Menopause — The Aging Female
Menopause is that time in every woman’s life when menstruation ceases completely.
As the ovaries decrease their estrogen and progesterone output, women will experience the many negative effects of diminished hormone levels.
The menopausal process takes approximately three to five years. The early (transitional) phase, is also known as perimenopause. In her mid-30’s, a woman’s hormone balance begins to change. The timing and extent of this decline depends on many things: lifestyle, diet, stress, adrenal and thyroid hormone levels, activity and more. Every woman is different, and each will experience this time in a unique way.
Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms
Estrogen production becomes erratic. Menopausal symptoms begin, such as bloating, mood swings and weight gain. This is followed by a whole host of progressive problems: irregular cycles; diminished libido; memory loss; sleep disturbance; fatigue; depression; headaches; inability to cope with stress; hot flashes; itchy skin; joint pain and backache; tender breasts; uterine fibroids and endometriosis; vaginal dryness; reduced metabolism; morning sluggishness; unstable blood sugar; symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Many symptoms occur gradually and may appear unrelated, often causing women to be misdiagnosed. Everyone immediately links hot flashes to the onset of perimenopause, but what if your first symptoms are different – sleep disturbances, fatigue, weight gain or depression? The connection may be missed and thus proper treatment not begun. Without appropriate testing and evaluation, no diagnosis (or the wrong diagnosis) is made and the symptoms just get worse. Unfortunately, in today’s medical environment this happens far too frequently. Most physicians just aren’t taught how to appropriately manage these problems.
Menopause: What to expect.
Menopause is complete when a woman has no periods for a full year. Timing varies from woman to woman, with menopause generally being complete by the early 50s. The changes caused by diminishing hormone levels seriously affect a woman’s physical and mental health as well as her prospects for vitality.
In addition to diminished estrogen and progesterone levels, reduced testosterone (produced in the ovaries) levels also become significant. Profound degenerative changes begin to occur, as levels of these key hormones diminish. These changes affect the breasts, vagina, bones, blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, cardiovascular system, skin and energy levels.
Interestingly, too much estrogen due to sporadic production (estrogen dominance), or exogenous sources of hormones (i.e. birth control medicine, synthetic hormone medications, hormones added to food) can also be a problem. Estrogen dominance can accelerate the aging process and lead to weight gain and bloating, reduced libido, fibrocystic or sensitive breasts, migraines, foggy thinking, fatigue, mood swings, insomnia, fibroids and ovarian cysts. Also, it has been linked to autoimmune disorders and allergies, as well. Balance is the key!!
Perimenopause and Menopause Treatment
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) began in the 1940s and has been refined considerably over the past 60 years. Our experience shows estrogen and progesterone therapy will dramatically improve a woman’s quality of life, if performed in a clinical setting where therapeutic levels are monitored and dosing is adjusted accordingly. Unlike their synthetic counterparts, bio-identical hormones we use have the same molecular structure as naturally occurring hormones produced in the body. We offer hormonal compounded creams from some of the most advanced compounding pharmacies in the United States, which allows us to customize every treatment to each patient’s specific and unique needs.
We check hormone levels periodically to maintain optimal ranges. This is unlike traditional medicine, which keeps most women on the same dose of potentially unsafe non bio-identical hormones and never monitors the levels. Our highly intensive baseline evaluation and diagnostic analysis determine your particular symptoms – forming the basis of your personalized program, rather than using a generalized concept of menopause that may not apply to you.
Estrogen is proven beneficial for libido and secondary sex characteristics, collagen production, vaginal/bladder tissue elasticity, heart-valve health, menses regulation, electrolyte and nitrogen metabolism, pregnancy maintenance, reproductive tissue, skin, breasts, brain health, artery lining protection and HDL (good cholesterol) production. Estrogen is also shown to be a powerful antioxidant, helping combat free radicals and their effects on the aging process. Estrogen aids memory, promotes brain and nerve cells, stimulates skeletal growth and maintains healthy bones, among other benefits.
There are three naturally occurring estrogens: estradiol, estrone and estriol.
- Estradiol: The primary and most active estrogen in a woman’s reproductive years. Produced in the ovaries, estradiol’s beneficial properties include protecting against osteoporosis and heart disease, enhancing cognitive functions, relieving menopausal maladies and increasing serotonin and endorphin levels for better emotional health and restful sleep.
- Estrone: More prevalent in “post” menopausal women. Derived from stored hormones in body fat, estrone’s functions mirror estradiol with weaker effects.
- Estriol: Impacts skin maladies such as wrinkles and diminished skin texture. It also is beneficial in the vagina, cervix, vulva and urethra, as well as providing protective properties against cancerous cells.
Progesterone, the feel-good hormone. Progesterone provides several benefits for women:
- normalizes blood sugar, influencing insulin/glucose metabolism.
- restores libido and cell oxygen levels.
- aids thyroid hormone activity, functions as a natural diuretic and normalizes zinc/copper levels.
- stimulates osteoblasts (bone building cells) for bone strength.
- helps produce a tranquil effect and generates feelings of well-being.
Progesterone is another pivotal hormone that needs to be addressed. Proper balance of Estrogen and Progesterone is essential to help you to age well and feel great
Call today for an appointment 770-922-2556.