The winter months’ colder temperatures may come as a relief if you’re experiencing perimenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. Luckily there are treatment options available year-round so that you don’t have to depend on the weather to relieve your symptoms.
Many women don’t fully understand menopause or that if they are experiencing strong reactions and symptoms, they don’t have to simply endure. Menopause can begin in a woman’s 40s or 50s, but the average age for women in the United States is 51, according to the Mayo Clinic. Throughout the different phases of the menopause process, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can make your experience more bearable and offer symptom relief.
Combating Holiday Stress
Menopause symptoms can bring on unnecessary stress to this joyous but hectic time of year. According to a study from University College London, “Stress is well-documented to worsen menopause symptoms.” Here are some tips from the North American Menopause Society on what you can do to help keep your menopause symptoms at bay this holiday season:
- Exercise: Physical activity reduces stress and enhances your sense of well-being. It’s one of the best things you can do to help clear your mind and relax. Plus, during the holidays, many yoga studios and fitness centers offer great deals on classes.
- Pamper Yourself: You deserve a little relaxing treat such as a massage, manicure or pedicure. It’s a great way to step away from the hustle and bustle and focus on yourself.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: It’s so easy for a healthy diet to get off track during the holidays. Try to practice the 80/20 rule — eat 80% healthy and allow 20% for some indulgences. Also, try using smaller plates.
- Sleep: Getting adequate sleep is so important at any time of your life but especially during the holidays. If you are well-rested, you are less likely to feel the need to fill up on caffeine and sugary treats.
- Dress in Layers: When a hot flash hits, you can easily cool down by removing a sweater or jacket during your holiday event.
- Keep a Cool Drink Nearby: It never hurts to be prepared by having a cool drink of water or sparkling juice close by when a hot flash occurs.
- Laugh: Take time to enjoy events and to laugh and smile with friends and family. A good laugh can instantly reduce stress and make you feel better.
- Take Deep Breaths: When stress is at its highest, stop and take a deep breath. This will help you focus and reduce stress.
Phases and Symptoms of Menopause
There are three phases of menopause, referred to as perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause, which mark significant transitional points in a woman’s life and overall health. In short, menopause is the result of a decrease in female hormones, particularly estrogen.
Perimenopause or premenopause is the beginning stage of menopause. This phase can actually last quite a while — up to 10 years. This first stage typically starts when women are in their 40s, but it can show up as early as their mid-30s. It usually lasts about four years, but can be as long as 10 years for some women. Perimenopause officially comes to an end when a woman experiences a consecutive 12 months without her period.
The menopause stage begins when a woman stops having monthly periods and is no longer able to get pregnant. Women are considered menopausal after they’ve gone a full year without a period or their period has stopped permanently as a result of medical treatment. At this stage, their ovaries no longer release eggs and they can’t get pregnant.
Postmenopause, or after-menopause, begins the years of a woman’s life after menopause occurs. Once a woman has experienced menopause, this final phase lasts the rest of her life.
Because of these decreased hormones, menopause is often accompanied by a host of physical, emotional and sexual health conditions. The symptoms experienced during each phase of menopause can vary through the transition — or for some, they may stay the same the entire time. Here are the symptoms at each phase, in the order a woman will likely experience them:
- Perimenopause: Common perimenopause symptoms include:
- Irregular periods (shorter, longer or uneven gaps between them) and/or more intense premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms
- Hot flashes, night sweats and difficulty sleeping
- Fatigue and mood changes
- Vaginal and bladder changes, such as vaginal dryness or urine leakage
- Breast tenderness
- Decreased interest in sex
- Menopause: In addition to the perimenopause symptoms, some women may experience:
- Occasional racing heartbeat
- Weight gain
- “Brain fog” or difficulty concentrating, a symptom that usually passes over time
- Hair thinning or loss
- Unexplained joint and muscle aches
- Postmenopause: Symptoms in this stage do not differ from menopausal symptoms, but some women may experience symptoms of menopause for a number of years.
Following menopause, this hormonal change causes women to face a higher risk of coronary disease and higher cholesterol levels, as well as the risk of loss of bone mass that can lead to osteoporosis.
There is a range of lifestyle adjustments — including maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly — that you can implement to support your hormone health and supplement the benefits of BHRT. Women’s health specialist Lynn Pattimakiel, MD, recommends a few diet shifts that can help you even out your symptoms, including the following:
- Eat foods rich in Calcium to keep your bones healthy and strong (skim milk, cow’s milk, soy milk, yogurt, low-fat cheeses.)
- Up your vegetable intake, especially leafy greens (cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, kale)
- Choose lean options for your protein intake (grilled chicken, tuna, turkey, tofu, lentils, beans)
- Soy can help with hot flashes and night sweats (soybeans, tofu, soy flour, soy milk)
- Avoid or have in moderation (spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, starchy foods)
Menopause treatments focus on relieving your menopausal symptoms and helping to prevent or manage chronic conditions that may occur with aging.
What is BHRT for Menopause
KC Wellness Center uses customized bioidentical hormone treatments for women who have entered menopause or who are postmenopausal. This therapy is different from synthetic hormone treatments because it’s made from natural components, using the same hormones that were in your body but have decreased through aging and the onset of menopause. Since this treatment is comprised of the identical chemical and molecular structure that your body naturally produced, it has numerous benefits over synthetic hormones.
How Does BHRT Help the Symptoms of Menopause?
Although your body is no longer producing some hormones, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for menopause will re-introduce the hormones safely and effectively. Unlike women who take synthetic hormones, patients using this treatment experience few side effects. Your symptoms will likely begin to disappear soon after you begin your customized treatment. Once your original hormone levels have been restored, you’ll begin to look and feel more like you did years—even decades—earlier. Some of the risks associated with menopause and postmenopause will begin to reverse themselves.
Who Can Use BHRT?
Any woman who experiences symptoms relating to hormonal imbalance is a candidate for BHRT. Women who are perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal are most likely to suffer from hormone imbalances. During the perimenopausal years, the hormones in your body will begin to fluctuate. After you enter menopause, your estrogen levels have dropped sharply and progesterone levels are nearly non-existent, creating a serious imbalance between these two hormones.
What is the Benefit of BHRT for Women?
BHRT can reverse many of the symptoms of menopause by restoring your hormone levels to their original levels.
Your First Visit for Bioidentical Hormone Treatment for Menopause
When you visit KC Medical & Wellness Center, we will set aside time to talk to you about your overall health, including your health history, and the changes you’ve experienced with the onset of menopause. Then, we will give you a comprehensive medical exam and blood tests that will help us determine your customized plan. This plan is designed just for your body and may include various levels of natural estrogen and progesterone. After your treatment begins, we will ask you to return to our center for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly follow-up appointments.
Consult KC Wellness
When it comes to complete wellness, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is a personal matter requiring an individualized plan to fit your needs and lifestyle. But for many people, without guidance and support from outside resources, successfully meeting your wellness and weight-loss goals can be a challenging process. At KC Wellness, we have a holistic approach. We help you stay on course to follow a realistic and consistent eating pattern, take any vitamins in which you may be deficient and get regular physical activity. We focus on lifestyle changes that encourage safe and sustainable results.
If you are ready to see how regenerative medicine options can improve your health and well-being, then KC Wellness may be precisely what you are looking for. Our doctors and staff are always available to answer any questions and provide guidance along the way to help you succeed. You can also check out our BHRT services for menopause to learn more about what we do. Reach out to our team today to see how we can help you in your health and wellness journey. Call us at 816-214-5276 or contact us here. There’s no reason to wait — let us help you feel your very best every day.
BHRT for men can be found HERE.
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