I have been merrily writing along about treatment of menopause, assuming that everyone knows what Menopause is. Well I am sure most women, and men, know what it is:
“THE CHANGE OF LIFE”
The most common assumption I hear by clients is that it occurs later in life, at an older age, when a woman ceases to have monthly periods. Well that is ONE definition, and it actually is, medically speaking, the absence of periods for 12 straight months. At that point a female is called “Post Menopausal”. The period of time leading up to that occasion is the actual Menopause. Hormones fluctuate greatly during this time causing a variety of symptoms, which I will list the most common ones shortly. When a woman is post menopausal, her hormone levels are somewhat stable, that is, nearly absent! Hence the NEED for replenishment to the appropriate level exists.
There are three accepted stages of Menopause:
2. Active Menopause
3. Post Menopause
PERIMENOPAUSE: Also called pre-menopause. This is the time that a female’s production of hormones begins to decline and/or fluctuate. Most women tend to ignore this period, which can last for many years, because sometimes the symptoms are not that flagrant. Important also is that it can begin at an earlier age, sometimes in the thirties, but more commonly the late thirties and early forties. Strangely enough, this is the time when beginning a natural hormone replacement program can be most beneficial. The most common symptoms are:
1. The beginnings of cycle irregularities with respect to timing and discharge volume.
2. Very commonly, difficulty in sleeping occurs, primarily insomnia, or waking up frequently.
3. Vaginal dryness and sometimes hot flashes may even occur.
4. Decline in libido.
5. Possibly some weight gain.
ACTIVE MENOPAUSE: This is the period of time that your hormone production varies greatly. Your cycles start to become very irregular, missing some, and having heavy discharge at other times. The cycles become very irregular in timing. Emotionality takes a nose dive one day and skyrockets the next. This period of time can last for many years also. After you have not had a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months, you have graduated into true Post Menopause. During Active Menopause, the most common symptoms are very similar to Post Menopause, so I am listing them together here:
1. Irregularity of menstrual cycles (Absence for Post Menopause).
2. Hot flashes/night sweats
3. Emotionality, upswings and downswings that can be quite dramatic.
4. Libido? “What is that?” you might say, as it is very low.
5. More intense sleeping irregularities.
6. Significant vaginal dryness.
7. Weight gain, caused by loss of testosterone, possible hypothyroid involvement, and eating ice cream to comfort yourself!
8. The beginning of bone density loss (Bone loss may be present in Post Menopause).
9. Mental fogginess, lack of clarity.
There are many more symptoms which are patient specific. The above list is just the more common ones. The good news is that you do not have to suffer or go through any of these terrible symptoms. Right now you can start natural hormone replacement, which is replacing the exact same hormones your body made before this whole natural aging process began.
Well that is a brief description of the “Change of Life”. Naturally, if you have had a hysterectomy, you are thrown immediately into the Post Menopausal state. Even if your ovaries are left if you had a partial hysterectomy, the ovaries get overworked trying to keep up the production of some of the hormones you need and generally “poop out” after a couple of years.
But fear not ladies, natural hormone replacement can take away all those terrible symptoms and bring you back to a meaningful, happy, and enjoyable life. Just as if you were 30 again. Just call us and give it a try, you will be happy you took that step!
Terry R. Leder B.A.
Clinical Manager & Research
Pointe Medical Services/Live Well MD