For every woman, knowing what to expect when it comes to her body is vital, especially when going through the transitions of menopause. Collaborating with your doctor and a pharmacist like Belmar Pharmacy can help you better understand your body’s unique chemistry and how hormonal changes throughout menopause may affect you physically and emotionally. Our hope is that by learning more about menopause, perimenopause, and post-menopause, you come to know that no matter what your experience is, you’re not alone.
Understanding the Impact of Hormonal Changes
Hormone levels naturally begin to decrease and ovaries stop releasing eggs as women age. Typically, estrogen and progesterone levels start to drop between the ages of 40 and 55, but everyone’s body is different. For some women, perimenopause may start in their 30’s. Testosterone levels gradually begin to decline after the age of 30.
Understanding what may happen when hormone levels fluctuate or decline can help you separate fact from fiction and empower you to find a specialized hormone treatment that works for you. Compounding pharmacists like Belmar Pharmacy can be a resource by enabling you, with the help of your health care provider, to use customized medications that are designed to meet your body’s individualized needs. While there’s no doubt that the effects of hormone deficiencies can be challenging, it is possible to feel amazing at every step of your menopause journey.
Types of Hormones and How They Can Affect Your Body
The most commonly known hormone in women is estrogen, which is usually at its highest levels during your reproductive years. Estrogen stimulates the growth of breast tissue, maintains vaginal elasticity and lubrication, and promotes many other functions of the body, including bone preservation.
Estrogen deficiency can lead to hot flashes, night sweats, heart palpitations, vaginal dryness, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and bone loss. Although estrogen levels may start to decline throughout perimenopause, they can also fluctuate significantly during this phase.
If you experience early menopause or lose normal function of your ovaries before age 40, hormonal replacement therapy that includes estrogen can possibly reduce your risk for certain health problems such as heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, mood changes, and dementia.
Progesterone plays a part in preparing the lining of the uterus for a fertilized egg and sustaining early pregnancy. Progesterone production stops after your final menstrual period in menopause. A shortage of progesterone can result in periods becoming heavier, more irregular and longer during perimenopause.
Although commonly associated with men, testosterone plays a key role in estrogen production in women and also helps maintain sex drive, bone health, and cognitive function. Testosterone levels usually decrease slowly with age and may lead to lower libido and decreased bone density and muscle mass in women. Belmar Pharma Solutions offers hormone pellet therapy, which may help with treating low testosterone and other hormonal imbalances.
Other Terms You Need To Know
Perimenopause – This stage usually occurs several years before menopause as estrogen levels slowly start to decline. It often starts in a woman’s late 30s to early 40s, although it may affect women in their mid-30s. The average length of perimenopause is four years, but for some women, it may last only a few months or up to 10 years.
Menopause – This phase of life happens when your ovaries stop releasing eggs and your menstrual periods end. Symptoms of menopause last an average of 4 ½ years, but many health care providers advise women to expect symptoms for seven years.
Postmenopause – In this phase, your reproductive abilities come to an end and you can no longer become pregnant. Menopausal symptoms usually lessen significantly post-menopause, but depleted estrogen levels can put women at a higher risk for developing conditions such as stroke or heart disease.
Hot Flashes – This sudden sensation of heat and flushing in the upper body and face can also cause rapid heartbeat and anxiety. They’re usually caused by hormonal imbalances throughout all stages of menopause. Night sweats are hot flashes you have while sleeping, which make you sweat and then feel chilly afterward. HRT and Bioidentical HRT can help with hot flashes and night sweats, but it’s important to keep in mind that night sweats can be an indication of other health conditions as well. See your doctor and determine the cause of your hot flashes before starting any hormone balance therapy.
HRT – Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Estrogen-based HRT medications can be delivered in various forms, such as pills, patches, topicals, and vaginal creams, rings, or tablets. Combination therapy usually includes estrogen and progestin, which is a synthetic form of progesterone. HRT is not right for everyone; some women respond well while others continue searching for solutions that will meet their unique needs which may include natural hormone therapy.
BHRT – Bioidentical hormones are derived from plant estrogens that have the same molecular structure as the hormones the body produces. According to the doctor’s prescription, Belmar Pharma Solutions can create quality compounded (customized) bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for women going through menopause. When it comes to finding relief from symptoms, compounded BHRT gives doctors and patients more flexibility. The collaboration between you, your doctor and a compounding pharmacy like Belmar Pharma is powerful and can help you feel truly supported during a time in your life that can possibly be confusing and stressful.
Thyroid – The thyroid gland is a small organ found in the front of the neck above the collarbone. Its basic job is to manufacture thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism.
- Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid no longer produces enough hormones. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue, mood swings, and forgetfulness are similar to symptoms reported during perimenopause and menopause. According to a research study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, treating thyroid disorders may help manage menopause symptoms.
- Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid gland overproduces hormones. Hyperthyroidism can also mimic some symptoms of the menopause transition, including heart palpitations, hot flashes, and insomnia.
- It’s critical to see your doctor to distinguish between symptoms of thyroid disorders and the stages of menopause. If you have a thyroid disorder, your health care provider can write a prescription for thyroid hormone therapy medication and a compounding pharmacist like Belmar Pharma Solutions can create a prescription that is made to meet your unique needs in order to treat your condition.
Belmar Pharma Solutions debunks the myths of menopause and is your trusted resource for personalized menopausal relief. It’s important to remember that menopause isn’t an illness but rather a phase of life that marks a new beginning. Working with your doctor to understand how hormones may affect you before, during, and after menopause can empower you to take the next positive steps on your wellness and healthcare journey.
Angela DeRosa, DO, MBA, CPE is the founder of the Hormonal Health Institute and serves as a paid consultant to Belmar Pharmacy. However, Dr. DeRosa is not an employee of Belmar Pharmacy and nothing herein should be construed as the promotion of Belmar’s compounded products over other hormone replacement therapies. Patients interested in hormone therapy are encouraged to speak to a medical professional about their medical options and before seeking treatment. Nothing herein should be construed as making a claim about the safety or effectiveness of compounded products, which includes compounded hormone pellet therapy. All information provided herein is based on Dr. DeRosa’s own clinical experience in her capacity as a board-certified internist.