Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy

The modern health industry is a truly vast and diverse one, and a particular area of interest is womens health. This field concerns itself with the health needs of women, often their hormone levels and reproductive heath, and most American women have a gynecologist whom they consult regularly. As a woman gets older, meanwhile, her hormone levels and reproductive health will begin to change, and women who begin the first stages of menopause may not like what they experience. Often, women who begin the first stages of menopause will consult their doctor and then visit an anti aging clinic for hormone replacement therapy and other menopause solutions. What is there to know about the first stages of menopause (and later phases), and how medicine can alter a woman’s biology later in her life?

On Menopause

Menopause is widely misunderstood, and it may be noted that menopause itself is a 24 hour period when the woman’s body hormone change drastically. There is more than one phase to this; the first stages of menopause will show the first signs of change, and after menopause itself, a woman will live in her postmenopausal life. It may also be noted that curiously, the average ages for menopause have changed very little even over the last few centuries, when a typical women’s life expectancy increased. Today, the mean age of menopause sits at 51, though in rare cases, a woman might undergo menopause as early as her 30s, or as late as her 60s. Overall, however, most women undergo this process from age 40 to 58, and nine in ten women will experience perimenopause before that.

As a woman gets older, the first stages of menopause will begin, and at first, her menstrual cycle might not be any different than before. She will experience other symptoms, though, such as hot flashes and night sweats, anxiety, insomnia, bloating, weight gain, mood swings and changes, and even aches and pains. If these symptoms become severe enough, the woman may seek out hormone replacement therapy (or HRT) at this early stage.

Later in perimenopause, the woman’s menstrual cycle is now very irregular, and those periods may become unusually light or heavy as well as unpredictable. Most menstrual cycles during this phase might also end up being longer or shorter than usual, as well as shorter bleeding time and changes in discharge. When a woman has gone 60 days without any period, then perimenopause is nearly over (though in rare cases, she is pregnant instead).

Finally, when the woman has gone a solid 12 months without her period, she has entered her postmenopausal phase, which will last for the remainder of her life. Her ovaries have stopped releasing egg cells, and lower estrogen levels may result in symptoms such as mood changes, urinary issues, night sweats, or even vaginal dryness. Risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer are higher at this time as well. What might a woman do about this, if she is suffering unpleasant experiences due to her hormone changes?

Hormone Replacement Therapy

While hormone replacement therapy is not suitable for every woman, and using HRT comes with some risks, it proves highly popular today. Many women report positive effects of such treatment, and any interested woman may consult her doctors to see if she is a good candidate for treatment. Earlier is better for this process, since after a point during menopause, HRT has no effect. Women in their early to mid 40s may consult their doctors, and if HRT will work well, they may visit an anti aging clinic and have their estrogen levels increased with injections. This may be done regularly.

Such hormone therapy may slow down and reverse many ill effects of menopause, though patients should note that these elevated levels of estrogen come with some risks. For example, higher estrogen levels boost the odds of getting breast cancer; therefore, any woman undergoing HRT should visit clinics regularly for checkups and screening, for safety’s sake. Meanwhile, supplements might also be an option for many women going through menopause, and a doctor can be consulted for that, too.