Menopause may be a time of transition, but one thing that does not change is the need to see a gynecologist on a regular basis.
Constance Darbonne is a stickler about her yearly gynecologist appointments. At 61, Constance still works as a nurse practitioner and knows first-hand the health issues that come with aging. "I first started to have hot flashes and night sweats around age 57," she said, "not as badly as later or when I turned 60."
Constance went through menopause at a later age, connected to a later first period. Dr. Lee Monlezun, a Lake Charles gynecologist said, "In the average woman, starting around 12 or 13 year old, she'll stop her period between 51 and 52 years old."
Dr. Monlezun says each woman's experience with menopause can be different - from the age to the symptoms. "Fatigue, headaches, low sexual desire, nervous, irritability, depression, hot flashes and backaches," he said.
In the past, menopause was seen more specifically as an age, but now that mentality has shifted more to range with perimenopause starting possibly as early as 40 and postmenopause going well into the 60s.
Constance takes hormone replacement therapy to control the hot flashes and night sweats. "You're just simply taking the place of the ovary that is no longer producing eggs or secreting hormones," said Dr. Monlezun.
For Constance, women's health is more than pap smears and mammograms - it is attentiveness to overall well-being. "I would like to be able to stay as healthy as I can through preventative screening tests," said Constance, "because life is too long to be sick!"
If you want to learn more about gynecological issues after age 50, mark your calendar for next Thursday, August 9th. Dr. Monlezun will be speaking for the Women and Children's Hospital Senior Circle Chapter at the Lake Charles Country Club at noon. Reserve your seat now by calling 475-4002.