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Dr. Jennifer Paula Sy-Narvaez: How to glow even in your golden years
Dr. Jennifer Paula Sy-Narvaez.

Dr. Jennifer Paula Sy-Narvaez: How to glow even in your golden years

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo (The Philippine Star) - July 21, 2020 - 12:00am

Menopause is a topic that not every woman is comfortable talking about. But it is part of every woman’s life cycle, which typically occurs between the age of 45 and 55 years old. Menopause is the result of decreased hormones estrogen and progesterone, and it is around this time that women will feel a lot of symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, and possible mood swings. But much more than these are the common complications that need to be treated by your gynecologists.

Dr. Jennifer Paula Sy-Narvaez is a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas and took further studies at the European Society of Aesthetic Gynecology at Bader Medical Institute in London.

When asked about the fulfillment she gets in her specialization, she said, “Improvement of the quality of life of my patients, especially the perimenopausal and menopausal, who, more often than not, have low self-esteem and the tendency to take themselves for granted, unappreciated by their spouses, because of their age and biological status.” She continues, “I believe that women, young or old, have the right and deserve to experience their full potential, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically. After all, we only have one life to live, I want them to make the most out of it every single day, until the very last of it.”

We interviewed Dr. Jennifer Paula Sy-Narvaez to share with us the symptoms, and more importantly, the treatments for menopause.

1. Hot flashes. These are sudden, transient feelings of warmth or intense heat over the face, chest, neck or head, and sometimes followed by profuse sweating, lasting for seconds to a few minutes. It commonly occurs at night or during stressful instances. More than half of women going through menopause may experience this and may occur one to two years after menopause. These are most commonly seen on smokers, overweight women, and those with sedentary lifestyles. These can be addressed by staying in a cool environment, consuming cold food and beverages. Eating warm food or drinks may increase the core body temperature and may aggravate the symptom. Those who exercise developed fewer and less severe hot flashes as compared to women who have a sedentary lifestyle. As such, maintaining a healthy normal weight can help alleviate these symptoms. Smoking can likewise aggravate hot flashes. Those who don’t smoke had less frequent and less severe hot flashes, and these were shown to increase with the number of cigarettes consumed. Cessation of smoking can reduce the risk of developing the symptoms.

2. Sleep disturbances or insomnia. Sleep disturbances or insomnia related to menopause are best described as lack of satisfaction with quality and/or duration of sleep. It can present with difficulty in falling asleep, frequent nighttime awakenings with difficulty returning to sleep, and/or awakening earlier in the morning than usual. The longer people stay awake, the more they tend to sleep during the day. This can result in fatigue, sleepiness during the day, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and they may find it hard to do their daily routines. There are various roles affecting sleep disturbances. It can be due to menopause itself, process of aging, hot flashes, depression, anxiety and other medical conditions and psychosocial factors.

3. Psychological symptoms: Anxiety and mood disturbances. Mood disturbances are more frequently associated with sleep disorders in menopausal women. Difficulty getting enough and quality sleep may in turn cause irritability, anxiety and possibly depression. Hot flashes, insomnia and mood disturbances may appear all at the same time. One factor may result from the occurrence of another, and vice versa. Many menopausal women complain of difficulty concentrating and emotional periods during this period of transition.

4. Fatigue. Daytime fatigue described as feeling of constant tiredness during the day is attributed more frequently due to the sleep disturbances associated with menopause. These may likewise be due to the physiological menopausal effects, aging process, and from socio-environmental stresses of midlife years.

5. Dryness. During the process of aging, the vaginal lining thins out because of lack of estrogen. In turn, it can result in drying and makes the lining prone to irritation, painful sexual intercourse, a burning feeling and itching. Once there’s a break in the skin barrier, it makes the lining prone to infection. For this reason, it is best to see your gynecologist for assessment and treatment that best suits you. We can consider giving creams, lubricants, and offer noninvasive laser treatment to improve these symptoms. It usually starts with dryness. Thus, women of that age group will feel insecure and hesitant to engage in intimate activities. They may complain of dryness and pain during intercourse, and decrease in arousal and desire. Gynecologists encourage regular sexual activity in order to maintain good vaginal health.

6. Depression. Menopause may cause persistent sadness and lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities. It can affect sleep and decrease in appetite. Tiredness or fatigue and poor concentration are common. This dramatically affects a person’s ability to function and live a rewarding life. Engaging in activities that can boost self-esteem, maintaining a positive attitude towards aging, meditation and regular exercise can help prevent depression.

7. Medications. Menopausal hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for menopause-related symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. This alleviates the symptoms and thus improves quality of sleep, lessen irritability, and enhances the quality of life. In addition, these medications can prevent bone loss. There is a time frame when one can take advantage of this medication. It is best to talk to your gynecologist as these should be tailored to the needs of individual women.

Seeing your obstetrician-gynecologists doesn’t end after childbirth. It is important to see your gynecologists to know more about menopause and know how they can guide you age gracefully and maintain overall well-being.

(Dr. Jennifer Sy-Narvaez may be reached through 0917-1682536 and drjennifersy.aestheticobgyn@gmail.com.)

(We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please e-mail me at monsrt@gmail.com. Follow me on Instagram @monsromulo.)

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