Menopause is defined as the time in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop making eggs and it has been 12 months since her last period. Usually this happens between 45 and 55 years of age, with the average age being 51.
Prior to the onset of menopause, women begin to have symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and loss of sex drive. These symptoms occur in varying degrees from mild to severe depending on the woman.
It is important to understand this is a normal process and does not need medical intervention. However, if a woman finds the symptoms bothersome there are effective treatments available.
If she is over 45, has not had a period in over 12 months, and has the symptoms of menopause, laboratory testing is not indicated to confirm the diagnosis. In the event she has had a hysterectomy and her uterus was removed but she still has her ovaries, it may be more difficult to determine. Since she will not have her periods, the symptoms listed above can help determine if she is menopausal. If there are questions, see your doctor for testing.
Hot flashes are the No. 1 complaint of women who are menopausal. A hot flash is an sudden onset of heat in the upper chest and face that spreads through the body and lasts two to four minutes. It can happen once a day or once an hour.
Hot flashes are called night sweats if they happen at night and this can be very disruptive to sleep patterns causing increased fatigue, irritability and mood swings.
Although menopause is a normal transition in life, many women are unable to handle the symptoms and require treatment. Treatments to these symptoms can be as simple as over-the-counter medication. It is necessary to see a physician for patches, creams, gels and more invasive treatment with hormone pellets. There is no single approach to treatment for all women.
New options such as bio-identical hormones are now available and provide hormone replacement that exactly matches the hormones made by the body. Contact your doctor to see if this option is right for you.
There are several advantages of hormone pellet therapy over other treatments used to correct hormonal imbalances.
The pellets are inserted once every three months as opposed to synthetic hormone replacement therapies that requires daily oral pill or topical cream application.
Most patients have relief of hot flashes within 24 hours. However, the most beneficial noticeable effects are noted in less than two weeks.
Effects from pellet therapy usually include an increase in energy level, enhanced feeling of well-being, and an increase in libido (or sexual drive).
Pellets are bio-identical hormones. In other words, they are the same identical hormones produced by your genital organs (ovaries).
Pellet therapy has also been shown to provide faster relief from menopausal headaches, hot flashes and anxiety.
Dr. Dawnmarie Riley operates Namaste OB/GYN. She can be reached by calling 815-8800.