Internist involvement crucial to easing early menopause

September 2017 -- About half of women begin menopause by age 51 years, according to the National Institute on Aging, and some women may experience its symptoms as much as a decade before that.

“It is very important for primary care physicians to be involved and assess for menopause in women of this age because a lot of women past childbearing years do not necessarily continue to see their OB/GYN,” said Holly L. Thacker, MD, professor and chair of the Center for Specialized Women's Health at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine in Ohio.

Assessments should begin when women are in their 40s and may be entering perimenopause, Dr. Thacker said. Women in perimenopause often experience many of the same symptoms as women in menopause, including hot flashes and night sweats, vasomotor symptoms, irregular periods, lower sex drive, vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, urine leakage, urinary urgency, mood swings, or difficulty sleeping.

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