If you’re a woman nearing menopausal age, there is likely one question at the forefront of your mind.
What exactly should I expect?
And if you’re already going through menopause, you’re probably wondering:
When will my symptoms go away?
The truth is that the change is personal and may be different for each person. Let’s take a quick poll.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced this:
- Hot flashes that make you feel like you’re on fire
- Insomnia that seems impossible to shake no matter how many sheep you count
- Night sweats that make you feel like your bedroom is a sauna
Chances are you may have experienced all, some, or even none of these symptoms — which proves our point that menopause symptoms aren’t one size fits all.
Trying to find your way through the winding road of menopause can be hard and frustrating. Your body will go through many changes, and as the phases of menopause progress, managing the symptoms will need to evolve as well.
We are here for you — to be your menopausal GPS so we can help you navigate the everydayness of this new adventure and show you what’s available to make your road traveled a little less bumpy.
The Stages of Menopause
Menopause marks the end of female reproduction and includes three phrases:
- Perimenopause – Perimenopause is the period leading up to full menopause, as the ovaries gradually reduce estrogen production. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, although it might begin as early as her 30s. The average duration for perimenopause is four years, but it can vary from a few months to as long as 10 years!
- Menopause – The natural change that occurs in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods end, usually in her late 40s to early 50s, is known as menopause. The ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and are now producing less hormones[VL2] \
- Postmenopause – This stage occurs after you’ve been without a period for a year. Menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes, become less severe or go away during this phase.
As you can see, there may be several years between each stage, or it could happen very quickly — it all depends on your body and genetics!
Understanding Your Symptoms
As you get closer to menopause, your hormones will begin to fluctuate, which may lead to the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes – These can be a sudden, intense warmth that spreads up your chest and neck and into the face. You may also feel flushed or sweat profusely. Hot flashes are often accompanied by night sweats.
- Night sweats – Waking up in the middle of the night drenched with sweat is common during premenopause, perimenopause and menopause.
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping – As menopause takes hold, you might find it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. You may experience more hot flashes in the evening, which can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep.
- Emotional changes – This may include anger, anxiety, depression, irritability and lack of motivation.
When To See a Doctor
It’s important to consult with a doctor[VL3] if you think menopause is happening to you or you have been experiencing symptoms. You can get a blood test that will help determine whether menopause has begun in your body. Because hormone levels widely fluctuate during this period, these tests should be done a few times a year.
The first step in diagnosing menopause is having a conversation with your doctor about your menstrual cycle. If you’ve gone an entire year without a period, they can perform the necessary tests to determine why.
The Benefits of BHRT
To help relieve some of the menopausal symptoms you may be experiencing, your doctor may prescribe BHRT, which uses “bioidentical hormones” to supplement the body’s natural supply when hormone levels are low or imbalanced[VL4] . Studies show that hormone replacement therapy is highly beneficial when given to symptomatic women within five to 10 years of menopause.
BHRT may help:
- Lessen hot flashes and night sweats
- Improve sleep
- Stabilize your mood
- Improve anxiety and depression
- And more
Your needs may change as you progress through menopause, and it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing your BHRT plan. One size does not fit all! This is why it’s so important to see your doctor regularly so you both can catch changes as they happen and modify your BHRT plan as needed. And don’t hesitate to contact your doctor if you feel BHRT isn’t working because this partnership is important for your menopausal journey.
Your doctor’s prescription can be filled at compounding pharmacies[VL5] like Belmar Pharma Solutions, which can combine, remix or change a standard medication’s active ingredients and additives to customize it for your specific needs.
It’s important to remember hormone replacement therapy isn’t linear. There can be lots of twists and turns. But you don’t have to go through it alone. Your doctor can help you manage your menopausal symptoms and provide the best BHRT option for you. And remember, we’ve got your back with the latest and most accurate information so you can make the right decision.