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Understanding Perimenopause

We’ve all heard of menopause, and for those who don’t really know much about it they may just relate it to when a woman gets older. It can sometimes be thought of as a taboo subject and avoided in conversation, which makes it hard for people to understand what exactly is going on. And, especially for women who are experiencing symptoms related to perimenopause and menopause, it can prevent them from being able to identify the changes in their body and learning how to treat it.

Meaning “around menopause” perimenopause can happen to women at different times but ultimately signals the end of reproduction in the years of transition leading up to menopause. On average, perimenopause lasts about 4 years, but can vary for each individual from 1 year up to 10 years, and can start in a woman's 40’s and even in their 30’s. During this time, a woman's body slowly stops producing estrogen, an essential hormone for reproduction. After 12 months of no menstruation, and when the ovaries stop releasing eggs, a woman has left the perimenopause phase and has entered into menopause.

So, what exactly is estrogen, and how do our hormones work? For women, estrogen, progesterone and cortisol work together to regulate overall health and well-being, as well as help keeping hormones balanced and working properly. Estrogen is known to boost serotonin levels which can help fight off depression and mood swings, as well as promotes a healthy sleep cycle. Estrogen also increases GABA, which raises endorphins. Progesterone is what helps balance estrogen, which promotes sleep, it has a natural calming effect, and it normalizes libido.

Progesterone is the steroid hormone that helps women prepare for pregnancy. Progesterone is made in the ovaries and the adrenal glands in women, but a very small amount of progesterone can be found in men as well. Progesterone is important because it plays a vital role in keeping your hormones balanced.

When a woman enters into perimenopause and starts to lose these essential hormones, not only will she lose the ability to reproduce, she may also experience a number of other side effects stemming from a hormonal imbalance as well. The most common side effects of perimenopause include hot flashes, tender breasts, worsened menstrual symptoms like cramps and headaches, irregular periods, decreased sex drive and vaginal dryness, fatigue, mood swings, and changes in sleep patterns.

Fortunately, you can help treat and relieve these symptoms with Hormone Replacement Therapy. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a therapy that incorporates individualized doses of hormones that emulate nearly identically to the hormones each patient had as a younger woman. HRT employs personalized ingredients with an emphasis on individualized treatment, attracting a new generation of women and men to take notice of this treatment and to seek out qualified professionals. It's important to understand your hormones and their functions. If you feel like you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance, or that you may be going through perimenopause or menopause, consult your doctor and request a test.

At Physicians Age Management Centers/LongevityMed we suggest HRT to treat hormonal related issues, and we can help you understand the benefits of hormone replacement therapy. It’s what we do every day, and our specialty. We provide our patients with a proactive, preventative approach to healthcare for an aging population focused on preservation of optimum human function and quality of life. If you’re interested in taking control of your health, take our hormone test or request a free consultation today.


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