As we women enter our 40s, most of us have heard about perimenopause, and menopause but many of us are left asking our older friends, “What is menopause like?” and even, “What really happens during menopause?” Let’s explore those questions and also start to understand the options for relieving the multitude of symptoms associated with menopausal hormone changes.
While there are many forms of relief, the most effective is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy or also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). HRT is safe and effective at hormone regulation, and HRT alternatives can even act like anti-aging hormones.
Perimenopause & Menopause - Aging and Health Risks
The combination of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause are all one long phase - sometimes 25+ years long - called the Menopause Transition (MT). MT is caused by the drop in the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The timing of onset for each of the three stages is a very personal process that depends on when the ovaries no longer produce normal levels of hormones.
The ovaries produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as testosterone.1 Women experience significant hormone drops in their 30s and early 40s, and by their 40s they are likely in perimenopause. Perimenopause starts much earlier than most women think it will. Identifying that you are in perimenopause is critical to getting treatment and experiencing positive health outcomes.
In the US, women can typically expect to be in menopause by the age of 51-52, so looking out for the symptoms of perimenopause about 10 years before menopause can be very beneficial. The best way to know if you are in perimenopause and/or menopause is to evaluate your symptoms.
A hormone imbalance can cause more than just uncomfortable hot flashes. As we age, changes in hormone levels can result in more typical signs of aging like wrinkling dry skin, and brittle hair, fatigue, weight changes, loss of libido, and poor concentration.
Your long-term health can benefit by replacing the hormones that are dropping. When estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are allowed to drop and stay low, the risk of heart disease and the development of type 2 diabetes increases, as does the risk for some forms of cancer. These drop-in hormones can be dangerous - heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the US. Low hormone levels can also cause loss of bone density, leading to osteoporosis and a higher chance of bone fractures.
Yes, with menopause you are going to produce less and less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, but hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help relieve menopause symptoms and work as an anti-aging option. Below we’ve provided a ‘top 10’ list of symptoms to help you vet your peri- and menopausal status.
10 Symptoms of perimenopause include:
Weight Gain & Metabolism Changes The normal hormonal changes that occur during perimenopause and menopause will often cause weight gain and the redistribution of fat to a woman’s belly.
Hot Flashes Hot flashes are a very common symptom of menopause and 85% of women experience them. Hot flashes can be severe enough to significantly change a woman’s quality of life.
Mood Swings, Anxiety & Depression Perimenopausal mood swings are very common. You can use HRT to help suppress the erratic hormonal ups and downs. Women on HRT often report feeling more even-tempered.
Memory & Mental Fogginess Many women are alarmed to discover they have trouble remembering things, experience mental blocks, or have difficulty concentrating with menopause.
Skin & Hair Changes When hormone levels drop with age it can show in your skin, hair, and even fingernails.
Night Sweats & Sleep Disorders Severe hot flashes at night are called night sweats and can include sweating. Night sweats can cause sleep disruptions and insomnia.
Irregular periods and heavy bleeding HRT can help reduce the irregular bleeding often noticed as your body is adjusting its hormone levels during perimenopause.
Fatigue & Achy Joints While many people might think that joint pain, fatigue, and achy joints are just a part of getting old, they do not have to be. Maintaining the levels of estrogen can help reduce inflammation in the joints.
Low Libido & Vaginal Dryness/Atrophy As women age, one problem is rarely discussed - low sex drive and vaginal changes. Both are at least partially due to hormonal imbalances.
Incontinence – Incontinence as women age can be due to estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels dropping.
Answers for Aging and Health with Hormone Replacement Therapy
Perimenopause can be a positive beginning, with the opportunity to take preventive action against major health risks associated with the decreasing hormones associated with menopause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or also called Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can replace your depleted hormones and can help you to feel young again. Bioidentical hormones are derived from natural plant sources and are functionally identical to your own hormones.
The HRT hormones are also ‘micronized’ which means your body is able to absorb it easily and you can use a very small amount to have a positive effect. Winona provides estrogen as creams, patches, and tablets. Progesterone is available in creams and tablets. Testosterone is provided as DHEA which your body breaks down to testosterone to help relieve your depleted hormone.
After starting treatment, most women start to feel better and notice some menopause symptoms relief in just two to three weeks. At around the six-month mark, the hormones in your body will reach optimal levels. With menopause support from Winona, you have the opportunity to take preventive action against health risks associated with the ever-decreasing hormones as we age.
Hormone replacement is a safe and physiologically natural way for you to regain your vitality, when prescribed by a physician. Winona’s healthcare platform is a place to safely connect with a healthcare provider to receive care, and to ask the sometimes difficult questions.
Let's alleviate and control the symptoms of peri - and menopause with bioidentical hormone therapy, also known as HRT. Don’t want to let your menopause experience cause uncontrollable weight gain, decreased libido, and allow ongoing fatigue? HRT can help you to take control of the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Give Winona a try today bywinona.com.