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.