What is Menopause?
Menopause naturally occurs in middle aged women when the ovaries begin making less estrogen and progesterone which leads to a permanent end of menstruation and fertility. The child rearing responsibilities are gone and a perfect time to focus on yourself. Menopause is most commonly seen between ages 35 to 55 years old. Your body may begin to show symptoms of transitioning to menopause 2 to 8 years before actual menopause. This time period is referred to as Perimenopause.
Menopause is diagnosed when a woman’s menstrual cycle has been absent for one year with increasing blood levels of FSH and LH. Menopause occurs naturally as the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone. During Perimenopause, your estrogen levels rise and fall unpredictably. Often diagnosis of Perimenopause includes family history, age and symptoms. Blood labs can evaluate the hormone levels at a specific point in time but often fluctuate each month. Cycle mapping can be helpful to assess hormone levels through all phases of the menstrual cycle.
What are the symptoms of Menopause?
Symptoms of Menopause may include:
- Hot flashes
- weight gain
- vaginal dryness
- night sweats
- memory decline
Symptoms of Perimenopause often present as:
- Irregular period
- changes in menstrual flow (heavier or lighter)
- new or worsening premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
How to treat Menopause
Most women gain weight during menopause due to an imbalance in hormones. Balancing all hormones including Cortisol, DHEA, Progesterone, Testosterone and Estrogen are crucial to preventing weight gain, preserving memory and brain function along with bone health. Menopause treatment should be patient specific and monitored closely to prevent disease. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms by replacing the hormones that the body has become deficient in. At Renew Integrative Health, we strictly use Bioidentical Hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). These plant based compounds are identical to the hormones produced by the body therefore, patients respond to them in the same way that they respond to the hormones produced in the body. Other treatment options include: