Technically, a woman enters menopause when she has not had her period for at least a year. However, menopause is a process and can take years to complete. While the average woman enters menopause in her early 50s, there is a wide age range in which menopause occurs.
If your mother or sisters went through menopause at a certain age, odds are you will become menopausal around that time. Women who smoke tend to go through menopause a few years earlier than non-smokers, as do women who have never been pregnant. Women who have had hysterectomies or some forms of chemotherapy enter immediate menopause.
Perimenopause is the first phase of menopause, and it may start years before a woman’s periods end. On average, women enter perimenopause in their mid-40s. It is a time when estrogen levels are changing as the ovaries produce less of the hormone. Signs of perimenopause can include irregular periods, sleep disorders, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mood swings.
The side effects of perimenopause continue into menopause, although one’s periods have ceased. Additional side effects of menopause can include:
Once a woman is menopausal, she cannot become pregnant. While this can provide relief to many women, there are other conditions that become more common once women are menopausal and have little estrogen to protect them. These can include an increased risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer.
Menopause is a fact of life, but menopausal side effects can make a woman’s life miserable. Fortunately, there is help available for women whose lives have been disrupted by this change. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, derived from soy and yam extracts, works the same way as a woman’s natural hormones on the molecular level.
A doctor custom-tailors bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for each patient and devises an individual diet and exercise plan for that patient’s needs. Besides relieving menopausal symptoms and making women feel more like themselves again, other potential benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can include protection against osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, macular degeneration, and Alzheimer’s.
Keep in mind that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is not the same as standard hormone replacement therapy. Standard hormone replacement therapy relies on giving women estrogen from conjugated equine estrogens derived from pregnant mares’ urine. Not only is this type of hormone not molecularly identical to a woman’s natural hormones, but it is a one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf product. Standard hormone replacement therapy may increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer or heart disease, but bioidentical hormone replacement therapy does not pose these risks.
With menopause, your body will begin changing. The most obvious sign of menopause is irregular periods that will eventually end over time. However, changes in energy, hot flashes, and mood swings may also all signal the start of menopause. If you would like more information about the changes your body goes through in menopause or the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women, call the offices of Dr. Edward Jacobson today and arrange your initial appointment.