Welcome to Ask a Doctor! Every week we’ll be asking our CarePoint Health doctors some questions that we’d all like to know the answers to.
This week we have Osbert Fernandez MD, FACOG, FAAFP. He’s one of our OBGYN doctors in Hoboken with an interest in high risk obstetrics and minimally invasive gynecological surgery. He’s answering our questions about menopause. Sit back, relax, and read away!
Q: What is menopause?
A: Menopause is the cessation of the menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. The symptoms related to menopause are due to declining estrogen and progesterone levels. The average age of the onset of menopause is 51 years of age
Q: Do all women experience menopause the same way?
A: The menopausal experience is unique to each patient. Some patients are very symptomatic while others have minimal complaints.
Q: What physical changes can I anticipate as a result of menopause?
A: The most common menopausal symptoms are hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, mood swings, depression, vaginal dryness and irregular bleeding.
Q: Does menopause require treatment from a physician?
A: If the symptoms are mild, no treatment may be necessary. If the symptoms are more severe, there are hormonal medications, non-hormonal medications and herbal remedies that may be beneficial. Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is very effective at treating all menopausal symptoms. It is available under the supervision of a physician and is available in various preparations including a patch, pill, gel cream or vaginal ring. If the patient cannot take hormones due to a medical condition, there are alternative treatments as well. The most commonly prescribed are antidepressants, which are very effective at treating hot flashes and mood swings. Herbal remedies such as black cohosh, phytoestrogens and vitamin E are all over the counter medications that have been recommended for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. All treatment modalities should be discussed with, and be used under the supervision of a physician.
Q: How can I stay healthy during and after menopause?
A: Staying healthy during menopause is centered around avoiding any toxic habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, eating a balanced diet, doing moderate aerobic activities several times a week, getting adequate sleep, and seeing your gynecologist and primary care provider on a yearly basis.
Dr. Fernandez, MD, FACOG, FAAFP is a graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine. He completed his Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York City where he served as Chief Resident in 2003. He is dual board certified in Family Practice and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Fernandez is an Attending Physician with CarePoint Medical Group, serves as Associate Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hoboken University Medical Center and is an Assistant Clinical Professor at New York Medical College in the Department of Family Medicine.
Dr. Fernandez has special interest in high risk obstetrics and minimally invasive gynecological surgery. He is certified by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) for his commitment to menopausal health. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the Violet Petal Study a phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of severe endometriosis. He has won various teaching awards, and in 2003 he was awarded a Humanitarian Award for his dedication to women’s health. Dr Fernandez is fluent in Spanish.