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The Change of Life that No One Talks About 

Though virtually all women experience menopause, it is often taboo to talk about and leaves many unprepared for the changes that happen as a natural part of growing older. 

Nancy Petit, MD

In most cases, menopause is complete by the early fifties, but every woman’s body has its own timeline. As a woman goes through “perimenopause,” a period that brings her closer to menopause, estrogen levels fluctuate. This causes changes in period frequency and flow, and can bring on other symptoms such as headaches, weight gain and hot flashes (sudden, intense periods of heat accompanied by sweating and discomfort). After the estrogen levels drop past a certain point, menstrual cycles end. Menopause officially begins when a woman goes twelve months without a period 

According to a Female Founders Fund survey from 2020, just 9% of surveyed women discussed menopause with their mother or grandmother. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they felt unprepared for this change of life.

“It’s common for women to experience hot flashes for four to seven years before they stop completely. Our team understands that hot flashes can be embarrassing and disruptive to sleep, and we work with women to try to identify whether alcohol, stress, or other lifestyle factors might be triggering them,” says Nancy Petit, MD, chair of the OB/GYN Department at Saint Francis Hospital.   

Getting Relief from Uncomfortable Menopause Symptoms

Menopause symptoms can be uncomfortable and upsetting, especially when women are unprepared for them. If your menopause symptoms are impacting your quality of life, the gynecologists at Saint Francis Hospital are comfortable talking with you about treatment options, such as hormone therapy.  

Hormone therapy usually uses a combination of two hormones, estrogen and progestin, and it raises the levels of these hormones in your body. It comes in the form of a pill, patch, gel, spray, or vaginal ring. Some of the benefits include preventing osteoporosis, easing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep problems, and even reducing the risk of colon cancer. 

Our team will also talk with you about potential risks of hormone therapy, especially if you’re already at a higher risk of serious health problems such as stroke, heart disease and breast cancer. It’s especially important to talk with our team about your family history of these diseases. 

“The goal is to help women feel healthy now and in the years ahead. There are risks to hormone therapy, but it often depends on how long women use the treatment. Short-term use in early menopause often has fewer risks and can help women to improve their quality of life,” says Dr. Petit. 

Scheduling an Appointment for Menopause Care

If you’re looking for a new OB/GYN to discuss problems with menopause, your period or other concerns, Saint Francis Hospital is now offering appointments at the newly renovated North Wilmington Women’s Center at 2002 Foulk Road in Wilmington.  

Nancy Fan, MD

Later this fall, the location will also offer 3D mammography and bone density scans. When you call (302) 529-7900 to make an appointment, simply ask the staff to coordinate your appointments so you can get your OB/GYN exam on the same day as your annual screening mammogram and bone density scan.  

In addition to the North Wilmington Women’s Center, Saint Francis Hospital has also renovated the offices of its OB/GYN and primary care services at its location at Metroform Medical Building at 620 Stanton-Christiana Road in Newark. 

“Too many women feel awkward talking about menopause, and they assume the symptoms will just go away. However, we can often recommend treatments that may help women find relief and continue to enjoy time with their families, excel in their jobs, and live their lives to the fullest. We can also suggest testing to rule out other health conditions,” says Nancy Fan, M.D., Saint Francis OB/GYN. 

North Wilmington Women’s Center
2002 Foulk Road 
Wilmington, Delaware 19810 
Saint Francis Women’s Center – Newark
620 Stanton-Christiana Road, Suite 304 
Metroform Medical Complex 
Newark, Delaware 19713 

*What’s this? This content is made possible by our sponsor and does not necessarily reflect the attitude, views, or opinions of the Delaware Today editorial staff.

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