Bioidentical Hormones for Perimenopause and Menopause
At the Immanuel Clinic, Dr. Baker offers individualized and comprehensive bioidentical hormone replacement therapy as the preferred option for re-establishing the body’s optimal hormonal equilibrium. For every woman, hormone production begins to shift with age. For some women, hormone production may change as early as their 20′s; however, usually in their early to mid-30’s and continuing through the 40′s to 60′s and beyond, hormones steadily decline. Those women who have had a partial or full hysterectomy, or who have undergone ablation, will often have unique hormonal issues that need their own special assessment and therapy; however, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can still help with imbalances.
Some fortunate ladies have had an uneventful hormone history, and they are able to skate through the whole process of hormonal changes with minimal symptoms. Other women have gone through ‘hormone hell’, and they may have had significant hormone deficit symptoms for years or decades after their periods stop. However, most women are somewhere in between experiencing zero to severe symptoms. Dr. Baker has been offering assessment and individualized therapy for every version of these stories and situations for over 20 years.
Perimenopause is the time in a woman’s life that occurs before menopause, and it may last from 4 to 6 years. Perimenopause comes with its own set of symptoms, and during perimenopause, ovarian hormone levels are dropping well before formal menopause. Women that have had a partial hysterectomy may also experience the same symptoms as a woman going through perimenopause.
Common symptoms of perimenopause related to hormone imbalances can include:
Water metabolism may become an issue during hormonal imbalances experienced with perimenopause.
Increased PMS Symptoms
More cramping, moods, or headaches may be experienced with hormone decline.
Breast tenderness, changes in breast sensitivity, or a worsening of fibrocystic changes may all occur due to hormonal disharmony.
Mood Swings or Emotional Changes
- Severe depression, even to the point of including thoughts of suicide, may occur due to hormonal decline.
- Anxiety and an increased sense of apprehension and panic may be experienced. Other symptoms may include a fast or irregular heart beat.
- Fear of ‘losing control’ can sometimes lead to a desire to withdraw socially.
- Angry outbursts that can evolve into violence may happen due to hormonal imbalances.
- Suspicion with undue cause or being hypersensitive to other’s actions or comments may occur.
- Sadness or crying without an obvious reason or out of proportion to circumstances may occur with hormonal deficiencies.
- Increased irritability with minimal to no provocation can occur during perimenopause.
Tingling in the Extremities
Tingling or electric shock sensations may be felt in the limbs with hormonal imbalances.
Intense headaches or migraines, particularly just before or at the onset of the menstrual cycle may occur.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Increased irregularity of the menstrual cycle may happen during the mid to late stages of perimenopause.
Worsening of uterine fibroids or fibrocystic breast changes may occur due to an estrogen imbalance. Breasts may also be more tender or sore during the menstrual cycle.
The thyroid gland plays a role in metabolism, and if hormones become imbalanced, thyroid hormone may be affected. New thyroid conditions or the worsening of a past underlying condition may occur with a hormonal imbalance.
The ovaries are the main producers of female hormones, and during menopause, they stop producing adequate amounts of hormones. Because the ovaries supply most of the female hormones, a total hysterectomy may also produce symptoms similar to those experienced with menopause.
Typical symptoms of menopause related hormone decline include:
Discontinued menstrual periods usually occur with menopause or a hysterectomy. Many hysterectomies are preceded by significant menstrual cycle problems. Although heavy or painful flow is cleared by the procedure, the loss of ovarian hormones can bring on any of the symptoms of menopause, often “right now and all at the same time”.
Spikes in temperature during the day or night sweats may occur. Women may also wake up feeling chilled or in a cold sweat.
Loss of deep restorative sleep can be a result of hormone decline.
Women may feel especially fatigued in the morning after awakening; they may also experience a loss of stamina through the day.
Lack of Stamina
Women may experience a dip in energy during the late afternoon, or evening, or they may feel chronically lethargic.
Reduced Cognitive Function
- Memory lapses that can be referred to as “senior moments” may be experienced, and women may especially experience short-term memory loss.
- Reduced problem focus, solving ability, and problems concentrating may also occur.
- Decreased ability to ‘multi-task’ can be experienced.
- Incomprehension, such as a feeling “I just read that and don’t understand it; and I should” may occur.
Abdominal weight gain or persistent fluid retention that is especially notable in ankles, hands, or fingers, which causes rings to be too tight to remove, may be a sign of hormonal imbalance.
Headaches may particularly occur more frequently during menopause, or a worsening of one’s typical migraine episodes can be experienced.
- Vaginal dryness, itching, or burning can occur with hormone decline.
- Increased infections from bacteria or candida overgrowth may occur.
- Urinary incontinence and increased frequency of urinary infections may also be caused
- Reduced sexual response, which includes a decreased ability to climax, lack of vaginal lubrication, or painful intercourse may be experienced.
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded and experiencing ear ringing can occur with hormonal issues.
Itchy, red, or blotchy skin and skin sensations sometimes described as “bugs under the skin” can be experienced with menopause.
Many patients have to discontinue using their contact lenses through menopause. Dr. Baker is often able to reverse this with appropriate hormone support.
Unhealthy hair, nails, and teeth
During menopause, women may experience thinning hair, hair loss, brittle fingernails, or periodontal disease.
While testosterone is usually thought of as being a male hormone, it is also present in smaller amounts in females. Testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are the three main female sex hormones, and they must all be produced in sufficient amounts to maintain health and wellness. In all of the above cases, a lack of female appropriate testosterone can contribute to:
Muscle Aches or Joint Pain
Testosterone has a direct effect on the muscles, and if it is deficient, muscles and joints may not receive the appropriate nourishment, which can lead to aches and pains.
Chronic muscle aches are part of fibromyalgia, and the syndrome may develop or worsen with testosterone decline.
Loss of flexibility and stiffness in the morning or after prolonged sitting may occur with a testosterone deficiency.
Decreased Response to Exercise
Women may notice during menopause that they are not as easily able to get toned, despite having a healthy exercise program. They may also feel an exaggerated sense of pain and fatigue with exercise.
Loss of lean muscle mass can occur with a lack of testosterone.
Loss of libido, sexual interest, energy, and responsiveness to sex may occur.
Loss of Passion
Dr. Baker commonly sees a reduced sense of passion in patients going through menopause. Patients may not only lose sexual passion, but their passion for life in general. Women may decrease in enthusiasm, curiosity, and creativity.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can help to correct hormone related issues, and Dr. Baker can implement his expertise in helping patients obtain the right therapy and get them back on the road to health and wellness.