recommend this exam if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Densitometry is a low radiation, precise exam that tests your bone density and can help determine your risk of breakage or fracture due to osteoporosis. A bone density test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other minerals your bones have. It can confirm the diagnosis of osteoporosis or monitor the progress of treatment.

Treatment

IU Health provides an array of comprehensive services, from gynecology to urogynecology to oncogynecology, to help you identify health conditions and develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

A couple of the treatment services for menopause include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT involves taking estrogen and progestin to help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause, particularly hot flashes. It also relieves vaginal dryness and can help to relieve some changes that can cause problems in the urinary tract. HRT slows bone loss after menopause and helps prevent osteoporosis. You can take it in many forms, including orally, vaginally or transdermally (via the skin).
  • Bone densitometry exam. Your IU Health gynecologist may recommend this exam if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Densitometry is a low radiation, precise exam that tests your bone density and can help determine your risk of breakage or fracture due to osteoporosis. A bone density test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other minerals your bones have. It can confirm the diagnosis of osteoporosis or monitor the progress of treatment.

Patient Stories for Menopause

The North American Menopause Society

This nonprofit organization dedicate itself to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging.

National Osteoporosis Foundation

This leading health organization dedicated to preventing osteoporosis and broken bones, promoting strong bones for life, and reducing human suffering offers programs of public and clinician awareness, education, advocacy and research.

Resources

The North American Menopause Society

This nonprofit organization dedicate itself to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging.

National Osteoporosis Foundation

This leading health organization dedicated to preventing osteoporosis and broken bones, promoting strong bones for life, and reducing human suffering offers programs of public and clinician awareness, education, advocacy and research.