The hormone estrogen, which is produced by the ovaries, begins to fluctuate in women between the ages of 30 to 40 years old. The fluctuation of hormones is normal in the aging process but excessive fluctuations cause hormonal disorders commonly referred to as menopause.
Before menopause (perimenopause) a common sign of fluctuating hormones is a change in periods. Periods may become shorter or longer than usual. The blood flow discharge may increase or decrease and regular monthly periods may begin to skip from time to time.
Although changes in menstrual bleeding is normal during perimenopause, abnormal bleeding of more than a pad an hour would be a concern and should be reported to your Rosemark provider.
Common signs and symptoms of menopause and perimenopause include the following:
Women naturally stop having menstrual periods when the ovaries stop making estrogen. Menopause is the end of reproductive years it generally occurs around age 51. Menopause is the time of life when menstrual periods naturally cease.
The estrogen produced in the ovaries before menopause protects against heart attacks and stroke. When less estrogen is made after menopause, women lose much of this natural protection. Risk factors in women increase in midlife for heart disease, such as high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and a less active lifestyle. These combined factors increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in menopausal women.
Hormone therapy can help relieve the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Hormone therapy means prescribing medication to replace the hormones estrogen and progestin. Progestin therapies reduce the risk of cancer of the uterus that occurs when estrogen is used alone. If a hysterectomy has been performed to remove the uterus, estrogen alone would be prescribed.
Estrogen can be given in several forms: pills, skin patches, gels and sprays. If progestin is prescribed, it can be given separately or combined with estrogen in the same pill or patch. This systemic therapy allows the estrogen to be released into the bloodstream and travels to the organs and tissues where it is needed.
Women who only have vaginal dryness may be prescribed estrogen therapy in the form of a vaginal ring, tablet, or cream that may be applied in the vagina or on the vaginal tissue. These forms of therapy release small amounts of estrogen into the vaginal tissue to help with vaginal dryness.
MonaLisa Touch laser procedure is a non-invasive laser treatment used to relieve the symptoms of women who suffer from vaginal dryness. The MonaLisa Touch laser treatment is a safe and effective non-hormonal therapy that delivers gentle laser energy to the vaginal wall to stimulate healing and enhance vaginal health.
Hormone therapy may increase the risk of certain types of cancer and other conditions. For example:
As women age and begin to experience perimenopause or menopausal symptoms, the hormones estrogen and progestin may cause a variety of symptoms. Hormone replacement therapies are available but they do come with some side effects.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle it can help women stay healthy after menopause. Healthy lifestyles include:
Visit your Rosemark health care provider once a year to have regular wellness exams and tests. Routine health care visits like dental checkups and eye exams are important, too.