Menopause and Hormone Replacement

Coastal Medical Clinic - Myrtle Beach, SC.

Menopause can be the greatest time of your life! But for so many, menopause is dreaded and for good reason. Symptoms such as hot ?ashes, night sweats, palpitations and weight gain can be debilitating.

The average age of menopause in the United States is 50 and is defined as the final menstrual period. It is confirmed when a woman has missed her periods for 12 consecutive months (assuming no other obvious reasons). However, women can experience menopause-related changes as early as 30. The stage leading to the eventual end of menses, called Peri-menopause, can last anywhere from 6 months to 10 years. During Peri-menopause and Menopause many women experience hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, mood swings, anxiety/depression, poor sleep, irritability, vaginal dryness, memory problems and other symptoms that tax the quality of life.

Menopause is a normal, natural event occurring when the ovaries stop producing Estradiol and other important hormones including Progesterone and Testosterone.For some women the change is gradual and well tolerated. But for many women the erratic change in estrogen levels brings about severe symptoms. Ironically women with higher body fat levels tend to experience fewer side effects since fat can actually produce its own estrogen - albeit a less desirable form known as Estrone which is associated with breast cancer.

Although menopause is not an illness, you should not hesitate to get treatment if you’re unhappy with your symptoms. Many treatments are available ranging from lifestyle modifications to hormone therapy. Since Estradiol, the most common estrogen produced before menopause, is associated with more than 400healthful functions, women need to understand that several chronic medical conditions can occur after menopause.

When your estrogen levels decline, your risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, obesity, dementia and many other age-related diseases increase. Conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) usually includes synthetic hormones that are derived from the urine of pregnant mares. Scientists now know that these synthetic hormones are associated with increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, depression, and gallbladder disease - all conditions that natural estrogens protect us from.

HRT with bio-identical hormones involves using only hormones that are identical to what your body naturally produced before menopause. Since we are restoring hormones to a more youthful state, they can be used to help prevent or slow many chronic diseases. The best way to determine if you are a candidate for bio-identical HRT is to see a doctor who is specially trained and board certified in the emerging field of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. Such a physician will assess your individual health care needs, and create a customized treatment plan just for you.