Women Have Been Misled About Menopause: The truth about perimenopause and menopause
This piece of writing was originally published here: https://regencen.com/the-menopause-survival-kit-essentials-for-every-woman/
Hot flashes. Sleepless nights. Mood swings. Irregular vaginal bleeding. Painful intercourse.
During your 30s, 40s, and 50s, many women experience a range of these physical and emotional changes.
Menopause, and the time surrounding it, can make you feel crazy — like your body isn’t even yours anymore.
Imagine this: Intercourse with your partner that was once enjoyable…is now unpleasant and painful.
You’re feeling hot all the time, barely sleeping, and even the slightest hiccup in your day can send you into a frenzied state. Your mood might skyrocket or crash in a matter of seconds. You feel like you’re riding a rollercoaster of emotions that you can’t seem to control.
These symptoms don’t have to be your new normal!
It’s important to understand what’s happening within your body and recognize that relief really is available for these symptoms. There are innovative treatments that can help.
Let’s start at the basics. What exactly is menopause?
What is menopause?
When a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period — that’s the definition of menopause. If only it was that simple — right, ladies?
Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing eggs, resulting in a decrease in your hormones (such as estrogen, testosterone and progesterone).
But women experience symptoms of menopause well before (and after!) those 12 months without a period. In fact, you might wish that the symptoms of menopause would only last 12 months.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Menopause can cause a range of symptoms that can vary in severity and duration. You might feel different symptoms than other women.
What are the most common symptoms of menopause?
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleepless nights
- Mood swings
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Urinary issues
- Vaginal dryness
- Lack of mental clarity (“brian fog”)
- Weight fluctuations
- Change in body shape
- Low sex drive/lack of arousal and enjoyment
Not every woman experiences all of these symptoms, but understanding the range of issues that come with menopause empowers you to prepare for — and effectively treat — this natural transition in your life.
Over the past decade, advances in regenerative medicine have resulted in several proven treatments for managing symptoms that help you maintain a healthy, happy life during and after menopause.
What exactly happens during menopause?
During menopause, a woman’s body undergoes a series of biological changes as her reproductive system gradually shuts down.
One of the primary changes that occurs is a decline in the production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting pregnancy.
As a result, a woman’s periods may become irregular and eventually stop altogether. Menopause usually occurs when a women is in her late 40s or early 50s, but it can happen earlier or later for some.
What are the first signs of menopause?
The first signs of menopause can vary from woman to woman, but typically involve changes in your menstrual periods.
Irregular periods, lighter or heavier bleeding, and shorter or longer cycles are common early signs of menopause.
You might go from being on a regular, 26-28-day cycle to more — or fewer — days in between cycles.
If you were always a heavy bleeder, you might notice a lighter flow. Or conversely, you might have heavier bleeding than what’s normal for you.
Think of it like puberty in reverse: when you were a teenager and your hormone levels increased, your cycle changed and evolved accordingly. Now, your hormone levels are decreasing, and your body is — again — adjusting to these levels, and it often shows up as changes in your menstrual cycle.
What’s the difference between perimenopause and menopause?
Perimenopause and menopause are two distinct stages in a woman’s reproductive life.
Perimenopause, also known as the menopausal transition, is the period of time leading up to menopause. During perimenopause, a woman’s body begins to produce less progesterone, and estrogen levels spike both up and down. Estrogen fluctuations lead to irregular periods and a range of physical and emotional symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and more.
Perimenopause can last for several years and ends when a woman has gone without a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
On the other hand, menopause happens when estrogen levels go down and stay down. It’s defined as the point in time when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. (That’s not a very good definition, because your estrogen level can be near zero, but because you had a period 8 months ago, somehow you’re not in menopause!)
At this stage, estrogen production has significantly declined, and you’ll no longer ovulate or be able to conceive naturally. This causes a range of physical and emotional symptoms, many similar to those experienced during perimenopause.
While both stages can cause physical and emotional symptoms, menopause is a more definitive stage that signifies the end of fertility.
How long does menopause last?
Technically, menopause is a point in time: 12 months after your last period. That’s menopause. After that, you’re post-menopausal. But how long the symptoms of menopause last can greatly vary, but typically last around four to five years on average.
After menopause, some symptoms subside (hot flashes and mood swings, to name a couple). But even though you’re through some of the tough stuff, unfortunately you’re still left with other symptoms like vaginal dryness and lack of arousal. These changes happen to all of us, but you don’t have to keep them as your new normal.
For some of menopause’s worst symptoms, there’s an established treatment. But if treatments exists for these symptoms, why aren’t more women offered it by their primary health care providers?
The medical community doesn’t talk openly and transparently enough about how dramatically hormonal changes impact how a woman feels and functions as she ages. Or the increased risks women accept if they don’t choose treatment.
At RegenCen, we’re committed to providing relief to women as they navigate hormonal changes throughout their lives. Let’s break down what treatments can alleviate menopause symptoms, dramatically improve your quality of life, and reduce your risk for osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and urinary incontinence to name just a few.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy (BHT) counters the effects of menopause
Menopause is a completely normal and natural part of life. But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it good; in fact, there are many health problems directly caused by the sudden absence of hormones triggered by menopause. With safe and proven bioidentical hormones, your menopause doesn’t have to be the start of a long, slow decline.
Hormones carry chemical messages throughout your bloodstream, and these messages deliver both chemicals and instructions to your cells, telling them to do something. Three key hormones change dramatically during and after menopause: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. They impact everything from sleep to skin hydration to sexual desire. A drop in hormones is often what’s behind feeling mentally fuzzy, emotionally depressed, deprived of sleep, hot flashes, sexually frustrated, and not quite like yourself.
We offer estrogen and testosterone bioidentical hormone replacement in Petoskey, Traverse City, and Naples at RegenCen. We use hormone pellets placed under your skin to deliver more youthful and consistent levels of hormones to your bloodstream.
Listen to our Founder, Courtney Lo discuss the importance of testosterone for women during menopause
The procedure is quick and safe. Pellets last about four months and are very low-maintenance compared to hormone patches or creams. Progesterone is administered orally, and can drastically improve your sleep.
Bioidentical hormone therapy pellets have the exact same chemical structure as the hormones produced by our own bodies. Research shows that bioidentical hormones are much safer than the use of oral synthetic hormones. For examples, proper bioidentical hormone replacement has not been associated with increased breast or uterine cancer risk.
Reclaim your sexual health during menopause with vaginal rejuvenation
Morpheus V, Forma V, V Tone, Oh! Shot
In addition to bioidentical hormones, vaginal treatments can also relieve your symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. At our regenerative medicine clinic, we offer a variety of vaginal treatments that allow you to reclaim your sexual health and revive your relationships.
Depending on the treatment, vaginal rejuvenation can:
- Improve vaginal tone and elasticity
- Treat dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
- Reduce or eliminate urinary incontinence (such as the loss of bladder control)
- Relieve vaginal itching, burning, pain or dryness
MorpheusV is an advanced radio frequency microneedling technology that thickens and restores internal vaginal membrane feeling and function, while simultaneously improving bladder control.
In studies, about 50% of women regain bladder control and report improvement in vaginal irritation after just one treatment.
Microneedling … down there?
Believe it or not, it’s almost painless compared to microneedling other parts of the body. Most of the female providers here at RegenCen have had a MorpheusV treatment. We’re an open book and are happy to share our personal experiences with treatments and outcomes.
During a FormaV treatment, radio frequency energy is applied both inside and outside of the vaginal area to stimulate tissue remodeling. As new collagen and elastin is formed, it firms skin and renews vaginal and labial membranes.
FormaV stimulates your body’s collagen, which takes time to rebuild, so results are gradual over six to twelve weeks.
Over time, you’ll see and feel this tightening, as well as an increase in lubrication and improved bladder control.
InMode’s VTone is one of the few FDA-approved nonsurgical treatments for urinary stress incontinence and pelvic floor strength.
VTone is unique because it targets weakened or overstretched pelvic floor musculature (usually due to childbirth) with electro-stimulation to induce firm muscle contractions not possible to achieve with simple Kegel exercises.
Results are cumulative and maximum results are felt one to two weeks after your last treatment. VTone is generally combined with MorpheusV or FormaV for the best outcomes.
The Oh! Shot consists of injections of platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) into the clitoris and G-spot area to promote new tissue growth. It’s the next generation of the PRP (platelet-rich plasma) O-Shot®.
Just like PRF rejuvenates and stimulates collagen in aging faces, the Oh! Shot uses the same regenerative science to increase blood blow and nerve sensation. It’s a game changer for all women who want a more satisfying sex life.
Most patients feel almost immediate improvement in arousal and experience the full results in a few weeks.
Whether you’re experiencing bladder control issues, discomfort during intimacy, or overall vaginal issues, during or after menopause, these treatments can help.
Improve your life
Now imagine this:
• You’re cooking a meal and you don’t randomly break out in a sweat.
• You have the energy to go for a run, without an overwhelmed feeling of fatigue. Your body feels as strong as ever.
• You also feel more comfortable and confident in the bedroom. Intimacy with your partner is way up, and your relationship is better than ever.
• Your memory is actually improving! You’re mentally quicker and sharper than you have been in years.
By addressing your menopause symptoms with personalized treatments, such as bioidentical hormone therapy and vaginal rejuvenation, this can be your life.
You’ll experience a renewed sense of vitality and enjoyment in your daily activities, free from the disruptions that menopause can bring.
It’s like lifting a fog that has been clouding your life, bringing clarity and energy back to every aspect of your day.
We know it’s not easy to navigate the physical and emotional effects of aging, but we’re here to help you live a better quality of life.
Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn about what treatments can help make aging not just easier — but the best time of your life.