Melissa R Kjos, MD

September 18th, 2016

Every woman travels a unique road to menopause. This journey often leaves women uncertain of the physical and emotional changes that occur, why these changes take place, what they can do about them, and where to get questions answered. Through the three stages of menopause, fluctuating hormones can bring about a host of short-term physical symptoms including headaches, hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, weight gain, anxiety, mood changes and other changes as well.

With so many different symptoms, perimenopause often goes undiagnosed. There are a couple of reasons why. First, until recently, perimenopause – the three to five years before natural menopause – have received relatively little attention. Secondly, because women continue to menstruate throughout perimenopause, they might not even realize their bodies are in a transitional stage and that their fluctuating hormone levels are the cause of symptoms. Finally and not surprisingly, during this phase, symptoms of perimenopause are quite similar to those of PMS.

Consequently, women who don’t know they are going through perimenopause may experience symptoms for years. During this time, they may unnecessarily feel like there’s something wrong with them or that they’re going crazy. Some women attribute their extra stress and irritability to the increasing pressures of advancing in their career, raising growing children and/or caring for aging parents.

I will be hosting the Red Hot Mamas seminar on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at Portneuf Medical Center. The seminar, “Before the Change: Taking Care of Perimenopause,” will cover symptoms, perimenopause diagnosis and the questions you should ask your primary care provider.

The Red Hot Mamas seminars are free and all women are invited to attend. Grab a girlfriend or two and come find out more about this unique time in a woman’s life. The seminar is in the Pebble Creek Room at Portneuf. Doors open at 6pm; the presentation begins at 6:30. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a seat, visit or call 208-239-1048. To learn more about PMC’s upcoming seminars including Red Hot Mamas, be sure to like Portneuf Medical Center on Facebook.

Of course, some of the same symptoms of PMS and perimenopause may be associated with other medical conditions. It is important for all women to have an ongoing relationship and dialog with their primary care physician. Ask questions and be sure to let them know if you are experiencing any new or unusual changes.

If you need a primary care provider, I am happy to work with you. To reach Health West Family Medicine to schedule an appointment with me, call 208-234-4700.

Dr. Melissa Kjos is a board certified family medicine physician. She attended medical school at Oregon Health and Sciences University and complete residency at Idaho State University. She is currently taking new patients.