Menopause is a natural stage that marks the permanent end of fertility, usually between the ages of 45 and 55. It is not one clearly defined event, but a process associated with lowering levels of estrogen and other hormones as ovary function decreases. Menopause is typically confirmed when a woman has missed her period for 12 consecutive months with no other obvious cause.
What to Expect
Your menopause experience will be unique. Many women report no physical changes, aside from irregular menstrual periods that eventually stop altogether at menopause. However, some women experience one or more changes leading up to menopause, including:
· Hot flashes
· Changes in mood
· Difficulty sleeping
· Memory problems
· Vaginal dryness
· Weight gain
Keep in mind that these changes are not all hormone-related, and some – such as hot flashes and memory problems — tend to resolve on their own after menopause. A healthy, active lifestyle can help you manage changes and feel your best before, during and after menopause.
To balance the loss of estrogen and other hormones, many women opt for medications to manage their menopausal symptoms. These prescribed estrogens and progestogens are either the same or similar to your natural hormones, or are a similar compound. Hormone therapies can be administered in a number of ways, including pills, patches, creams and vaginal ring.
Finding the hormone therapy that is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including what symptoms you are experiencing and whether or not you have had a hysterectomy. We will discuss your needs and help you identify the best option.
Although this term was originally used to refer to custom-compounded hormones, bioidentical hormones now indicate hormones with the same chemical and molecular structure as those naturally produced in the body. There are many well-tested, FDA-approved options in a variety of doses available at retail pharmacies. Since these do not have to be custom mixed, you get a more accurate, more consistent and potentially safer treatment option.