Do you have menopause symptoms that are negatively impacting your life? If so, you are not alone. Nearly 80 million American women will have some menopause symptoms. Find out how to treat symptoms here.
Pre & Post Menopause
Menopause is a reality of aging, a sign that a woman's child-bearing years have to come to an end. For many menopausal women, the symptoms are uncomfortable and sometimes difficult to manage.
Almost two-thirds of menopausal women seek healthcare intervention for the symptoms of menopause that affect their daily lives. At iThriveMD, we offer menopause treatment in San Diego that could help ease your symptoms.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the end of the recurrent menstrual cycles that signify fertility. For most women, it is a gradual process marked by perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Women who have undergone a hysterectomy also experience menopausal symptoms as the procedure removes the uterus and its hormones.
The good news is that studies show postmenopausal women have a lower risk of breast cancer.
The Menopause Process
Menopause is a natural transition between a woman's child-bearing years and non-fertile years. During the transition, hormone levels fluctuate as the body stops producing estrogen and progesterone needed to maintain fertility, keep eggs viable, and maintain a pregnancy.
The process begins with perimenopause, the phase with the most significant fluctuations in hormones and symptoms. This process takes 3-5 years before the periods eventually stop entirely. The point at which a woman goes from perimenopause to the diagnosis of menopause is marked by twelve months of missed periods with no other cause.
The rapid fluctuations in hormone levels leave many women with side effects that disrupt their daily lives. While some women experience lesser symptoms, many consult their doctors for help in managing the discomfort.
Drastic drops in estrogen levels are to blame for the intense mood swings that perimenopausal women may experience.
Changes in hormone levels naturally weaken the pelvic floor muscles. Weaker bladder control means more frequent trips to the ladies' room.
These hormones also affect how other hormones regulate body temperature. These changes can produce night sweats or hot flashes, which are an iconic symptom of menopause.
Trouble Falling Asleep
Progestin is one of the hormones responsible for sleep, so as your progesterone levels drop in menopause, your ability to sleep may be hampered. This phase of life also marks several different lifestyle changes that may alter sleep schedules as well.
One of the jobs that estrogen has is stimulating natural lubricants' release and replenishing the vaginal lining with new cells. Decreased estrogen production naturally means less vaginal lubrication, so menopause often involves vaginal dryness.
Depending on which symptom you are looking to treat, there are a variety of options. Many treatment options are menopause hormone treatments, such as hormonal therapies to stabilize some hormone levels and lessen the severity of the symptoms. But menopausal women also require more calcium and other nutrients, so balance is crucial.
When to See a Doctor
If your menopausal symptoms interfere with your daily life, it is time to get help. If those closest to you have noticed changes in your mood or you feel overwhelmed by the symptoms, hormone replacement therapy can help you find some balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Should Not Take Menopausal Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy poses risks to older patients and anyone who is high-risk for diseases like endometrial cancer, osteoporosis, or cardiovascular disease. The risk level depends on many factors, including health history and the type of hormonal treatment proposed. It would help if you discussed all of your options with a trained healthcare professional.
What Are The Treatment Options for Menopause Symptoms?
Treatment options vary depending on what symptoms you are looking to treat. Timing and duration of use are the most significant factors for assessing the risk of a particular treatment.
Progesterone cream is a non-invasive hormonal therapy that can help reduce hot flashes, improve mood and sleep patterns, and protect from osteoporosis. It is available as an over-the-counter treatment and often derived from plant-based materials.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Bioidentical hormones are the same as the estrogen and progesterone naturally made in the body. Many people believe that these hormones are more effective and safer than synthetic hormones. They use transdermal methods like creams or patches, so they are safer and less invasive than other hormone therapy methods.
Estrogen or progesterone therapies are available in patches with varying doses. The patch allows for the hormone to absorb through the skin on the abdomen.
What is the Evidence for Bio-identical Hormone Therapy?
Bio-identical hormone therapy is often chosen as a preferred treatment method for many women in the U.S. due to the perception of a healthier, safer alternative to traditional treatments. These hormones are made from derivatives of plant extracts that are chemically modified to match human hormones.
According to scientific studies, bio-identical hormone therapy may not be any more effective or safe than traditional methods. Some doctors who support bio-identical hormones suggest that they go beyond treating your symptoms and increase energy, general well-being, and quality of life. Still, more research involving a placebo comparison is necessary to prove or disprove such claims.
Is Menopausal Hormone Therapy Safe?
You can safely achieve hormone therapy with a doctor's care for anyone with an uncomplicated medical history or taking hormone therapy early in the transition.
What Medicines Treat Menopause Symptoms?
In addition to hormone therapies, which are the most common treatments, some women use antidepressants like fluoxetine to stabilize mood swings. Seizure medications like Gabapentin may help with hot flashes, and osteoporosis prescription medications may help with bone mass loss. Clonidine can also treat hot flashes. A vitamin D supplement or ginseng may help some women looking for natural remedies.
Does Menopause Make You Tired?
Menopause can make you feel tired even with adequate sleep due to the changes in hormone levels. Many women experience sleep disturbances and night sweats that negatively impact their quality of sleep. However, drinking coffee to perk up has downsides, too; research suggests that caffeine creates worse vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women.
How Bad Can Menopause Get?
Severe menopause can cause profound mental health changes that require treatment. Depression, anxiety, and sleep problems cause behavioral issues in menopausal women, making it difficult to maintain relationships or keep a job.
Schedule Your Consultation
Menopause is a normal transition that all women deal with, but it affects every woman differently. If the symptoms of menopause make it challenging to get through the day or feel like your mental health has taken a hit, it is time to see what treatment options are available.
Book a consultation today to discuss your symptoms and treatment options with a doctor.