What happens during menopause?
As women age, estrogen levels begin to drop. Declining estrogen levels lead to fluctuations in a woman’s menstrual cycles until, eventually, the cycles stop completely.
Menopause is the end of menstruation and is typically considered to be “complete” when a woman has gone 12 months without a period.
Menopause is a natural effect of aging and concludes the reproductive years. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51 years, old although it can start much earlier in some women, typically between the ages of 45 and 55.
It’s important to remember that menopause is a transitional period for a woman, albeit an entirely normal one that’s side effects can manifest in a variety of ways.
The transitional phase just prior to menopause is called perimenopause, and usually occurs in a woman’s early to mid-40s.
This menopausal transition commonly takes as many as seven years but can last as many as fourteen, depending on a woman’s health, lifestyle, race, and even the age they are when menopause has begun.
So, what does menopause actually look like? There are a variety of symptoms that one can look for in assessing their health.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Menopause can look slightly different for each woman who experiences it.
Declining hormone levels can lead to more than just the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Many women experience uncomfortable side effects as well as increased risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.
The more unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause can include:
- Emotional changes
- Hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Vaginal dryness and/or painful intercourse
- Lower body fat
- Increase energy and sex drive
- Weight loss
- Reduce the risk of developing common age-related conditions
Despite menopause being a perfectly normal and natural process for women as they age, modern wellness has made it such that they no longer need to experience much of the discomfort associated with this time in their lives.
The most successful treatment in alleviating these symptoms? Hormone Replacement Therapy.
What are the benefits of hormone replacement for menopause symptoms?
Some women experience little or no side effects due to menopause and do not seek treatment for menopause symptoms. Other women suffer with extreme symptoms and can benefit greatly from a well-tailored hormone therapy plan.
The concept behind hormone therapy is quite simple. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) works because it brings the hormone’s in a woman’s body back up to a level where she no longer experiences symptoms.
Benefits of hormone replacement therapy for menopause can include:
- Reduced symptoms of depression
- Reduced risk of bone loss, fractures, and osteoporosis
- Prevention of loss of muscle mass
- Ease of hot flashes and night sweats
- Ease of vaginal and urinary symptoms
Can hormone therapy help with depression?
Women who are going through menopause experience an increased risk for major depressive disorder. Hormone replacement works by stabilizing hormone levels and is a practical antidepressant treatment.
Anxiety and depression can even be treated with hormone replacement therapy in younger premenopausal women if it is determined that the root is hormonal imbalance.
Can hormone therapy help to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease?
There is much debate over whether HRT can protect against neurological disorders. Some studies indicate that hormone replacement therapy might protect against both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
While researchers continue exploring how far-reaching the benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy actually can be, those experiencing the effects of menopause should consider how HRT might help them take control of their own personal wellness.
The 10X Health System team is devoted to helping everyone in our care get the clearest, most comprehensive understanding of their health so that they can take control of their bodies, optimize their wellness, and live the most fulfilling lives possible.
Are you or a loved one experiencing the discomfort of menopause? Ready to learn how Hormone Replacement Therapy can help you feel like yourself again? Contact the 10X Health System team TODAY for your consultation!