Levels of estrogen typically begin to drop in the years before menopause. This time period is commonly known as perimenopause. Most women experience changes in their menstrual periods, mood and energy levels.
Menstrual cycles may become longer or shorter and flow may get lighter or heavier. Periods may be skipped entirely. These changes are typically normal, but others may signal health concerns. A medical exam may be prudent if you experience one or more of the following:
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after sex
- Any bleeding after menopause
By definition, perimenopause ends and menopause begins after periods are missed for 12 straight months, as long as there are no outlying medical conditions. Once reaching menopause, estrogen levels typically stabilize at a lower level.
When do menopause symptoms usually begin?
The symptoms of menopause usually begin during perimenopause and continue after menopause; however, it’s important to note that the experience is different for each woman. Symptoms may be quite mild or more severe, depending on the particular individual. Symptoms usually include:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
- Urinary tract infections
What is hormone replacement therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment in which estrogen is artificially introduced with or without progestin, which is a synthetic form of progesterone. Progestin is typically taken along with estrogen in women who have not undergone uterus removal.
What are the benefits?
Hormone replacement therapy treats menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings and can be very effective. Replacing estrogen levels can also relieve vaginal dryness, dry skin, irritable bladder among other symptoms.
Other benefits of hormone replacement therapy may also include:
- Increased elasticity of blood vessels
- Lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures
- Possible improvement of glucose levels
- Possible decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease
- Decreased incidence of colon cancer
Current forms of hormone replacement that are available
Use of hormone replacement therapy is safe for most menopausal women, especially when it’s primarily used to relieve symptoms and is used short term. It’s available in several different forms, including oral ingestion, a dermal patch, topical gels and creams, suppositories, and sub-dermal pellets.
Sub dermal pellets are made by putting hormones into a tiny cylinder that’s implanted under your skin. The pellet can last for about four months. More importantly, fluctuations in hormone effectiveness is typically reduced because the pellet constantly releases an even dose of hormone.
Families First Health can provide synthetic hormone replacements which are structurally similar to the hormones your body makes naturally. If you’re seeking relief from the symptoms of menopause, contact us and schedule a consultation. We can help.