Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life, which typically occurs between the ages of 40 and 55. When the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, menstruation ceases and fertility is no longer possible. Menopause is typically confirmed when there is no period for 12 consecutive months. For some women menopause can occur as early as the late 30s, or as late as 60s, however, the average age of onset is 52 years of age. When menopause occurs before 40, it is considered premature menopause. Medically induced menopause refers to menopause brought on suddenly as a result of surgery (removal of the ovaries), chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. For most women menopausal symptoms diminish during the initial two to five years, although for some it may take more than ten.
Women’s hormone levels begin to change in their middle to late 30’s. Perimenopause is the process of change that leads up to menopause and usually occurs 2- 10 years prior to the onset of menopause. During perimenopause, progesterone and estrogen levels (as well as other sex hormone levels) decline, however, progesterone declines more rapidly than estrogen. These fluctuating and declining hormone levels cause menstrual cycle changes, such as irregularity, or heavier or lighter cycles.
Eventually progesterone and estrogen levels drop enough that the menstrual cycle stops and menopause begins. The decline in hormones causes many of the well-known physical and emotional symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause. Excessive or chronic stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and exposure to environmental toxins all contribute to the decline in hormone levels. Most common physical signs and symptoms of menopause and perimenopause:
· Heart pounding (heart palpitations)
· Rapid, irregular heartbeats
· Vaginal dryness
· Dry eyes
· Painful intercourse
· Sleep disturbances & insomnia
· Hot flashes and/or night sweats
· Abdominal weight gain
· Urine leakage
· Cravings for sweets or carbohydrates
· Brain fog (difficulty concentrating, memory problems)
· Weight gain, especially around the middle
· Stiffness and joint fatigue Emotional symptoms:
· Mood swings
Optimizing and balancing hormones with Bio-identical hormones not only helps ease menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms, but may also decrease the risk of osteoporosis, colon cancer, and cardiovascular disease. If you are suffering from menopause or perimenopause, call Southern California Center for Anti-Aging today at 424.247.4962 for a comprehensive appointment.