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Physicians Support Women’s Health through Menopause

Shivani Duggal, D.O.

As women age, they expect changes in their health. But many aren’t sure what to expect as they move through menopause.

They can get answers and support from Midlife Women’s Associates, a gynecology practice affiliated with Allegheny Health Network. Judith Balk, M.D., MPH, Marcia Klein-Patel, M.D., Ph.D., and Beth Prairie, M.D., MPH, use a holistic approach to keep women healthy.

“Women often come to us with questions about sleep, sex, weight, mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats,” says Dr. Prairie. “But menopause is different for everyone.” A woman over age 40 has experienced menopause when she hasn’t had a menstrual period for 12 months. Women may experience menopause-related symptoms for five to seven years (on average) around this time of this transition.

“It is a natural process for women, not a sickness. Still, women need to know what is normal and what symptoms should be discussed with a doctor,” Dr. Prairie says. “We provide accurate, evidence-based information and treatment.”

“Midlife Women’s Associates develops individualized, integrated wellness plans that include diet, exercise, and sleep and stress management,” says Dr. Prairie. “A wellness program is simple to understand but not easy to accomplish.”

When surveyed, about 30 percent of Midlife Women’s Associates’ patients reported poor sleep, which may be related to hormonal changes during menopause. The physicians suggest better sleep hygiene practices such as: enjoying quiet activities and limiting screen time before bed, keeping the bedroom at a cool temperature and avoiding caffeine. “Poor sleep affects energy level, thinking skills, attitude and weight gain,” she says.

If you’re tired or stressed, it can also influence your sex drive. “Some older women have decreased libido during menopause. Others may need reminders about safer sex on the dating scene,” she says.

“Patients are happy to talk to someone who understands,” Dr. Prairie comments. “We can connect them with specialists for emotional and physical concerns. Our focus is on empowering women as they transition through midlife.”

Midlife Women’s Associates has offices in Bethel Park, Cranberry/Mars and McMurray. Call (412) 854-7140 for an appointment.

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