Perimenopause is a time where a woman’s body is going through natural changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone. This change in hormones can cause hot flashes, mood swings, sleep problems, bone loss and problems with concentration.
During the perimenopausal period, a majority of women notice some of the following symptoms:
- Menstrual Irregularity – The length of time and flow of your periods may vary as you get closer to menopause. If your periods are more than 60 days apart, you are in the late stages of perimenopause.
- Hot flashes – The intensity, length and frequency of hot flashes vary from person to person.
- Mood swings – Irritability and depression are common in premenopausal women.
Menopause Treatment Services We Offer
Most women today can expect to live well into their 80’s. Natural menopause begins anywhere from the late 30’s to early 50’s, so you can expect to live many postmenopausal years.
Menopausal is defined as the end of menstruation. If you have not had a period in 12 months, then you are considered to be postmenopausal. Menopause occurs because the ovaries produce only low levels of hormones and your period stops. If you have your ovaries removed, you will experience menopause abruptly, because your body had not had time to adjust to the normal hormonal changes that take years to complete.
Health Concerns During Menopause
- Cardiovascular disease (heart disease) is the leading cause of death in women after menopause. Estrogen naturally protects the heart and vessels, so after menopause that protection is gone.
- Estrogen slows bone loss which causes osteoporosis (weak, thin bones) especially those of the hip, wrist, and spine. Hip fractures in elderly women are a major health concern.
- Mood swings, irritability, sleep problems, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, urine incontinence (uncontrolled loss of urine) and headaches may be helped with HRT.
Hormone Therapy Risks/Side Effects
There are a number of hormone therapy options available. As with any type of treatment, there are risks and side effects associated with HRT. And HRT is not for every woman. Some of the risks linked to hormone therapy are mainly to estrogen therapy (ET) alone. Hormone Therapy (HT) is estrogen and progesterone combined.
Some of the risks that may be associated with HRT are:
- Possible increase in breast cancer risk.
- Increase in uterine cancer risk if estrogen is used alone.
Some of the side effects are:
- Menstrual-like bleeding.
- PMS like symptoms.
Hormone Therapy Treatment Plans
There are many treatment plans available, and it may take some time to find the one plan that is best for you. Examples of treatment plans are:
- Continuous/cyclical estrogen therapy – estrogen used daily or on certain days of the month.
- Continuous combined hormone therapy – estrogen ad progestin used daily.
- Continuous estrogen with progestin used on certain days of the month.
- Vaginal estrogen cream used daily.
Methods of HRT
- Oral therapy of pills.
- Transdermal or skin patches.
- Vaginal cream.
Before Starting HRT
Before you begin HRT you should complete the following:
- Have a complete physical examination.
- Have a complete medical history taken.
- Have a complete blood test, urinalysis, and blood chemistry profile.
- Screening for rectal, cervical cancer.
- Have a mammogram.
Menopause is part of every woman’s life. There are countless books, articles, and options concerning menopause and its treatment and it can be very confusing. Read as much information as you can, talk to other women and rely on your health care provider to help you through this.
Perimenopause is the time before you actually reach menopause. This time is different for every woman. During this time the ovaries decrease the production of the female hormones. Usually this process takes place slowly, sometimes even 10 years before menopause.
Some of the changes you may experience are:
- Periods become lighter or heavier.
- Periods may be further apart or closer together.
- You may miss a couple of periods and then start again.
Even though you may experience changes in your normal cycle, notify our doctors and nurses if you have any of the following:
- Very heavy bleeding that is not normal for you.
- Bleeding after intercourse.
- Have bleeding that lasts longer than what is normal for you.
If you have had your ovaries surgically removed you will immediately experience menopause.
You have clinically reached menopause when you have not had a period in 12 months. The average age menopause occurs is 51. Some women have experienced menopause as early as 40 years of age.
Menopause occurs because the ovaries produce only low levels of hormones that cause your periods to stop. If you are in your late 40s or 50s and have reached menopause you are now considered a postmenopausal woman.
Some of the changes you may experience are:
- Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and occasionally trouble with concentration or memory.
- Hot flashes (flushes) or night sweats.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Bladder control – you may lose a small amount of urine when you laugh or sneeze.
- Breasts lose some of the fullness and nipples are less erect.
Sex and Menopause
Menopause does not mean the end of your sex life. Often it feels liberating because you no longer need to worry about becoming pregnant.
Areas that may be affected by the low levels of hormones during menopause are:
- Vaginal dryness and decreased lubrication may cause painful intercourse.
- Deceased blood flow to the sexual organs may decrease the sensitivity.
- You may lose interest in sex.
There are things you and your partner can do to make it more enjoyable. You can use lubricating jellies or estrogen creams. Discuss the choices with our doctors and nurses. Longer foreplay will help stimulate lubrication. Regular intercourse helps the vagina keep its natural elasticity.
Menopause and Your Health
Menopause also affects your general health. Osteoporosis is the medical term for weak, thin bones. The hip, wrist, and spinal bones are most often affected. Cardiovascular disease (heart disease) is the leading cause of death in women after menopause. Estrogen naturally protects the heart and vessels, so after menopause most of that protection is gone.
Emotional changes affect some women more than others. Irritability, mood swings, depression, nervousness, and feeling fatigued are common complaints. Do not hesitate to discuss these concerns with our doctors and nurses.
We’re currently working on this page to provide you with the best information about Post-MenoPausal Bleeding (PMP) and common causes.. so please stay tuned.
We’re currently working on this page to provide you with the best information about Premenstrual Syndrome Management (PMS) and common causes.. so please stay tuned.