For most women, the onset of middle age means an inevitable decline in fertility until the menstruation finally comes to an end. Even though this final stage in the female reproductive cycle — a chapter known as menopause — can come with a variety of unwanted symptoms and even changes in health, it’s possible to manage them effectively. The first-rate team of obstetricians and gynecologists at Plano Texas Gynecology & Obstetrics Associates are dedicated to helping women navigate and manage the symptoms of menopause so they can age comfortably. They serve patients from communities throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a natural biological process that’s set in motion by a decline in the production of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that regulate menstruation and make pregnancy possible. Although your ovaries start making less of these hormones by the time you reach your late 30s, menopause doesn’t usually occur until sometime in a woman’s 40s or 50s. In the United States, the average age for menopause is 51.
Menopause is defined as starting 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual cycle. For women who undergo a total hysterectomy (surgery that removes the uterus and both ovaries), menopause begins without a transitional phase. Although menopause marks the end of your fertility, it doesn’t have to affect your health, vitality, or sexuality.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
During the transition into menopause, the months or years known as perimenopause, you may experience a wide variety of physical symptoms related to the changing levels of reproductive hormones, including:
- Irregular menstrual periods, including skipped periods
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Mood changes and sleep problems
- Loss of breast fullness
- Thinning hair and dry skin
The physical symptoms of menopause may make you feel less energetic, or even give rise to anxiety or feelings of sadness and loss.
Does menopause pose any health risks?
Yes — after menopause, you have a greater risk of developing certain health problems. Osteoporosis is one key concern because the hormonal shift of menopause can cause you to lose bone density at a rapid rate and make you more prone to bone fractures. Lower estrogen levels also make you more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in women as well as men. Urinary incontinence, poor sexual function, and weight gain are other common health complications associated with menopause.
How can hormone replacement therapy help?
Hormone replacement therapy, or taking a supplement of the reproductive hormones that your body is no longer making, helps address many of the problems brought on by menopause.
At Plano Texas Gynecology & Obstetrics Associates, hormone expert Dr. Ralph E. Joseph offers state-of-the-art hormone pellet implants, an advanced form of hormone replacement therapy that involves inserting a tiny cylinder of biologically identical (or bioidentical) hormones under your skin. Hormone pellets deliver small doses of hormones consistently to keep your blood levels stable, which can boost your energy, improve your mood, and help you sleep better. Hormone replacement therapy can also help you preserve bone density and protect heart health.
Dr. Joseph offers Hormone Pellet Therapy. Call us to book your appointment today.