Menopause can be simply uncomfortable or seriously problematic. At Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists we can help bring you relief – naturally – through bioidentical hormones.
Stages of Menopause
The period leading up to menopause is known as perimenopuase and is marked by a decrease of estrogen, which results in changes in your menstrual cycle. You many have longer or shorter periods than normal, or you may begin to skip periods.
Menopause occurs when a woman stops having menstrual periods and marks the end of childbearing years. The average of menopause in the United States is 51. While menopause symptoms are different for everyone, the most common signs of menopause are:
- Hot flashes – sudden rush of heat to the upper body and face. Hot flashes often cause you to blush and break out in a sweat.
- Sleep Problems – including trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Hot flashes can also disrupt sleep.
- Vaginal Changes – decreases in estrogen can cause vaginal dryness and pain during sex.
- Urinary Tract Changes – you may need to urinate more often and experience more urinary tract infections.
- Bone changes – menopausal women are at greater risk of bone loss (osteoporosis).
- Risk factors – decreases in estrogen can put women at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Mood swings
- General depression
- Foggy brain and poor concentration
- Weight gain and decreased muscle tone
- Low libido
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical hormones are natural hormones with the same molecular structure as the hormones made by your body. Typical hormone replacement uses synthetic hormones, which are foreign to the body and can have unpleasant side effects or possibly not provide enough hormones needed during menopause.
Bioidentical hormone therapy begins with lab work to determine your body’s unique hormone levels. Then, a mixture of hormones that are targeted to your body’s specific needs is made into a compound in the form of a cream, gel, pellet or capsule. Transdermal applications seem to be best because they bypass the liver and gastrointestinal system. When hormones are absorbed rather than swallowed, they go directly to the tissues and are not altered by the liver; this is called the first pass effect.
In the beginning of your therapy, you will need frequent testing to check that each hormone component is in proper balance. Once balance is restored, you will only need an annual treatment. You will see improvement within the first two to three weeks of therapy, but it will take up to eight weeks to feel the full effect. We want to achieve balance with the lowest dose of each hormone as also recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The bioidentical hormone therapy program combines hormone replacement with dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
Approximately 85% of women will experience complete relief of symptoms with bioidentical hormones – a much higher success rate than with synthetic hormone replacement therapy.
Please note that most insurance policies do not cover this type of therapy, although they usually cover lab testing.
Click here to watch a video by Dr. G. Walton Smith covering bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Did you know?
- Compounded bioidentical hormones, including pellet therapy, have been available since the 1930s.
- Bioidentical hormones were available for years before the introduction of patented hormone pills.
- Transdermal bioidentical hormones do not increase the risk of blood clots and stroke.
- Testosterone declines significantly at menopause and may contribute to many unwanted symptoms.