Menopause is the period in a woman's life when a natural decline in the production of specific hormones results in the cessation of the menstrual cycle and an inability to become pregnant moving forward. Most women enter the perimenopause phase – the time leading up to menopause – in their 40s, with menopause occurring in the 40s or 50s. Menopause is strictly defined as having occurred when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months.
The decline in estrogen and progesterone hormones that begins in perimenopause can cause a host of symptoms, including:
Irritability or mood swings
Changes in the regularity or heaviness of periods
Some women will experience many symptoms when approaching menopause while other women will experience very few symptoms before their periods end.
Menopause can't be “cured” - it's a natural occurrence in the life of a woman – but some treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms. Treatments are available to address specific symptoms, like creams to reduce vaginal dryness and pain that can occur during intercourse or medications to help with sleep-related issues. But one of the most popular treatments for menopause symptoms is hormone replacement therapy using highly-tolerated bioidentical hormones to supplement a woman's own dwindling hormone levels. These bioidentical hormones work to perform the same functions as naturally produced hormones, so women experience a reduction in symptoms, and they may even reduce the risks of some serious menopause-related conditions like a bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis. Before any treatment is prescribed, you'll have a chance to learn about all your options as well as any potential concerns associated with treatment.