Are you hot even though it’s cold?
By: Teresa Richter, ND
It’s cold outside, yet, here you are in a tank top with the window open, sweating, sleeping fitfully, waking up drenched in sweat, only to start to shiver while having to get up to change your bed clothes. Or maybe, you are in a meeting at work and your face turns red and you suddenly start noticeable profusely sweating while having massive brain fog and difficulty concentrating. Do these situations sound familiar?
These are signs you could be in menopause. Menopause is the pausing of menstruation, the absence of a period for at least 12 months or more. During this time, the ovary stops producing eggs, and ceases ovulation. With the change also come hormonal changes. These hormonal changes cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms of menopause include:
Loss of libido
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Not only are many of the symptoms very uncomfortable, the drop in estrogen levels have increased health risks. Post-menopausal women are at much higher risk of osteoporosis due to the lack of estrogen.
Menopause is inevitable and a process of aging. Most women experience menopause somewhere between ages 45-55, however for some It can come earlier or later. Many women will experience a period of “peri”menopause preceding menopause that also has accompanying menopause like symptoms. Peri-menopausal women can also experience many changes to their periods such as erratic periods, heavier or lighter periods, skipping periods, more than one period in a month, and spotting in addition to menopausal symptoms. Sometimes peri-menopause can last for many years before full menopause occurs.
There are many treatment options available and every women is different with what will be best suited. Diet and lifestyle changes can often have many positive benefits to symptoms and health. There are supplements such as vitamin E, and herbs containing phytoestrogens, or progesterogenic compounds that are often very successful for some women at maintaining symptoms. For other women, these treatment options will not be enough and some will need some sort of hormone replacement therapy to control symptoms and make life manageable.
Hormone replacement options range from synthetic hormones such as estrogen patches, rings, tablets, to compounded bio-identical hormones like Biest. Both can be very effective at maintaining menopausal symptoms, however, synthetic hormones generally carry more risk than the compounded bio-identical hormones. No hormone options are completely without risk factors. These estrogen options will work beautifully by themselves if you do not have a uterus. If you do have a uterus, you will want to add some sort of progesterone to help balance the estrogen as unopposed estrogen can lead to endometrial hyperplasia of the uterus and increased risk for cancer. Balancing with progesterone will minimize these risks greatly. Not to mention, progesterone has many other great health benefits including calming, increasing deep sleep, and lowering anxiety in addition to balancing symptoms of estrogen.
If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause or peri-menopause, you don’t have to suffer. Talk to Dr. Richter or Dr. McManus about treatment options to find what may be best for you.