Women2Women - Fall 2017 - 39
physician, and there are most certainly times when it is critical that
patients talk with their physician.
"When a patient feels like perimenopause is impacting her quality of
life, then she definitely should talk to her physician," Dr. Grassi says.
"For example, if you're noticing that your symptoms are impacting
sleep, your relationships, your ability to go work or to be productive,
then it's important to have a conversation with your physician.
"Even if symptoms are moderate, you can call the office, because
it's best for your physician to know what you are experiencing," she
adds. "There may be treatment options you are not aware of, so it's
best to speak with your physician."
Perimenopausal health concerns that warrant medical treatment
include periods that are close together; periods that occur more than
once a month; heavy bleeding; bleeding between periods; periods that
last longer than seven days; and pain during intercourse. Additionally,
women should contact their physician for persistent symptoms that
could indicate a condition or illness beyond perimenopause.
As women navigate perimenopause, there are ways they can enhance
communication with their physician, including keeping notes about
their menstrual cycles over a several-month period (dates it begins, dates
it ends, characteristics of these periods), keeping track of symptoms,
and talking with their physician about medications they take and any
significant life changes that have occurred since their last visit to the doctor.
There are numerous reasons women don't want to draw attention
to or even mention their perimenopausal symptoms. Some women
are caught off-guard because the symptoms come on slowly, so they
think they can power through and ignore them. Others may think
there's nothing that can be done, so they don't bother to address the
symptoms. And others may be embarrassed to mention them, because
societal stereotypes often paint perimenopausal woman as irritable
and grouchy - characteristics they don't want to be associated with.
Dr. Grassi notes that there are things that relatives and friends of
perimenopausal women can do to lessen their loved ones' discomfort.
"Perimenopause is something that every woman faces, whether
they have mild symptoms or severe symptoms," Dr. Grassi says. "It
is a universal process, and whether it's our mothers, our sisters, our
aunts or our friends, they need our support through these changes.
"These are normal changes that happen, and it takes time for people
to work through them," she adds. "Sometimes I see patients who are
upset by their moods, because they feel out of control. Their family
and friends can help them by being supportive and realizing that it's
a universal process that all women go through." n
Dr. Grassi graduated from the Lake Erie College
of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie Campus in 2012.
She works in West Reading, PA and specializes in
Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Grassi is affiliated
with Reading Hospital & Medical Center.
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