A New Season Can Be A Better Season?
Menopause is a natural occurrence that can vary from patient to patient. While some have significant symptoms, others may be concerned because they have little change. The change in recommendations for hormonal therapy has brought significant alterations in the management of women with menopausal symptoms. We no longer treat women who are entering menopause as if their lives were moving to another phase. We want women to understand that the changes they experience in their bodies have nothing to do with what they can accomplish in their lives. Understanding the change is the first step in moving towards a better life.
Premenopause is the bulk of a woman?s reproductive life. This is the time period that begins with a woman's first menstrual cycle, continues throughout the childbearing age years, and ends when menopause begins.
This is the time period that menstrual cycles should be regular and predictable. Women are often evaluated and treated during this time for birth control, irregular bleeding, painful menstrual cycles.
Just as young women grow from girls into adolescents, women?s bodies change again as they approach menopause. Perimenopause begins usually when a women is in her early 40s and may last six to 10 years. Some of the symptoms of perimenopause may include:
- Menstrual cycles getting closer together
- Abnormally heavy flow on occasion
- Night sweats
- Increasing incidence of headaches or migraines
- Increased breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Heart palpitations
- Hot flashes (closer to age 50)
- Important considerations and health promotion:
- Get recommended screening tests, such as cholesterol and thyroid
- Be tobacco free
- Be physically active
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Take preventive medicines if you need them.
- Address birth control: Until you have gone through menopause, you can still get pregnant.
Menopause has occurred when a woman has gone 12 months without a period or when the ovaries have been removed surgically.
Early symptoms of menopause include:
- Irregular periods or skipping periods
- Periods that are heavier or lighter than usual
- Hot flashes (a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads over the upper body)
- These symptoms are a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen.
Menopause may also cause:
- Vaginal dryness (the vagina may also become thinner and less flexible), which can cause painful intercourse
- Bladder irritability and worsening of bladder control (incontinence)
- Dry skin, eyes or mouth
- Emotional changes (irritability, mood swings, mild depression)
- Patients are often evaluated in the office for symptomatic relief of the symptoms of menopause.
- Hormone replacement, calcium supplementation, and weight bearing exercise significantly reduce the risks of osteoporosis.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
With more than 2 million women reaching menopause every year, there's little wonder that treatment options for its countless symptoms are front and center in the news. Bio-Identical Hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is one option and, when used as directed under the care of a doctor, can offer women relief from the undesirable changes.