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What I’m in menopause?

Irene Hogan-Menopause Expert

What Are the Symptoms of the Menopause?

Menopause, although not a disease is a stage in your life that can be hot and heavy or barely cause a ripple.Not every woman suffers the same signs or symptoms at the same level of intensity. Menopause occurs after one complete year without menstruation. What we actually refer to as menopause signs often are the effects and symptoms of going through that year and beyond.In fact many women experience changes that they aren’t aware of even 10 years before the final day. Here is a list of some major symptoms of menopause.

  • Psychological Changes

Your  brain chemistry and mental state undergo several changes during menopause, such as memory lapses, regular crying fits, mood swings and irritability. Disturbing symptoms of menopause that can mentally affect women include depression, anxiety,  difficulty while concentrating, dizziness and confusion. Added to all of that your sex drive of may also decrease.

  • Physical Changes

Some of the prominent physical changes that a menopausal woman may experience are cold and hot flashes, night sweats irregular periods and irregular heartbeats. Moreover, you may have pains and aches in your joints, gastrointestinal issues, bloating and muscle tension. You may also suffer from changes in body odor, weight gain, breast tenderness and a lack of vaginal lubrication.

Many  women can have electric shocks to the skin, increased facial hair, hair loss, itchy skin and even incontinence. Allergies and headaches can increase, and the start of other health problem, for example, osteoporosis, and diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition to the above mentioned changes, some women may also experience tingling in their feet and hands, brittle or softer fingernails, gum issues and a bad taste in their mouths, ringing in the ears and tinnitus.the list is, insomnia endless.Due to the lack of sleep and night sweats you may also find yourself over tired and fatigued.

  • What is the Average Age for Menopause?

According to several researches, the average age of menopause is 51. Generally, the symptoms of menopause manifest in women who are in between the ages of 45 to 55, with a few suffering symptoms in their late 30s.

As a general guide to know when you should expect and experience these changes in your life, you need to have a look at the age of your mother when she started suffering the symptoms of menopause. Typically, when it comes to menopause, daughters closely follow in line with their mother.

So if all that sounds like your life is going to hell in a hand basket there is a light at the end of the tunnel.Working with an expert in menopause will help you tailor a plan individualized for you.I have worked with many women over the years.With a program that takes into account your own risks and family history a plan can be developed.i work with you on lifestyles stress reduction the appropriate supplements and herbal remedies.

Don’t put your life on hold or buy into all the myths and negative stories propagated by the media.Menopause is not the end of life as you know it. It can be the beginning of a new journey, freedom,opportunities.

Menopause you’re in it for life, live it well.

Is it Menopause?

Are you experiencing problems with insomnia, changes in mood, irritability,decreased sexual libido, hot flashes or night sweats that interfere with sleep  or daily functioning? Are there memory or other cognitive problems? Are there palpitations,or anxiety, worsening of depression,or premenstrual symptoms? Are you suffering with vaginal dryness , urinary incontinence or increased urinary tract infections? Do you have increased joint pain?

All of these can be signs of declining hormones.

Although menopause is not officially diagnosed till you have not had a period for one full year,these symptoms may happen up to ten years prior and this is referred to as the “change’ or peri-menopause.

Knowing what to expect allows you to be prepared and learn about options to deal with these issues.

Bio identical hormones

This term refers to any hormone that exactly matches those made in the body naturally.Some people may think of theses as natural, however all hormones need to be synthesized in the lab, and all of them in Canada need a prescription for use. Most hormones bio-identical or synthetic as in birth control pills are made from yams or soy so they could be all considered natural source. Bio-identical hormones are estriol, progesterone, testosterone, estradiol, DHEA, cortisol, some are available commercially i.e. all forms of the estrogen patch, and micronized oral progesterone. They do not have to be compounded by a compounding pharmacy, however some such as testosterone for women,progesterone cream, and DHEA, are not available from a pharmaceutical company and need to be specifically made for a patient with a physician’s prescription.

Compounding also allows for strengths and formats not available commercially, and for tailoring individual therapy.Hormones synthetic or otherwise may carry risks for certain patients, however bio identical hormones may have advantages over synthetic ones.

Hormone testing,saliva,blood,urine?What’s the best way to test, do you need to test?

This needs to be discussed with your practitioner. However if you are having symptoms related to hormonal imbalances it may be useful to get hormone levels, to assess which hormones need to be replaced.Testing may also be needed for dosing, monitoring of treatment, and  to avoid side effects.

Blood urine and saliva may all be appropriate in different patients, and the form of hormones used.

Blood tests measure the hormones carried in the blood that include free and bound hormones,this is not always correlated to levels of hormones available to the tissues.

Hormones measured could include estradiol, estrone, estriol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA-S-, cortisol, FSH, and LH.

Salivary testing is non invasive and may be more convenient especially for testing cortisol levels through the day but is not covered by OHIP.

For more information please feel free to contact me.