Menopause & Hormones
What is menopause?
Menopause is the permanent loss of ovarian activity causing cessation of menstrual period for 1 year. In North America, the median age of menopause is 51 years. Most women begin to undergo the physiologic changes associated with menopause in the years preceding the final menstrual period called perimenopause.
The menopausal transition is marked by physiologic changes and clinical symptoms such as vasomotor (hot flushes) and vaginal symptoms.
The sudden sensation of extreme heat in the upper body, particularly the face, neck, and chest, is referred to as a hot flush lasting 1–5 minutes. This may be experienced as perspiration, flushing, chills, clamminess, anxiety, and, on occasion, heart palpitations, which can interfere with sleep.
Additional Information about HRT
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is not for everyone. You should not use HRT if you
Think that you are pregnant
Have problems with vaginal bleeding
Have had certain kinds of cancers
Have had a stroke or heart attack
Have had blood clots
Have liver disease
There are different types of HRT. Some have only one hormone, while others have two. Most are pills that you take every day, but there are also skin patches, vaginal creams, gels, and rings.
Taking HRT has some risks. For some women, hormone therapy may increase their chances of getting blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and gallbladder disease.
Certain types of HRT have a higher risk, and each woman’s own risks can vary, depending upon her medical history and lifestyle. You and your health care provider need to discuss the risks and benefits for you. If you do decide to take HRT, it should be the lowest dose that helps and for the shortest time needed.
You should check if you still need to take HRT every 3-6 months.
Some women use non-hormonal medicines for their menopause symptoms. FDA approved a non-hormonal treatment for moderate to severe hot flashes associated with menopause. FDA also approved a medicine to treat moderate to severe dyspareunia (pain with sexual activity) due to vaginal changes that occur with menopause.
Dietary Supplements, Herbs, and Other “Natural” Products – Things that Don’t Require a Prescription
Other women may decide to use products marketed as dietary supplements or over-the-counter “natural” hormone creams to help them deal with their menopausal symptoms. These products may also have health risks . Don’t get scammed by products making false claims about miracle cures for weight gain, hair loss, wrinkles or other problems that happen during or after menopause. Get the facts.