Though menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life, some women may find the symptoms associated with menopause unbearable. At Incredible Health, our staff is here to help you find relief and find the right solution that suits your concerns and lifestyle.
Menopause marks the end of menstruation and can be diagnosed after 12 months without menstruation. This often occurs between the ages of 40 to 50 but can occur sooner for some women.
Each woman experiences menopause differently. Some women may have severe symptoms that interfere with their day-to-day ability and other women may have infrequent and minimal symptoms. Common symptoms associated with menopause include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dry skin
- Hot flashes
- Memory problems
- Mood swings
- Slowed metabolism
- Thinning of hair
- Urinary incontinence
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
How is menopause diagnosed?
As mentioned above, menopause is when you have not menstruated for at least 12 months. During your menopause evaluation, a physical exam is conducted, and your symptoms discussed. A blood test may be drawn to check your hormone levels as well if needed.
Though menopause is a normal phase of a woman’s life, there are ways to combat some of the more unpleasant symptoms. At Incredible Health, we offer several treatment options for menopausal symptoms including bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. This treatment uses bioidentical hormones to restore hormone levels to their normal change and are similar to your body’s own hormones ensuring optimal health.
What You Should Know About Menopause
Most of us have raised teenagers and have experienced what a crazy, tough time it is. Menopause and andropause (male menopause) can be thought of as a reverse puberty. We should expect it to be a rough time. Now that I have been helping people with bio-identical hormones for years now, it is so apparent that I can’t believe we’ve been missing it. Puberty is clearly about more than just developing libido. Every system of the body is affected. The same happens in menopause and andropause. I am not saying that bedroom life is not important, because it definitely is, but hormones impact your total health.
The official definition of menopause is one calendar year without a menses. The time frame leading up to that, when menses can be irregular, is termed peri-menopause. Each person’s experience going through it will be unique. The normal age to become peri-menopausal is 35-55 years old. Given the stress in our society, it can be as young as 30 years old. I was 42 years old and thought I was way too young. The peri-menopausal period can be as long as 10 years. People consider BHRT (bio-identical hormone replacement therapy) for many reasons: to relieve symptoms, help to prevent memory loss, improve heart health, improve bone production, to improve their sexual health, to delay aging and aid growth and repair of all tissues. My gynecological oncologist asked me why I would need hormones since I didn’t have breasts, ovaries or a uterus. I told him, “For my bone health, my heart health and my brain health. There’s more to me than breasts, ovaries and uterus.” Can you believe him?! However, it is a very personal decision without a clear cut “right” answer. Each person needs to make their own choices for their health.
The difference between synthetic and bio-identical hormones is not as straight forward as one might expect. The human body makes 3 estrogens: estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Bio-identical means that the molecule is exactly the same molecule that the human body makes, will fit into the receptor perfectly, comes off of the receptor and gets metabolized the way the body was designed. Most bio-identicals start from yams. Synthetics typically come from pregnant mare(horse) urine. Where we ever got the idea that we could put animal hormone in humans without complications is beyond me. Many scientific articles combine bio-identicals and synthetics into the same study or deliver them in a manner known to create complications. The news media or general population will take that headline and run with it. Physicians are busy and don’t do a good job of getting into the guts of our own literature. It takes time and interest to tease out these details. The knee jerk reaction is to just say that all hormones are bad, but if hormones create so many problems and cancer, then our 17-25 year olds would have the highest rate of cancers and health problems. Clearly, that is not the case. It is more complicated than that. I have been surprised at how many providers from different disciplines are prescribing hormones without the appropriate training or monitoring. The appropriate way to monitor sex hormones is by saliva. Serum monitoring of sex hormones is useless, in my opinion. Urine testing is important if I’m trying to see how an individual metabolizes their hormones and if that is creating a cancer risk. My preference is to underdose people knowing that I take the risk that they are underwhelmed with my services. By relying on serum testing, it is possible to overdose the client without it showing up in the serum testing. Salivary testing tells me what is happening at the tissue level. I start my doses low and increase as we need. I have several clients that are still underdosed based on the labwork, but they feel great. I leave them alone. I treat people, not paperwork. I’ve tried to keep this short and readable, but there are textbooks and full conferences devoted to menopause.
If you are tired, struggling with the weight, insomnia, can’t shake the depression, just don’t feel like yourself anymore, no libido, then you may want to consider BHRT. Please stop in our office to purchase the ZRT salivary testing kit. When we have results, my office will call you to set up an appointment. I recognize that this is an investment, but I do not like to waste your time or your money. I would prefer to have our first appointment when I have the information that I need to create an action plan with you. If you prefer to pay me to have an appointment so that I can tell you that I am going to want a ZRT report before I can write prescriptions at our second appointment, that’s fine too, but I’m frugal. I already know that I want the ZRT and traditional bloodwork. I run a more extensive panel than most physicians, but I am willing to look at any current labs that you have or we can draw new ones. As women, we tend to take care of everyone else and put ourselves on the back burner until “someday”. That can only go on for so long. Isn’t it about time that you started feeling good again?
For more information on menopause and your treatment options or to schedule an appointment, contact our office at (480) 418-3678.