Let’s face the truth: All women go through a menopausal transition phase in their lives, a phase governed by female hormone imbalance that naturally happens sometime before they reach middle age. The transition into menopause usually starts as heavier and more frequent menstruation. As menopause approaches, menstrual periods may only occur every two to three months. Finally, when menses stop, most women discover that their perimenopausal symptoms also cease. However, about 30 percent of women may experience disabling symptoms even after they go through menopause.
What are common hormone imbalance symptoms in perimenopause?
Hormone imbalance symptoms of the menopausal transition phase are often diverse and affect not only the female reproductive system, but also many other parts of the female anatomy. Here are the most common hormone imbalance symptoms:
- Skin dryness
- Neuropathies described as unusual sensations under the skin
- New facial hair growth
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Night sweats
- Hot flushes
- Muscle and joint pains
- Loss of muscle mass
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Decreased desire for intimate moments with partner such as sexual contact
What is the cause of these hormone imbalance symptoms?
To understand what happens during menopausal transition, it is important to understand what happens in the female body during the peak of the reproductive years. During the reproductive years, the level of estrogen rises and falls predictably depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle. Two special hormones, the follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, control these cyclic changes in the estrogen level. The follicle-stimulating hormone causes the egg-containing sacs within the ovary – the follicles – to produce estrogen. Sometime before the fertile period, the estrogen reaches a peak level and this event causes the brain to direct the pituitary gland to switch off the follicle-stimulating hormone and produce a luteinizing hormone surge which eventually stimulates the ovary to release an egg during the fertile period. The leftover follicle – that is, the sac that once contained the egg – produces progesterone in preparation for possible pregnancy. The rise of these two hormones, the estrogen and progesterone, causes the pituitary gland to stop producing the follicle-stimulating hormone and the luteinizing hormone. However, if pregnancy does not take place, the level of progesterone drops and menstrual period starts, causing a new cycle to begin again.
Women, in their late 30s, do not produce the ideal level of progesterone. The quality as well as the number of their follicles also diminish, which results in the decline in the amount of estrogen produced and fewer occasions of egg release from the follicles. However, estrogen does not always drop during this phase; its level can sometimes spike too high. In vain, the follicle-stimulating hormones try to keep the level of estrogen in tight reigns by prodding the ovaries to produce the right amount of estrogen.
With these dramatic hormonal events, perimenopausal symptoms resulting from female hormone imbalance happen.
Balancing hormones: the dilemma
In 1950s, the pharmaceutical company, Wyeth, made big waves in the hormone replacement therapy market when Premarin, a hormonal therapy medication used as a mood stabilizer and rejuvenating agent, became a sensation in medical journals and doctor’s offices. By the 1960’s, approximately 12 percent of the entire population of premenopausal women in the United States were using Premarin. Unfortunately, however, in 1975 two scientific studies revealed postmenopausal women taking synthetic estrogen had 14 times more risk of developing endometrial cancer compared to those who were not taking the hormone therapy. These studies caused the demand for synthetic estrogen therapy to drop.
The alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy:
Unlike conventional synthetic hormonal therapy used for balancing hormones in perimenopause, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) reduces the risk for dangerous biochemical reactions and other health issues commonly seen with the use of synthetic hormones. Bio-identical hormones are formulated to act like natural human hormones, thereby ensuring a much improved safety profile and maximum effectiveness.
I’m suffering with perimenopausal symptoms. What do I need to do?
Consult the medical professionals at InShape Apex. They can assess your current hormonal state with the aid of comprehensive testing and then formulate the best treatment option for you.
InShape Apex is a wellness, anti-aging, aesthetics, and weight loss clinic located in the Apex-Cary area of the Triangle, serving the greater Raleigh, NC area. The health professionals at InShape Apex take a mind-body, positive health approach to helping their patients gain better health and well-being using the most effective protocols and practices. Health and wellness coaching is central to their approach and the reason that their clients have such a positive experience and high success rates. They can be reached at 919-468-3900 or visit them at www.inshapeapex.com.