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Women's Health Care

Q&A WITH Somi Javaid, MD

Article by Somi Javaid, MD

Photography by Somi Javaid, MD

1. What is the difference between perimenopause and menopause? What are the average age ranges for each stage and what are the symptoms?

 Perimenopause refers to the period when your body begins to transition to menopause. This can occur at different ages. For some people, perimenopause can last for a few years and can result in relatively mild symptoms, but for others, it can last up to 10 years with severe symptoms. Menopause refers to a singular point in time, determined retrospectively, 12 months after a person’s last period.

 During perimenopause, you may notice irregularity in your menstruation and menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, issues with sleep, and vaginal dryness. These symptoms, along with many others that can affect an individual from head to toe, can continue for several years into menopause. These symptoms can resolve, but some may continue over an individual’s lifespan.

 To understand how perimenopause and menopause might affect you, I recommend getting a better understanding of your family history of menopause, in addition to getting to know your own personal health history. When you start noticing symptoms, I recommend connecting with a practitioner certified by The Menopause Society for a thorough evaluation. At HerMD, we are proud to be part of the menopause education and training solution, ensuring all of our practitioners are certified in menopause care by The Menopause Society and in sexual healthcare by The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH).

 3. What are the biggest misconceptions?

 During the perimenopause and menopause periods, individuals may experience many more symptoms than just hot flashes alone. Symptoms can actually impact an individual from head to toe. You should not feel like you have to “just live with” symptoms that cause pain or discomfort. There are a variety of treatment options available to you. Find a practitioner who will listen to your concerns and work with you on your healthcare journey.

 4. What is your advice for women in perimenopause/menopause

 Do not wait to seek care. Take stock of what you’re feeling. How are you experiencing symptoms from head to toe? Invest time in learning more about perimenopause/menopause from a reputable practitioner, and come to your appointment with questions.

 While there are still barriers to menopause care in the United States, there is a growing community of medical professionals, brands, and advocates who are adamant about changing the status quo.

 If your healthcare practitioner is not listening to you about your menopause concerns, you should, if you are able to, find care elsewhere. Your quality of life matters. Menopause is not the end of your journey, but a new beginning.

 5. What treatment options are available?

 There are a range of menopause treatment options that have developed to alleviate a wide-range of symptoms you may be experiencing. Hormone therapy is just one of the many treatment offerings we provide to our patients at HerMD, and you should know that hormone therapy continues to be one of the most effective therapeutic options for the treatment of menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. This treatment option is individual-specific, and the appropriate menopause treatment plan for you may consist of hormonal, non-hormonal, and lifestyle & behavioral modifications, determined as part of a partnered relationship with your healthcare practitioner.

 6. What steps can we take with lifestyle to be ready for these phases of life?

 Set your health up for success with lifestyle modification. Can you adopt more healthful eating habits and incorporate weight-bearing exercises into your fitness routine? Can you reduce your daily stress, optimize your sleep, and better manage your mental well-being? Key lifestyle interventions now can make a huge difference to how you experience perimenopause/menopause later.

 7. What makes HerMD unique in their approach to perimenopause and menopause?

 Our team is hyper-focused on the underserved specialties of menopause and sexual health. HerMD centers provide a safe, welcoming space for patients to discuss all their health care needs - shame and stigma-free. We offer in-person and virtual care for sexual health, menopause, gynecology, medical aesthetics, and more. PLUS, we offer longer appointment times (20-60 minutes) to ensure your healthcare concerns are addressed. Our expert team of board-certified OBGYNs, healthcare practitioners, aestheticians, and a wide network of referral partners work together to bring you the care you deserve, nationwide.

 Additionally, we are proud to be part of the education and research solutions helping to move the needle forward in women’s healthcare. We’ve developed HerMD University, a proprietary education & training platform that blends the unique capabilities of various learning solutions to deliver targeted education within the specialty areas of menopause, sexual health, advanced gynecology, and aesthetics. Our research, presented annually at nationwide conferences, consistently demonstrates HerMD interventions can improve symptomatology across various conditions by upwards of 90%.

 8. What do you wish more women knew about their health?

 For far too long, women have been dismissed by the medical system. If you feel any change in your body, especially one that deviates what is considered normal for you, you should, above all, listen to yourself and seek solutions until you find the one that works for you.

 I am happy to share that the tide in women’s health is changing, and it will require all of our collective voices moving forward to demand a better future. Please join me and become an advocate for your healthcare. Talk to your friends, family, and community members. Creating a better healthcare system will take all of us.



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