10 Things to Talk To Your Doctor About During Menopause
HealthCentral Editorial Team Oct 3, 2012 (updated Sep 27, 2013)
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If you think you may be in menopause or know that you are, make an appointment with your OB/GYN or general practitioner. Be prepared with this list of information.
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Breast cancer in the family
Have any of your grandmothers, mother, aunts, cousins, sisters had breast cancer? If so, know at what age they were diagnosed. Before or after the age of 45? Before or after they had reached menopause? Was it someone on your dad's or mom's side? This information is valuable in assessing your risk for breast cancer and whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
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Family history of heart disease
Is there any heart disease in your family? Think back to your grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings. Heart disease includes heart attack, chronic heart failure, high blood pressure, irregular heart beats, and coronary artery disease. Does anyone complain of chest pain or shortness of breath? Has anyone had a bypass surgery or stent to open up coronary arteries?
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Stroke in the family
Has anyone in your family had a stroke or a transient ischematic attack, also known as a mini-stroke?
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Diabetes in the family?
Have any of your blood relatives been diagnosed with diabetes. Back in your grandparent's day, it might have been called "high sugar." Don't be afraid to ask your older relatives. Diabetes and heart disease go hand-in-hand, so be sure to ask about both.
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Check your blood pressure
What was your blood pressure the last time it was taken? Has it changed? For most women, blood pressure increases after menopause. This may be due to hormonal changes.
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Does anyone in your family have osteoporosis? Genetics is a risk factor for osteopororis. During menopause, women experience a loss of bone mass and are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
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Recent weight loss or weight gain
Have you gained or lost more than five pounds in the past year? What kind of exercise do you get? Many women in their late 30s and early 40s gain weight, especially around the belly. This weight gain is due to changing hormone levels before menopause.
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Your mother's menopause
Do you know how old your mom was when she started menopause? Ask her about her menopause experience. What were her symptoms? What was it like for her?
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What are your menopause symptoms?
Make a list of your menopause symptoms. Be specific. Don't downplay antyhing that is bothering you. Are you experiencing hot flashes? Is intercourse painful for you? Are you experiencing mood swings?
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Medications and supplements
Take a list of all medications and supplements that you take. Don't leave anything off the list. Tell your doctor why you're taking them and whether they are working for you. A discussion with your doctor will help you determine what medications and vitamins are best for your body.