Stay Healthy and Vibrant Through Midlife Transitions

What words come to mind at the mention of menopause? Many women say, “Hot flashes, night sweats, and no sex drive,” or perhaps they don’t know who to talk to at all.  At The Menopause Center in Bend, a recently opened clinic for women in Central Oregon, Dr. Peter Palacio hopes to change both the perception of symptoms and create support during this important life transition.  Dr. Palacio created The Menopause Center as a new model of medical practice with a singular focus on the best treatments to help women navigate menopausal changes such as hormone levels, metabolism, and bone density. Dr. Palacio has practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Bend since 2001 and in 2013, he opened VIVA! GYN to shift his focus toward gynecology for women at mid-life. The Menopause Center, which opened August 1, 2019, was a natural response to the growing demand for specialized menopause care where he can provide the most up-to-date treatments, technologies and support for his patients.  “Hot flashes get the most attention,” says Dr. Palacio, “but there’s so much more that we can help with.”  Advances in bioidentical hormones and non-hormonal treatments offer new options for the menopausal side effects that can be miserable so menopause today can be much different from what women experienced a generation ago. There are not only new technologies to ease the transition, but places like The Menopause Center to provide support and resources that demystify the process so women may move through this stage in life with grace.

 Advanced Options for Menopause Symptoms

Every woman approaches mid-life with a unique body chemistry. Many variables impact health as women move into menopause, including thyroid activity, levels of Vitamin D, blood sugar, and testosterone as well as estrogen. Dr. Palacio emphasizes that women in perimenopause do not need to wait until their periods have stopped to address the changes they are experiencing. “There’s no need to just tough it out, anymore,” says Dr. Palacio. New research has clarified that bioidentical hormones can be a safe and effective therapy during menopause. Delivery methods like skin patches, gels, and subcutaneous pellets allow more women to benefit and find relief from vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and hot flashes. New laser therapy offers a non-hormonal option, especially for problems that women sometimes avoid discussing: vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex. The Monalisa Touch uses a CO2 laser to stimulate new collagen in the vagina tissues, and in nearby bladder tissue as well.  The laser therapy was originally developed for breast cancer survivors, who may avoid hormone treatment.

Start with a Healthy Lifestyle

Outsmarting menopause starts with the least invasive treatments, according to Dr. Palacio. Before beginning hormone or other therapies, he recommends adapting a lifestyle to ramp up overall health. That includes shifting to a Mediterranean diet, which supports bone density as well as heart and brain health. Yoga and meditation can help with anxiety, mood, and mental focus, as well as overall fitness. Dr. Palacio recommends adding weight training, as well. “Building muscle mass is important in midlife for two reasons: first, muscle mass boosts metabolism, so weight control is easier. Second, muscles produce testosterone, which helps with energy and libido in both men and women,” he explains.

Living at the Top of Your Game

Menopause is not just a transition phase, it’s all the years of a woman’s life after menstruation stops, and those should be vibrant years. As Dr. Palacio says, “I can’t fix anyone’s troubles at work, or their finances, but I can help them be medically and hormonally at the top of their game. Then they can meet all the other challenges in their life with full vitality.” TheMenoCenter.com