For many women, the menopausal transition brings rise to symptoms that range from a mere annoyance to debilitating pain. It’s safe to say that menopause isn’t a fun fact of life, but it is a fact of life nonetheless.
Thanks to medical advancements, you can enjoy menopause with fewer, less intense symptoms — or even completely symptomless menopause, depending on how your body responds to hormone replacement therapy.
Dr. Alan B. Patterson, an expert OBGYN in Coral Springs, Florida, is an advocate of hormone replacement therapy for treating menopause symptoms — keep reading to learn why and if this treatment is right for you.
Despite being an unavoidable life phase for most women, some women never truly understand what happens during menopause. Menopause is defined as the lack of a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. Most women reach this designation in their early to mid-50s, but the menopausal transition (known as perimenopause) can begin as early as age 40.
During perimenopause, your sex hormone levels — primarily estrogen and progesterone, but also testosterone — wane. Your ovary function becomes more and more limited and your body reduces the production of related hormones.
Many women first notice a change in the length of their menstrual cycle, signifying the beginning of the loss of the cycle. For instance, if your period usually lasts seven days, you may notice that it now only lasts four to five days. You may also start to skip periods entirely.
Other women may notice uncomfortable vaginal symptoms as the first sign of menopause. Indicators that your sex hormone levels are decreasing include itchiness, laxity, dryness, and painful intercourse. Frequent urinary tract infections and a decrease in libido (sex drive) also indicate fluctuating hormones.
In the later stages of perimenopause and in the beginning of menopause, the typical symptoms begin showing up: hot flashes, disturbed sleep, anxiety, mood swings, weight gain, spontaneous chills, changes in skin and hair, and more.
Hormone replacement therapy aims to keep your levels of estrogen and progesterone adequate and balanced. The irregularity in the levels of those two hormones drive menopause symptoms, so by balancing them, your body becomes less susceptible to hormone-related symptoms.
Dr. Patterson offers his patients choices, of herbal therapy, all types of hormones including bioidentical and non-hormonal therapy for hot flashes called Brisdelle. Different patients respond to and want different therapies and Dr. Patterson tailors his patients’ therapies to their specific needs and wants.
As you approach menopause and begin to experience menopausal symptoms, you’ll likely start wondering what treatments are right for you. The answer lies in your symptoms and your overall health status. According to experts, hormone replacement therapy works best for women who are relatively young (up to age 59 or within 10 years of menopause) and who experience typical symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.
You should consider hormone replacement therapy if:
To find out if you’re a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy, schedule an appointment with Dr. Patterson. Call our Coral Springs, Florida, office at 954-613-0070 or book your appointment online.