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Navigating the "Change"

UH menopause specialists offer expertise for women at midlife

UH Clinical Update - July 2018

Women in their 40s or older often deal with different health issues than do women of childbearing age.

Many, if not most of their issues, have to do with menopause. But sometimes, women don’t know enough to ask their providers about symptoms or changes, or they don’t know how to find a provider who specializes in the health or wellness matters that may be specific to the time just before, during or after menopause.

UH has a team of expert providers who specialize in working with women who are perimenopausal or menopausal – women who may have questions on such topics as insomnia, hot flashes, weight gain and nutrition, mental fuzziness or sexual health. All of those symptoms can occur because of the hormonal fluctuations and changes women face at midlife.

The UH Menopause Team is made up of Corinne Bazella, MD, OB/GYN, a certified menopause provider; Jean Marino, CNP, MSN, also a certified menopause provider, Sheryl Kingsberg, PhD, Division Chief of Behavioral Medicine and President of the North American Menopause Society, and Danette Conklin, PhD, Director of Midlife Wellness for Women, who does cognitive and behavioral therapy and research on menopause.

Most months of the year, these providers  join together to offer a support group - a place for women who want to learn more about their health at mid-life. The meetings are held four times a month; there is no fee.  They are on Monday evenings at UH Landerbrook Health Center in Mayfield Heights, and the next session starts in September. All four providers are also available for traditional one-on-one appointments.  

“A big part of what we do is education,” says Marino.  “This ‘clinic’ is run by all four of us, and we are there to address questions and dispel myths about menopause. “We talk about medical issues, hormone therapy or non-hormonal treatments for symptoms, such as hot flashes. HT is a safe option for many women and in many cases the benefits outweigh any risks.

“We also answer questions women might have about their sexual health.”

Dr. Kingsberg adds, “While most women recognize that hot flashes and night sweats are symptoms of menopause, they have no idea that the loss of estrogen at menopause causes changes in the tissue of the vagina often resulting in pain with sexual activity and dryness. Furthermore, they usually suffer in silence despite there being several safe and effective treatments to restore vaginal health.”

Dr. Bazella said women might not be aware that menopause is the reason behind such symptoms as weight gain, insomnia or mood changes, among others.  

“Really, we are a ‘whole health’ team,” says Dr. Bazella. “We focus on physical and mental health as well as the specific changes that women will note during this midlife transition.

“Just as importantly, we normalize it – we help them understand what is happening, and that it is normal. And we show them what is available to provide relief for some of their symptoms.”

Besides learning from the group’s leaders, women learn from each other, says Dr. Conklin. “Here, women feel comfortable asking each other questions, or sharing concerns – it’s a safe space. Women tell us how much better they feel afterward.”

Beyond offering the group support, all four clinicians see patients who want to know more about the hormonal fluctuations they are dealing with, and easing their symptoms, as well as addressing their overall health.

 

To refer a patient, call 440-720-3250.  If patients are interested in being part of the support group, they too can call 440-720-3250. For referrals to Dr. Kingsberg, please call 440-720-3250.

 

Patients who would like to participate in the clinical research study on menopause can call 216-844-2862.