Estrogen and progesterone are two of the primary female sex hormones. During a normal menstrual cycle, they take turns driving the process of maturing and releasing an egg and preparing the uterus for possible pregnancy. Progesterone is released by the rupturing of the egg follicle during ovulation. Testosterone too is secreted in “surges” around the time of ovulation and again before menses. If there is no pregnancy, you have a period and the whole cycle begins again. When estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are doing their jobs, they work well together. How much or how little of each hormone is made at any one time relies on a complicated feedback system between the brain (specifically the hypothalamus and pituitary glands), ovaries and adrenal glands. Stress and diet affect that feedback system and can directly impact your hormonal balance.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Choosing to replace estrogen and progesterone is an important decision for any woman. For over 50 years women have been receiving estrogen replacement therapy for treatment during menopause. Researchers looking for the clues to aging have documented the decline of other important hormones as well, though such decline is less abrupt and universal than with menopause. When to start and which preparations to use are just a few of the questions that women today are asking. In today’s medical world, side effects are virtually eliminated by proper dosing to achieve youthful physiologic levels, trans-dermal administration, the use of only bio-identical estrogen and progesterone and by monitoring blood, OR SALIVA LEVELS levels closely. Our program includes physician directed individual evaluations, the use of bio-identical hormones and the close monitoring of blood levels to restore a woman’s youth and minimize menopausal symptoms.
Female Menopause and Peri-Menopause
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy offers a solution to the many physical symptoms of menopause. The regular cycling of these hormones can begin to change in the LATE TWENTIES, and symptoms likely begin in the EARLY THIRTIES as women begin the process known as peri-menopause. It is the time when levels of key hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone begin to fluctuate and other hormones such as growth hormone, DHEA and thyroid begin to decline. Peri-menopause continues until periods stop. WHEN MENSES CEASE FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR, IT IS DEFINED AS MENOPAUSE. Although menopause is often treated as a disease by doctors, women know menopause is a natural and inevitable transition from one stage of life to another. WHILE ONE WOMAN MAY HAVE SYMPTOMS DURING THESE YEARS, ANOTHER MAY HAVE NONE. Puberty marks the beginning of reproductive life — menopause marks the end.
Menopause is the transition period in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop producing eggs, her body produces less estrogen and progesterone, and menstruation becomes less frequent, eventually stopping altogether. In some women, menstrual flow comes to a sudden halt. More commonly, it slowly stops over time. During this time, MENSES become either more closely or more widely spaced. This irregularity may last for 1 – 3 years before menstruation finally ends completely. Before this the cycle length may shorten to as little as every 3 weeks.
Menopause is a natural event that normally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Once menopause is complete (called post-menopause) and you have not had a period for 1 year, you are no longer at risk of becoming pregnant. The symptoms of menopause are caused by changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. The ovaries make less of these hormones over time. The specific symptoms and how significant (mild, moderate, or severe) they are varies from woman to woman. A gradual decrease of estrogen generally allows your body to slowly adjust to the hormonal changes. Hot flashes and sweats are at their worst for the first 1 – 2 years. Menopause may last 5 or more years. As a result of the fall in hormone levels, changes occur in the entire female reproductive system. The vaginal walls become less elastic and thinner. The vagina becomes shorter. Lubricating secretions from the vagina become watery. The outside genital tissue thins. This is called atrophy of the labia.
Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Heart pounding or racing
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Skin flushing
- Sleeping problems (insomnia)
Other symptoms of menopause may include:
- Decreased interest in sex, possibly decreased response to sexual stimulation
- Forgetfulness (in some women)
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Mood swings including irritability, depression, and anxiety
- Urine leakage
- Vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse
- Vaginal infections
- Joint aches and pains
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of bone density (osteoporosis)
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is a widely accepted and successful way to treat the symptoms and negative effects of menopause and should be started at the onset of menopause to reach maximum benefits. For more information on the superiority of bio-identical hormones, click here.