FIRST SIGNS & BEYOND
Menopause is when a woman has gone 12 months without a period. The erratic periods of perimenopause are over, and its time to embrace the freedom from tampons & pads! Yay! This doesn’t mean you are free of symptoms however, symptoms can linger for 10 years or more. But you’re not ovulating and pregnancy is no longer a worry. This stage can also be called postmenopause, which you will now be in for the rest of your life. On average this starts around 51 years of age, unless menopause was induced early via surgery or other conditions. Hormonal fluctuations should level out, and everything should be calm and serene right? Not for everyone. Read this list of the possible new normal.
“Normal” Symptoms of Menopause
- Hot flashes & Night sweats.
- Vaginal dryness & Sexual discomfort.
- Depression / Changes in sex drive.
- Dry skin / More Wrinkles
- Weight changes.
- Bone Loss / Osteoporosis
- Tone Loss / Strength Changes
- Hair loss.
- Urinary incontinence / Bladder Control Issues.
“See the doctor” if you experience these Symptoms after Menopause:
- If any of the symptoms ABOVE become more intense or interfere with your daily life.
- Vaginal bleeding – is not normal after menopause. Dryness in your vagina can cause some light bleeding or spotting after sex, but vaginal bleeding can also indicate: Endometrial Hyperplasia, Fibroids, Infection, Endometriosis, or Cancer.
Hot Flashes are caused by decreased estrogen levels. They can occur for many years after menopause. Some women even experience them randomly up into their 80’s. Other women are one and done.There is no standard. Each woman is different. But lets face it for those who do suffer, turning beet red, soaking your clothes and your bed (night sweats), and the wave of misery, are no joke. And being told its absolutely “normal” is discouraging.
Hot Flashes & Hair Loss
Hot flashes and hair loss can also indicate a Thyroid Issue. There are both medications and natural supplements (usually called Adrenal Supplements) that can greatly improve your symptoms if this is the case. The thyroid gland (not just your ovaries) secretes hormones and is responsible for regulating: your body temperature, your metabolism which controls how well you burn calories, controls calcium in your blood, regulates your heartbeat and how much of your blood goes into circulation. See where Im going with this?
Common Thyroid Disorders
- Hypothyroidism– when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormone
- Symptoms: Brittle hair & Hair-loss, Constipation, Depression, Dry Skin, Thinning Eyebrows (outer third), Hoarseness & A full feeling in the throat, Hormonal issues, Low Libido, Memory Problems, Muscle aches & Weakness, Sensitivity to cold, Slow heart rate, Fatigue, Weight gain
- Hyperthyroidism – when the thyroid gland produces too much hormone
- Symptoms: Difficulty putting on weight, Dry Red or Bulging eyes, Excessive sweating, Fast heartbeat, Diarrhea, Heat sensitivity, High (systolic) blood pressure, Mood swings, Anxiety, Insomnia, Tremors, Weight-loss
Vaginal Dryness & Sexual Discomfort
Vaginal dryness can be greatly mitigated with a combination of internal lubricants, the right supplements, hydration and other treatments. Remember vaginal dryness can lead to atrophy. It is important to note that many of the same supplements and treatments you use for vaginal health will also contribute to bladder health. This includes Pelvic Floor Exercises or Therapy. Menopause isn’t “an old lady issue”. Menopause can also be the result of Surgery, Cancer treatments etc. Women of all ages can technically be in Post Menopause.
Decreased estrogen levels cause the tissues in your vagina to thin and deteriorate, making your vagina dry. Decreased estrogen levels can also impact the urinary tract and bladder and make leaking urine a problem for some people. Besides using lubrication and topical creams, laser therapy to the vagina can also help with vaginal dryness. Laser Therapy is available for bladder and vaginal issues at many Medi-Spas in most major cities.
Bone Loss / Osteoporosis
Bone density loss isn’t entirely preventable and happens at a rate of approx. 1-2% a year after menopause. This increases your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Most likely to be affected are the bones of the hip, wrist, and spine. Testing should be done through your doctor to see if additional steps need to be taken. Keeping up a good level of muscle tone can make any future surgeries or issues much easier to navigate as well as keep the ligaments strong to support your bones. Exercise using Light weights, and Light resistance exercises. A vibration platform may also be a good choice if you aren’t very active. Calcium and Vitamin D are highly recommended.
HORMONE THERAPY (HRT)
There are many different opinions on this subject. Some doctors do not want to prescribe hormone therapy because it is a synthetic hormone that increases your risk for blood clots and stroke. It is most dependent on what other health issues you have, and which ones are the most debilitating.
Hormone therapy can greatly benefit those who still want to maintain an Active Sex Life, are concerned with Hair Loss, Dry Thinning Skin, Vaginal Atrophy, or Urinary Incontinence. However it is important to rule out the thyroid as the true culprit. Hormone Therapy comes in various forms and can be made specifically for you based on your test results. Usually through a Compound Pharmacist.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
BHRT utilizes natural hormones not synthetic; can also be custom made for you, and can be a great alternative to traditional HRT. This is especially helpful if your thyroid has been ruled out as the culprit. Bioidentical hormones are an exact chemical match to the ones produced by your body. Your personalized prescription may contain: micronized progesterone, estrogen, estradiol, thyroid and testosterone hormones. If you go through a clinic that specializes in Hormone treatments you will be required to do a full blood workup and talk extensively with your practitioner before hormones are prescribed for you. Expect to pay between $750-$2500 for your first year, as tests are extensive and costly. But IMO a good investment for your long-term health portfolio.
Bioidentical Hormones are made in a lab based on compounds found in plants, soy & wild yam being the most popular. Bioidentical creams are also available in standard doses available at your local Health-Food Store or online including on Amazon. If you choose to go the self-diagnosis route keep a journal and talk to your doctor about what you are taking. If your doctor has indicated by standard tests which hormones you are low on you may decide to implement them into your daily routine. Bioidentical formulas in varying levels of potency are also available. The one listed below is the starting dose:
Sourced HRT Program (USA)
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DHEA Bioidentical Cream for Women – Energy Supplement for Men & Women, Mood Boost, Supports Hormone Balance
BHRT Naturals Bioidentical Progesterone Cream 2500mg – Support for women in Menopause & Perimenopause dealing with Mood Depression, Sleep Issues, Headache, Migraines, Libido & Energy. Also helps restore vaginal lubrication & elasticity, and mental fogginess.
REMEMBER HORMONES ARE POWERFUL NO MATTER THE SOURCE. KEEP A JOURNAL. GAUGE YOUR SYMPTOMS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU SELF MEDICATE OR HAVE A PRESCRIPTION. Start Low and be consistent. This is a time of fluctuation, you will need to adapt as your body changes. Keeping a journal and having regular discussions with your doctor will ensure you are on the right path.
A Healthy Diet rich in phytoestrogens (plant based estrogen), not smoking and getting regular exercise help prevent heart disease. Treating elevated blood pressure and diabetes as and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels also lower your risk for heart attack, heart disease and stroke. Foods rich in phytoestrogens include: flax seeds, soybeans & edamame, Sesame seeds, Chick peas, Legumes, Whole Grain Cereals, Garlic, Dried Fruit, Peaches, Berries, Wheat bran, Tofu, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, & cabbage can also help.
As hormones fluctuate and diminish it is not unusual to experience moodiness, anxiety or depression after menopause. Health issues, changes in libido, a less active lifestyle, stress and basically life can all play a role in your mental health. Talk to your doctor if your mental health is negatively impacting your quality of life. Joining groups, and participating in exercise like walking or swimming are good maintaining tone and strength as well as social interactions. Never underestimate the power of laughter and friendships.
SEX AFTER MENOPAUSE
Interest & Desire to have sex after menopause depends entirely on the individual woman, her age when entering menopause, the severity of symptoms, and her overall health. According to studies 50% of women still enjoy sex after menopause. So when vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex make sex less pleasurable, it can take a little creativity to maintain a satisfying sex life. After menopause as libidos decline, our bodies can change making it difficult to get aroused and that is only the female half of the equation. Depending on where you land on the age spectrum of menopause, can greatly impact the importance of sex in your relationship.
Vaginal sexual activity after menopause is good for your overall vaginal health. It stimulates blood flow, helps to keep your vaginal muscles toned and maintains your vaginas length and stretchiness. Intercourse for many is one of the ways they stay connected with their intimate partner. Intercourse may require vaginal moisturizers, hormone therapy, supplements, prescription drugs, or laser therapy. But it is entirely possible, and with the right program be utterly fantastic.
SEXUAL DECLINE WITH AGE
Our BRAIN is our most powerful sex organ. Humans desire physical touch and we are wired to give and receive pleasure. Although we may have to go about it a little differently as we age; A little less often, or in completely new ways, talk openly about it with your partner. Communicate how you may have to adapt your relationship to other forms of intimacy, especially if it becomes too uncomfortable to engage in intercourse. Many long term relationships just naturally evolve. Holding hands, cuddling, laughter and friendship can be much more important. Health issues for one partner may also impact your sexual relationship. Overall intimacy between couples can be conveyed in many ways for a very happy life together regardless of how often or if they continue with sexual intercourse into their twilight years.
Supplements to Support Menopause
Menovair Natural Supplement – Ingredients: Red Clover Extract, Black Cohosh Root Extract, Dong Quai Powder, Chasteberry Extract, Maca Root Powder. Clinically Proven to relieve Menopause Symptoms.
Nutrafol Balance Menopause Supplement for Hair Loss – Clinically Proven Hair Growth Supplement for Visibly Thicker Hair and More Scalp Coverage Through Menopause. This product is awesome and really works!
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