Did you know that menopause is one, single day? It’s the day that’s exactly 12 months from your final menstrual cycle. The period of time that most of us think of as menopause, when you may have hot flashes, vaginal dryness, bone loss, and other uncomfortable symptoms, is actually perimenopause.
At Osteopathic Center for Healing, our expert providers, Neil Spiegel, DO, and Jennifer Gularson, PA-C, understand how the symptoms that occur during perimenopause can affect every facet of your life. It can be difficult to work, enjoy hobbies, get enough exercise, and even to maintain healthy relationships when you’re dealing with symptoms that disrupt your life unexpectedly. That’s why we offer hormone replacement therapy, or hormone balancing.
One of the things you may not know about perimenopause is that it can last for as long as 10 years. That’s a long time to live with sudden hot flashes.
Hot flashes can make professional situations difficult, in addition to making you feel miserable. Other symptoms, like vaginal dryness, can have a big impact on your relationship with your intimate partner, because you may not want to have sex if it’s painful. Bone loss, another symptom which continues even after menopause, can be dangerous -- and you may not know you even have bone loss until you’re injured.
These symptoms, and many others, are the result of hormonal changes as you age. During perimenopause, your body begins to produce less estrogen and progesterone, which leads to a cascade of changes.
Here are three of the symptoms that hormone balancing can help.
Hot flashes don’t feel the same as being hot because you’re outside in the summer or being hot from exertion. When you have a hot flash, you get hot very suddenly. You may even wake up having a hot flash -- and these hot flashes at night are called night sweats. Some women experience hot flashes for years.
You may be able to ease the discomfort of hot flashes with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing relaxation through something like tai chi or yoga. However, if lifestyle adjustments don’t do the trick, hormone balancing could be the best approach.
Vaginal dryness can be a forerunner of atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy. With these conditions, the tissues of your vagina become thinner, more sensitive, and easily irritated. In addition to being uncomfortable on a day-to-day basis, vaginal dryness can make intercourse painful.
Regular sexual activity can help you remain healthy, well after menopause, but if it’s painful, you probably won’t want to engage in sex. Hormone balancing may be a good solution for you.
Creams, tablets, or rings are available, and the delivery option that’s best for you depends on many factors. Do you have other symptoms? Have you had cancer? Are you in perimenopause, or have you reached menopause?
Researchers aren’t exactly sure why, but lower levels of estrogen are associated with lower bone density. Osteoporosis, the medical name for low bone density, increases your risk of fracturing a bone.
Hormone replacement therapy can be a good approach for protecting the health of your bones, as long as you’re no more than 10 years past menopause. For women in their 40s or 50s who are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms related to menopause, hormone replacement therapy could alleviate those symptoms as well as offer protection for their bones.
Your body, and your hormone levels, are unique. One thing you can count on at Osteopathic Center for Healing is that we approach your treatment in the context of your overall health. We provide an evaluation, do blood work, and talk to you about your lifestyle and your goals.
If you’d like to learn more about hormone replacement therapy and the symptoms of menopause, schedule an appointment at our office in Rockville, Maryland, today.