Bioidentical Hormones for Menopause and Perimenopause
Our Chicago Menopause Doctors goal is to provide patients with safe and effective Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy programs that enable patients to feel as good as they did during their 20’s and 30’s. Their comprehensive treatment plans include Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, nutritional counseling, dietary changes, fitness plans, and stress reduction techniques that all work together to help patients achieve optimal levels of health and wellness.
Why consider BHRT for Menopause and Perimenopause?
Hormonal imbalances are the root of many chronic health problems and can increase your risk of serious disease. In women, the symptoms of deficient or imbalanced hormones often first appear with the onset of perimenopause or menopause, when estrogen, progesterone and testosterone production begins to diminish.
Even though all women go through menopause, many are surprised at how quickly it comes on and the severity of the symptoms. Thanks to perimenopause, you may start experiencing issues as early as your mid 30s. Then there’s menopause itself, which doesn’t technically occur until you have gone 12 full months without a menstrual period. Although there is considerable variation, 51 is the average age of menopause for American women.
As if that wasn’t enough, many women continue to feel miserable with post-menopausal symptoms. It’s no wonder that women everywhere are demanding a better, more natural treatment that helps them feel their best and feel younger than they have in years.
What are the Symptoms of Menopause and Perimenopause?
- Hot Flashes or Night Sweats
A very common symptom for women as they enter menopause, hot flashes can be experienced at any time of day or night. As estrogen levels decrease during menopause and perimenopause, surging waves of heat can cause flushed red skin, intense sweating, and discomfort.
Typically more intense than a hot flash, women experiencing night sweats usually show symptoms ranging from mild to severe with varied duration periods. Depending on the intensity, night sweats can be accompanied by chills, nausea, headaches or an irregular heartbeat; thus causing disruption in sleep patterns.
Defined as the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for a long enough time to feel rested and rejuvenated. Night sweats or other accompanied symptoms of menopause such as bizarre dreams, or incontinence can contribute to insomnia as well.
- Low Libido
A decrease in the desire to be sexually active, the drop in Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone levels are responsible for low energy and a decreased sex drive. Arousal and orgasm are still possible, yet the hormonal imbalance that occurs during the shift into menopause can cause the vaginal wall to become dry and irritated further exacerbating the lack of desire to be sexually active. The symptoms of low libido can have an emotional, psychological as well as a physical impact on women.
A common symptom related to the decrease in hormone levels which affect the quality of sleep; fatigue is a well known part of menopause . Estrogen is responsible for the REM sleep stage, during which rapid eye movement occurs. During this stage of sleep one gains the most restoration. As the levels of estrogen decrease, the time spent in REM or restorative sleep also decreases causing one to feel fatigued. Progesterone is another hormone that helps a woman feel sleepy and as Progesterone levels decrease so does the ability to fall asleep.
- Vaginal Dryness
Estrogen is the hormone that helps create an environment in the vagina that is moist and a vaginal wall that is thick and elastic. During menopause, the levels of estrogen decrease which causes a thinning of the vaginal walls resulting in less lubrication and elasticity. This can increase irritation, itching and pain resulting in a decreased desire to engage in intercourse.
A significant factor in relation to menopause, women who experience stronger symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome such as mood swings, food cravings, irritability, bloating, tender breasts and depression, typically have a more difficult time with menopause related symptoms.
- Mood Swings
The result of an intense imbalance of hormones greatly affecting the level of Serotonin in the brain which is responsible for the stability of emotions. Estrogen has a direct influence on the amount of Serotonin produced. Mood swings and depression can be experienced due to the decline in Estrogen levels that are responsible for the production of serotonin in the brain. It is a state of sadness, foggy thinking, fluctuation of appetite, loss of sleep and feelings that produce thoughts of suicide.
When endometrial tissue forms in places other than the uterus, such as surrounding the ovaries, the tissue hardens and causes cysts and blood stagnation resulting in premenstrual pain.
Abnormal growth of tissue after an injury surrounding an organ or smooth muscle. Characterized by a rubbery, thin mass that is a pale color, fibrosis inhibits normal function of the organ or body system it is attached to. In the uterus, it can cause sharp pelvic pain and profuse bleeding. Fibroids in the uterus develop due to the amount of estrogen and progesterone that help prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy during a normal menstrual cycle. Most hysterectomies are given due to fibroids.
- Foggy Memory
A common symptom of menopause due to the shift in Estrogen levels, which are responsible for the stimulation of neurotransmitters in the brain. This Estrogen chemical helps cells communicate as well as increasing blood flow and dilating the blood vessels resulting in greater brain function. When this chemical is low, short-term memory loss can be experienced.
- Irregular Periods
Typically occurring around the age of 35 and common in the perimenopause stage of menopause where a woman’s body makes a transition from regular periods to the completion of ovulation entirely. This stage of transition can be characterized as a sputtering of the reproduction system as it nears the end of its flow.
- Hair Loss or Thinning
Looking at factors 3 months prior to hair loss will help you detect the cause. During menopause hair loss is caused by a sudden drop in Estrogen and can be exacerbated by increased stress and thyroid problems. Estrogen controls the levels of testosterone which is the hormone directly related to the hair loss.
- Difficulty Concentrating
Mental confusion, an absence of clear thinking, and the presence of disorganized thoughts can be from a combination of hormone related factors that compound upon one another, all of which can be traced to the change in hormone levels during menopause. Every symptom from night sweats to hot flashes, to depression and insomnia, all add to feeling less rested and more irritable. One can have a harder time concentrating on daily tasks when sleep cycles and hormones are out of balance.
- Dizziness, Light Headedness, Vertigo
Characterized by feeling unstable and having unclear visual focus and depth perception. Dizziness can feel like the room is spinning around you and is associated with loss of balance. The culprit behind these symptoms is hormonal changes that affect the blood vessels and nervous system during menopause.
- Weight Gain
The years leading up to menopause can be influential in weight gain around the belly due to a decrease in estrogen levels causing cortisol levels to rise. This transition period is called perimenopause. There are a number of related factors that contribute to increased abdominal fat and menopause is just one of them. Genetics, lifestyle, diet and level of fitness also determine one’s experience of weight gain during menopause and perimenopause. As one ages, if lean muscle mass isn’t maintained the body’s fat percentage will increase thus contributing to the hormonal changes during menopause.
A state of being worried, fearful, on edge, uneasy, worried, or a sense of urgency that is often out of proportion to the event that initiates the response. Estrogen levels can affect brain chemistry and are directly related to mood and emotions.
- Breast Pain
Tenderness, soreness, tightness and aching occur due to the drop in estrogen and progesterone during the transition from regular menstrual flow to menopause.
- Chronic Headaches
Directly related to fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone, chronic headaches can occur as a result of hormone related conditions during menopause and at any time of life. As the rollercoaster of hormones dips high and low, headaches can occur. It helps to be aware of the onset and duration of your headaches to know if they are hormone related. If your headaches come on under stress or after the use of sugar or caffeine, the adrenal glands may also need to be addressed. If you have never had headaches and they are starting all of a sudden, it is most likely due to hormonal changes. The thyroid gland is also looked to when symptoms of chronic migraines or head pain manifest.
- Aching Muscles, Tendons and Joints
Estrogen can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the joints. During menopause the estrogen levels drop which can result in greater inflammation in the muscles, tendons and joints.
- Itchy, Crawly Skin
Occurs during menopause and is due to the decreased levels of estrogen, which are responsible for the production of collagen providing strength, elasticity and moisture in the skin. Pin pricks are described as one of the sensations of this menopause related condition. Avoiding hot showers and baths is advised to avoid further drying of the skin. Drinking plenty of water and eating nuts and eggs as well as using a natural moisturizer can help alleviate this symptom.
- Tingling Extremities
The fluctuating levels of hormones disrupts the nervous system and can cause tingling due to the vasodilatation of the arteries. When the areas close to joints pinch upon the veins and nerves due to increased muscle tension, it can inhibit circulation and cause a tingling of the extremities.
Common in women during menopause due to the decrease in estrogen, proper bone density relies on balanced estrogen levels. Symptoms include bone pain and tenderness, fractures, neck and back pain, tooth loss, brittle fingernails and spinal deformities. Estrogen helps prevent bone deterioration and aids in the absorption of calcium allowing bone density to continually replenish itself. To promote bone density, is it best to do weight bearing exercises, limit alcohol intake, and eat a diet rich in calcium.
- Heavy Bleeding
Caused by the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone as well as the formation of fibroids, heavy bleeding does not affect all women, but it can be debilitating to those it does.
- Abnormal Food Cravings
When ovulation stops, the balance of estrogen and progesterone is interrupted. No progesterone is released and the levels of estrogen cause increased blood pressure and low blood sugar. Low blood sugar causes the desire for sweets and carbohydrates in attempt to balance the blood sugar. Chocolate is a usual craving to self medicate the hormone imbalance. Normally progesterone uses body fat for energy, when progesterone production slows in the body, fat more readily accumulates.
Chicago Menopause Specialists in the Chicago Illinois area uses only natural bioidentical hormones, which are an identical match to the body’s natural chemistry. They provide natural female hormone replacement treatment plans that support women suffering the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause due to aging, adrenal fatigue, or thyroid disorders by using bioidentical hormone therapy.
The good news is that hormone losses and imbalances are correctable. Through the use of bioidentical hormones, women can not only be relieved of the symptoms, but also effectively protect themselves against osteoporosis and heart disease.