A Woman’s Guide to Menopause

Everyone has heard about hot flashes and night sweats, but there’s more to menopause than that. Technically, a woman is said to be menopausal after she hasn’t had a period for a year. However, physical changes in various areas can come several years beforehand, in a time commonly called perimenopause. Read on to learn about this important milestone in a woman’s life.

Ages and Stages

The average age of a menopausal woman is 51, with the change occurring spontaneously at any time between ages 40 and 58. If a woman experiences menopausal symptoms before she turns 40, it is considered premature. Some women experience the change early as a result of surgical procedures for conditions like endometriosis or ovarian cancer.

Menopausal Signs

Where this change is concerned, every woman has a unique experience. Some women go through a range of symptoms, while others have few or none at all. Most symptoms are caused by changing levels of progesterone and estrogen, which are female hormones manufactured in the ovaries. Menopausal signs may include a changing pattern in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Periods may be shorter, longer, lighter or heavier, and the time between them may be shorter or longer. Night sweats and hot flashes are common, as are mood swings, sleep problems, forgetfulness, urinary issues, joint pain, bone loss, skin dryness and sexual dysfunction.

Treating the Symptoms

If the symptoms of the change of life become hard for a patient to manage on her own, it’s important to talk to a doctor about treatment choices. Some doctors prescribe birth control pills during perimenopause to regulate heavy or unpredictable periods, or to lessen the severity of hot flashes. Other potentially helpful medicines include blood pressure, epilepsy and depression medications. Some antidepressants have been shown to substantially lessen the severity of hot flashes. Women can make certain lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, dressing in layers, stopping smoking, exercising and avoiding alcohol, stress and other triggers.

Sleep Issues

Many menopausal women have trouble sleeping, and these issues can be improved by keeping a strict routine and by using certain sleep aids. Exercise is a known mood booster, and it can improve a woman’s sleep patterns as well. Avoiding carbonated drinks and caffeine can assist in bladder function, and lubricants or moisturizers can ease vaginal dryness and make intercourse more comfortable. Prescription estrogen tablets or creams can help women maintain the natural moisture in the tissues of the entire intimate area.

Natural Remedies

Phytoestrogens are compounds found in certain legumes, vegetables and herbs, and they are often used to alleviate menopausal symptoms. Research on these plant compounds is still being done, and it aims to find out whether the substances are really effective and whether there are health risks associated with taking them as supplements. If a woman goes this route, she should be sure to tell her doctor about the supplements to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.

Hormone Therapy

The most controversial treatment option is hormone therapy. Previously referred to as HRT or hormone replacement therapy, this treatment method involves taking progesterone and/or estrogen to prevent bone loss and lessen menopausal symptoms. However, this therapy does have some risks, including a greater risk of stroke, heart disease and breast cancer. Women should discuss the benefits and risks of hormone therapy with a doctor. When a woman opts for this type of therapy, she should take the smallest possible dose for the shortest length of time.

While some menopausal symptoms can be downright unpleasant for middle aged women, they will eventually pass. Just like puberty, this is simply another part of life with new challenges, changes and rewards.

For treatment of any of the above menopausal symptoms, contact Dr Mary Parker at http://www.gen-obgyn.com in the Grapevine/Bedford, mid-cities area.

ADHD Treatment with Biofeedback After Medication Cesation

Last week I was in Dallas, and met Leigh Richardson. She does a unique biofeedback treatment for people who need treatment for ADHD in Dallas/Irving area.  They also treat insomnia, PTSD and other issues.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition that affects anywhere between five and ten percent of children. Nearly half of those children continue to show symptoms in their adult life. The condition isn’t life-threatening, but the symptoms can dramatically affect the lives of children or adults. These symptoms often present themselves as behavioral issues at an early age. Boys are three times more common to be diagnosed with this disorder than girls, but statistics are trending towards a more balanced number of diagnosed cases in recent years.

Symptoms

Signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can include an inability to pay attention, hyperactivity, and compulsive behavior. Although most children have an overabundance of energy, those who suffer from ADHD are unable to focus that energy in a constructive without guidance. There are several signs of these symptoms that can be noticed if the child is monitored.

Attention

  • The child is easily distracted
  • The child does not follow instructions and does not finish tasks
  • Trouble listening or paying attention when spoken to
  • When participating in activities the child makes careless mistakes
  • Remembering daily tasks such as doing homework is difficult
  • A lack of organizational skills
  • The child doesn’t enjoy tasks that require sitting still
  • Small objects such as keys and eyeglasses are often easily lost

Hyperactivity

  • Fidgeting and squirming or exhibits repetitive movements while sitting
  • Trouble staying seated
  • Difficulty staying quite during most activities
  • Restlessness or an inability to remain physically inactive
  • Excessive talking

Impulsiveness

  • Trouble waiting for turns
  • Blurting out answer in class
  • Interrupting others during conversations

If these signs are present in the child, it’s most likely that a qualified professional will be able to diagnose the disorder and begin a medication regimen. These treatments will vary by the age and severity of the case. Parents should be sure to speak with the child’s doctor about the medication before agreeing to the treatment plan.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Medication

There is an extensive list of medications that are used to treat ADHD. These medications include short-acting stimulants, long-lasting stimulants, non-stimulants, and anti-depressants. The range of medications is extensive because most patients have a different reaction to the medicine and the exact mechanism of the brain that causes ADHD isn’t fully understood.

The list of short-term medications used to treat ADHD is fairly extensive. The most common short-acting stimulant prescribed is Adderall. This medication has been proven to be safe enough to consider the risks worth the benefits. However, there is concern that extended use of methylphenidate stimulants can lead to heart and psychiatric problems.

Long-term stimulants are another treatment option that has proven to show results. The difference between long-term and short-term stimulants is the time they are active in the body. Short-term stimulants are active for around three to six hours, whereas long-term stimulants are active for six to twelve hours. As with medications with a shorter life, there are psychiatric and heart health risks. Stimulants also have the side-effects of appetite loss, weight loss, inability to sleep, irritability, and facial tics. These side-effects may be more severe with long-term stimulants.

Non-stimulants are used for those who don’t react well to medications such as Adderall or Focalin. These medications are used to lower blood pressure and relieve pressure from the brain. This mechanism is thought to be a major cause of ADHD and has proven effective in preventing symptoms of the disorder.

Since mood plays such an important role in how the brain functions, anti-depressants are used to treat secondary symptoms. Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors help those who are on a prescribed medication regimen function normally by adjusting their mood and helping keep them happier. There are side-effects associated with anti-depressants as well. Most SSRI’s are associated with irregular weight loss or gain, trouble sleeping, and an increased risk of suicide.

The myriad of medications used to treat ADHD have several side-effects. However, with the help of a trained medical professional, these effects can be monitored. There are other treatments as well. With neurofeedback, many subjects have been able to enjoy the benefits of medication treatment long after cessation of treatments. This kind of treatment is often referred to as brain training.

Biofeedback Treatments

It’s a well-established fact that the human brain produces electrical signals. These signals are how the brain communicates with the rest of the body and vice versa. A device called an electroencephalograph can be used to measure these signals. There are three types of waves the brain produces. These are alpha, beta, and theta waves. By using biofeedback, trained medical professionals are able to arouse certain brain signals and help reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Most patients have even shown a considerable improvement over the use of medication alone.

An ADHD Treatment with Biofeedback has been proven to effectively help retain relief of symptoms long after the medication is no longer being used. This is fantastic news for those who were diagnosed with ADHD at an early age. Not only will patients be able to avoid the side-effects of long-term medication use, they can enjoy a normal life and avoid the issues that come with a hyperactive disorder. Medical professionals are able to help those who have suffered for years with little results from the medication they once relied on. Treatments using biofeedback have risks of their own. Parents considering these kinds of treatments should consult with their child’s doctor and make sure they understand the risks before deciding.