Menopause is a natural condition that develops when you reach the time of your life that you no longer have menstrual periods. Your ovaries will no longer produce estrogen, a hormone that governs your menstrual cycle. This time of life is the end of your reproductive years. Women normally pass through menopause at the average age of 51 years. Fortunately, many of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause can be alleviated through hormone replacement therapy.
Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause. Your estrogen levels in your ovaries will begin to fluctuate in your 30s and 40s. Changes in your menstrual cycle are a typical symptom of perimenopause. You may experience longer or shorter cycles at this time or skip periods altogether. You may experience changes in menstrual bleeding, and your amount of flow may be heavier or lighter than you normally experience.
Some women are lucky and experience no symptoms whatsoever of perimenopause or only have fairly mild signs. Others have severe symptoms like hot flashes that can last for several minutes or longer. They can occur a few times a month or multiple times daily. Night sweats may interfere with your sleep and make you feel sluggish and tired at day time. You may also experience urinary tract changes and vaginal changes that lead to a thinning of the vaginal lining and less elasticity. Pain during intercourse and vaginal infections are also symptoms of perimenopause.
It is normal to experience some bone loss after your mid-30s for both sexes. However, the first few years after menopause can lead to a more rapid level of bone loss among women. This is due to decreased estrogen levels and can lead to the development of osteoporosis. Your risk of having a bone fracture are increased with osteoporosis. Bones found in the hip, spine, and wrist are commonly affected.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Many of the symptoms of these conditions can be relieved through hormone replacement therapy. This does involve taking estrogen and a hormone called progestin if you still have a uterus and have never undergone a hysterectomy.
What Benefits Are Derived from Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Estrogen replacement therapy has been found to be the ideal treatment for relieving night sweats and hot flashes. Vaginal dryness can be relieved by local and systemic forms of estrogen therapy. Systemic estrogen can help prevent menopause-related bone loss and spinal and hip fractures.