If menopause isn't an illness, why should I see my doctor?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Your question reminds me of the title of the old Billie Holiday song, "You've Changed." Menopause is not an illness, but it marks a time when a woman's body undergoes dramatic changes. In particular, a woman's ovaries slow down production of estrogen and other hormones to a mere trickle.

The drop in estrogen levels a woman experiences during menopause can have important implications for her health. Estrogen promotes strong bones, for instance, and seems to protect the heart too. After menopause, a woman's risk for both heart disease and osteoporosis (which makes bones fragile) rises sharply. Around the time of menopause, a woman's risk for certain cancers begins to rise too.
Those all sound like pretty good reasons to check in with your doctor on a routine basis to me. What's more, your doctor may be able to recommend treatments to help you cope with any symptoms of menopause that may be plaguing you, such as hot flashes or vaginal dryness.
Menopause is a natural process, not an illness, but you should still see your doctor on a regular basis. Menopause can lead to health issues, such as osteoporosis, weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, vaginal dryness or thinning, bladder problems, and others that can be helped by your doctor.

Menopause can cause serious symptoms in some women. Talk with your doctor about any changes that are affecting your quality of life, especially if menopausal symptoms affect your productivity or sleep patterns. There is treatment available.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.