Are you wondering about perimenopause or experiencing menopause symptoms? Whether you’re having night sweats, hot flashes, or increased anxiety, we offer customized women’s health services to make menopause more manageable.
Menopause is a natural life transition that happens to women between the ages of 35 and 55. During menopause, fertility decreases as your ovaries shrink. Your body starts to produce lower levels of estrogen and progesterone, and you stop getting your period. By the time the menopausal transition ends, you’re no longer able to get pregnant.
There are 3 stages of menopause, all of which come with their own challenges. Your Aurora doctor can help you understand each stage, what to expect, and how to ease your symptoms during the progression from one stage to another.
Perimenopause is the 3-5 year period before menopause begins. Most women enter this stage during their late 40’s. In the years leading up to menopause, hormone levels begin to shift and your body starts producing less estrogen. You may have irregular periods and begin to experience some menopause symptoms. It’s still possible to become pregnant during perimenopause.
Once you’ve missed your period for 12 months in a row, you’ve officially begun menopause – as long as there aren’t other potential causes for missed periods, such as breastfeeding, illness, or certain medications.
It usually takes 1-3 years for your body to go through menopause, but everyone is different. You may have strong symptoms during this time, or you may feel no different than usual.
For the average women in the United States, menopause begins at age 51 or 52. But sometimes menopause begins earlier. If you’ve had certain procedures done, or treatments for certain conditions, the onset of menopause can come much sooner.
Early menopause can be caused by:
If you have your uterus removed, menopause symptoms can appear gradually. If you have your ovaries removed, the onset of menopause can be almost immediate.
If you plan on having any of the treatments listed above, talk to your doctor about how it could impact the onset of menopause and menopause symptoms.
Postmenopause includes all the time following your menopausal transition. Once you’ve completed menopause, you may notice your symptoms subside. However, now that your body is creating less estrogen, you’re at higher risk for conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis. Your doctor can recommend treatments and possible medication to protect your health in the postmenopausal years.
The symptoms and signs of menopause can begin in perimenopause and linger through postmenopause. While the severity of symptoms varies greatly from person to person, the most common menopause symptoms include:
It’s no secret that menopause symptoms can be unpleasant. Thankfully, there are menopause treatment options available to make you more comfortable before, during, and after the transition.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
When the level of female hormones in your body drops, you may experience symptoms like vaginal dryness and night sweats. HRT replaces the estrogen and progesterone that your body loses during menopause in order to ease these symptoms.
The type of HRT you choose will depend on whether or not you still have your uterus.
If you’ve had a hysterectomy, Estrogen Therapy may ease your menopause symptoms. If you still have your uterus, a combination of estrogen, progesterone and progestin will be safer and more effective.
When taken alone, estrogen can increase your changes of developing cancer of the uterine lining – but only if you still have your uterus. Taking progesterone in combination with estrogen thins out the uterine lining that builds up when you’re no longer menstruating. If you still have your uterus, combination HRT can help maintain a healthy hormonal balance and ease your menopause symptoms.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
The compounds used in Bioidentical Hormone Therapy have the same molecular structure as the hormones produced by your body. These compounds are used in a small number of oral estrogen products approved by the FDA and the U.S. government.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy is prescribed to ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Ask your doctor if Bioidentical Hormone Therapy is right for you.
At-home Relief for Menopause
You may find menopause symptom relief by using natural, DIY remedies at home. Some women treat symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and irritability with:
Be sure to discuss natural remedies with your doctor first. You may also want to try yoga, meditation, increased exercise, and dietary changes to ease your menopause symptoms.