Exactly what is menopause?
As defined by The North American Menopause Society, Menopause is a normal, natural event associated with decreased ovarian function that results in lower levels of ovarian hormones. Other terms such as pre-menopause, peri- and postmenopause describe various time periods that take place before, after, and around this natural hormonal event.
Pre-menopause is a syndrome or a collection of symptoms experienced by women ten to 20 years before the onset of menopause. Unlike perimenopause, which is typically experienced one to two years before, during, and after menstruation ends, pre-menopause can begin as early as the mid-thirties. A woman is pre-menopausal if she is still having menstrual cycles with monthly periods but are noticeably irregular in timing. During this time, the levels of reproductive hormones are becoming more variable and lower, and the effects of hormone withdrawal are present. Although one woman’s journey may be very different from another, many pre-menopausal women experience symptoms that indicate the onset of hormone deficiency, such as headaches, joint pain, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, decreased libido, and breast pain. Declining estrogen levels contribute to menstrual cycle irregularity. For instance, some women may experience heavier menstrual periods than usual while others may experience lighter periods than they are used to.
During perimenopause, symptoms that occurred during the pre-menopausal phase become more noticeable and may increase in intensity or duration. The length of time between periods typically increases, as do other symptoms including hot flashes and sleep problems.
How do you know if you are in menopause?
If you suspect you are approaching menopause, contact us to request an appointment with one of our highly qualified physicians trained in BHRT for a complete medical examination and evaluation of your symptoms. Whereas some clinicians recommend saliva testing to measure hormone levels, this method is not always reliable and is not a recommended method to evaluate or treat menopausal symptoms. When determining a benefit from BHRT, blood sampling along with a complete evaluation of menopausal symptoms, is the most accurate and efficient method for measuring hormone levels.
The main action of progesterone is to prepare a woman’s uterus for pregnancy, as well as aid in the protection of the inner uterine lining (endometrium). During the pre-and perimenopausal phases, progesterone levels will often decline while estrogen levels may remain stable or even increase. In fact, many of the early symptoms women experience are due to progesterone levels that are too low compared to their levels of estrogen. Decreased levels of progesterone may cause breast swelling and tenderness, mood swings, and weight gain.
A hormone called Estrogen regulates a woman’s menstrual period and ability to conceive. Estrogen also plays a part in controlling other body functions, including bone density and skin temperature. Often the last hormone to decline, Estrogen is traditionally the hormone associated with menopausal symptoms. As a woman approaches menopause, the ovaries slow their production of estrogen. Although the body still produces some estrogen even after menopause, the overall effect is a dramatic drop in the amount circulating in the body. Most women experience anywhere from a 30-60% drop in estrogen during menopause. Decreased levels of estrogen can produce the most well-known symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes which can cause redness or flushing of the face and neck, sweating and a rapid heart rate.
Not all symptoms of menopause are due to a decline in estrogen and progesterone alone. Declining testosterone levels can also occur well before the last menstrual period. While the symptoms of low testosterone can be more subtle than those of progesterone and estrogen, for some women they can be significant. Lower levels of testosterone can cause sleep disturbances, decreased libido or sex drive, mood swings, mental confusion, and depression. Physical changes may include reduced muscle mass, weakening of the bones, and weight gain. If left untreated, these hormone deficiencies may lead to more severe medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer.
How can bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) help with symptoms of menopause?
Most experts agree that hormone replacement therapy with estrogen is the most efficient treatment for hot flashes and vaginal dryness and can begin at the onset of menopausal symptoms. Numerous published studies also support BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy) consisting of estrogen and testosterone to treat menopause, not only as a means to manage symptoms but also as a way to reverse and prevent future damage to the body resulting from hormone loss.
BHRT is an individualized treatment designed to restore a woman’s hormone levels. Research indicates that the use of BHRT with pellet implants is a safe and efficient method of hormone delivery in both women and men.
Exactly what is testosterone therapy in women?
Many women are unaware that their bodies make and need testosterone to function properly. Although the amount of testosterone women require is less compared to men, testosterone has over 3,000 applications in the female body. In a woman’s early thirties, testosterone production begins to decline until the onset of menopause, resulting in the complete discontinuation of estrogen and testosterone hormone production. Compared to a twenty-one-year-old, at age forty, a woman’s total testosterone is about half.
Symptoms of low testosterone include depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, decreased sex drive, and difficulty with staying in shape. The onset of these symptoms can occur before menopause when a woman still has regular menstrual periods. In fact, women can experience symptoms of low testosterone without being in pre-or perimenopause.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy using the testosterone pellet has become an extremely effective method of delivery of testosterone. Considering the amount of testosterone in women is a minute fraction compared to that of men, a typical dose is so small that any misconceptions of acquiring “masculine” traits are exceedingly rare. Testosterone replacement in women has shown to increase energy, relieve depression, increase a sense of well-being, alleviate anxiety, improve memory, and boost concentration.
Pre-menopausal females have the potential to achieve great success from treatment with testosterone delivered by pellet implant. Testosterone pellets can be used while taking birth control pills and can also be used to treat migraines and menstrual headaches, as well as prevent vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, and frequent or urgent urination. Additionally, testosterone pellets can increase lean muscle mass, muscle strength, bone density, and can decrease unwanted body fat.
Adequate testosterone levels in women promote optimal mental and physical health and can prevent certain chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Patients who have tried other types of hormone therapy such as hormone creams, gels, patches, and injections without success are often very pleased with the results and convenience they experience with pellet therapy.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may suffer from low testosterone:
Low Sex Drive
Loss of Energy
Lack of Motivation
Call us today if you suffer from are any of the above signs or symptoms.