Are you having back pain with any of the following?
We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.
We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.
Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.
The end of your menstrual cycle is a natural time of transition, and may bring on side effects like hot flashes, insomnia, or mood changes. In addition to finding solutions to these side effects, midlife is an important time to focus on total health, an active lifestyle, and regular health screenings.
Women are aware of the many changes their bodies go through over their lifetimes. Menopause is another one of these times of change. As your care providers, we want to help you prepare for this transition and ensure you are equipped to deal with the changes that can occur in this phase of your life.
Menopause, also called "the change of life," is a gradual process in which a woman's menstrual cycle ends. It usually occurs in midlife, between the ages of 45 to 55. It signals the end of a woman's reproductive years and is often accompanied by hot flashes, mood changes, insomnia and other symptoms.
There are 3 phases related to the menopause transition: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
Perimenopause begins in the years prior to menopause and generally ends the first year after your period stops, also called menopause. You can begin perimenopause as early as 35 years, but more often these hormonal fluctuations start when you are in your mid-40s.
During this time, your body's production of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) decreases. As a result, you may observe changes in your menstrual cycles or experience symptoms like hot flashes or mood swings.
Clinically speaking, menopause is a date. It is defined as the day after a woman's final period finishes. You can figure it out only in retrospect, once 12 months have gone by with no menstrual flow at all. At this point you are considered to be a year into postmenopause and no longer need to take into consideration the possibility of pregnancy. The average age that women experience menopause is 51.
Postmenopause is the phase of life that follows the final menstrual period.
Menopause is a unique journey for each woman. You might sail through it, barely aware of changes in your menstrual cycles. Or it's possible that you'll have to deal with frequent symptoms. Though every woman is different, the following is an outline of changes you might experience at certain ages.
Some surgical procedures can bring on symptoms of early menopause, like certain types of hysterectomies or procedures where the ovaries are removed. Some cancer treatments also have this effect. We will discuss the possible effects of early menopause.
After you experience menopause, you are at greater risk for important health conditions, including the following:
The transition to menopause can vary tremendously from one woman to the next. What you experience in the few years prior to menopause may be different from what you experience once your menstrual cycle has stopped. The key to managing these changes is understanding that they are a normal part of this phase of your life and that there are often simple and effective ways to manage them.
A well-managed and healthy perimenopause and menopause can be a wonderful time of transition and new freedom. We look forward to working with you to make this a very satisfying and fulfilling time in your life.
Perimenopausal symptoms occur because of fluctuations in the hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that your body produces. You will probably find that the transition to menopause is a gradual one.
Every woman experiences the symptoms of menopause differently. You might have few to no symptoms other than losing your monthly menstrual cycle. However, the onset of menopause might trigger a variety of other symptoms, such as:
Finding solutions to lessen your symptoms may take time. Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is always recommended, but it's particularly helpful in treating some of the symptoms of menopause.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is also available, although it is not the best choice for all women. We can discuss the risks and benefits, if you are interested.
We do not recommend tests to determine your level of hormones, because there is no evidence to suggest that the findings are useful.
You may be one of the lucky women who sail through menopause without much difficulty. However, it's possible that you may experience severe symptoms which are not relieved by changes in your behavior and routines. If this is the case for you, treatment by hormone replacement therapy or by alternative medicines might be an option for you.
We recommend that only women with severe menopause symptoms that seriously affect their quality of life take hormones.
Before 2001, hormone therapy was commonly recommended to treat the symptoms of menopause. Then new research from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) revealed that postmenopausal women who took specific hormones for longer than 5 years had a greater risk of certain health problems like breast cancer, stroke, pulmonary emboli, and cardiac effects. Because of this, both patients and physicians have looked for alternative therapies. We recommend that hormones be taken only by women with menopausal symptoms that seriously affect their quality of life. And if so, only at the lowest effective doses and for the shortest period of time. We would be happy to discuss whether or not hormones might be a good choice for you.
If you choose to use hormones to treat your symptoms, we can come up with a plan that is right for you. Your prescription will most likely include both:
Ideally, you should take hormones in the lowest dose and for the shortest time needed to manage your symptoms. If you stop HRT and your symptoms return, you can slowly decrease the amount of your dose over time. Together, we can develop an approach to managing your menopausal symptoms which is best for you, and help you to taper off hormone therapy at the appropriate time.
Whether or not you decide to take hormone therapy, you can take steps to help lessen discomfort and improve your health during menopause. Although scientists are just beginning to document the benefits of mind-body and herbal approaches, there are some methods you can try to see if they help relieve your menopausal symptoms and improve your sense of well-being:
If you are concerned by the symptoms you experience leading up to or during menopause, please contact me. Let me know the type of symptoms you are having, how long you've had them, and when they occur.
If we know your symptoms are caused by menopause, we will discuss options for your treatment.
You can connect with me in a variety of ways, depending on the situation and what is most convenient for you at the time. I am available online, by telephone, or in person.
Having all of our Kaiser Permanente departments located together or nearby, including pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, and health education, makes getting your care easier for you.
Another major benefit is our comprehensive electronic medical record system, which allows all of the doctors and clinicians involved in your care to stay current on your health status and to collaborate with each other as appropriate.
When every member of the health care team is aware of all aspects of your condition, care is safer and more effective.
We will work together to monitor and assess how your medications are working and make adjustments as needed. Prescriptions can be filled at any Kaiser Permanente pharmacy. Just let me know which pharmacy works best for you, and I will send the prescription electronically in advance of your arrival at the pharmacy.
If refills are needed in the future, you can:
For lab tests, I will use our electronic medical record system to send the requisition to the Kaiser Permanente laboratory of your choice. For imaging procedures, we will schedule an appointment with the radiology department. When the results are ready, I will contact you with your results by letter, secure e-mail message, or phone. In addition, you can view most of your laboratory results online, along with any comments that I have attached to explain them.
My specialty colleagues are readily available to assist me if I need additional advice about your condition. In some cases, I may contact them during your visit, so we can discuss your care together. If we decide you need a specialty appointment after that discussion, we can often schedule it the same day or soon thereafter.
As part of our commitment to prevention, additional members of our health care team may contact you to come in for a visit or test. We will contact you if you are overdue for cancer screenings or conditions which may require monitoring.
As your personal physician, I have a goal to provide high-quality care and to offer you choices that make your health care convenient. I recommend that you become familiar with the many resources we offer so that you can choose the services that work best for you.
My Doctor Online is available 24/7 so that you can access and manage your care where and when it is most convenient. From my home page you can:
If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.
This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.