Menopause has many characteristics that make it easy to identify. It most commonly occurs when women are in their 40s or 50s and is marked by 12 consecutive months without menstruation. While some women may experience a wide range of symptoms, others may have no signs of it at all. Symptoms may include weight gain, extreme fatigue, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood swings, abnormal periods, irregular sleep patterns, loss of sex drive and decreased bone density. Signs of menopause can begin to occur during perimenopause, the transitional period before a woman fully enters menopause. Many women experience mild symptoms, while others may have to resort to hormone replacement therapy to re-establish a healthy balance and reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Perimenopause is often referred to as the ‘transition phase.’ A woman may begin to experience signs of menopause as early as her mid-30s. A woman's body begins to transition gradually during perimenopause. As she ages, her ability to produce sufficient amounts of estrogen begins to decrease. It is much easier to manage the symptoms of full blown menopause when a treatment plan is created during the perimenopause phase. By creating a treatment plan using bioidentical hormones, symptoms can be kept under control. This will reduce the discomfort that many of the symptoms are known to cause.
A majority of women will benefit from treatment of menopausal symptoms. Today there are many options ranging from herbal and alternative medicine approaches, to prescription medications (both hormonal and nonhormonal) and, for some women, individually dosed bioidentical prescriptions compounded by specialty pharmacies that can be provided to meet each patients' needs. Our doctors use bioidentical hormones on a minority of women to help control the signs and symptoms that are often characteristic of perimenopause and menopause. Bioidentical hormones have the same chemical structure as natural hormones and work in the exact same way, but often with fewer side effects. Managing menopause with bioidentical hormones allows the transition into menopause to go much smoother and enable a woman to live a full and active life without the discomfort associated with many menopausal symptoms. Along with an individualized treatment plan, the team at Lakeshore Women’s Specialists helps women manage menopause with additional lab testing and monitoring using bioidentical hormone therapy.
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