Symptoms of perimenopause, or lack of progesterone relative to estradiol, may be very minor in some women with only sleep disturbance. Other women with more symptomatic complaints of moodiness may be prescribed an antidepressant or sleeping pills. I have seen this type of patient at the 15 minute free consult. “I don’t know if you can help me..” with eyes downcast, “My doctor says I am depressed”. As she slowly recounts the memory loss, lack of interest in everything, no libido, and disturbing mood changes, I can barely restrain myself from saying, “you’re not crazy! It’s just menopause. We can fix this!”
By correcting the measured hormone deficiencies to the premenopausal level, sexual, mental, and physical well being may be restored. Of course, not all women suffer symptoms of hormone decline as severely. Not all women need hormone restoration. Some women manage the menopause by exercise, weight control, and perhaps over the counter herbal preparations. I measure hormone levels and some women in their mid-fifties have levels of estradiol sufficient to maintain the vaginal tissues, without hot flashes, or even insomnia. Good for them!
For the rest of us who don’t want to suffer with slowly dissolving bones, eroding memory, shrinking and atrophy of the vagina, and word-search, bio-identical hormone replacement to a young healthy adult blood level may be the answer for the 2nd 50 years of your life.
Bio-identical hormones carry the same warnings as the synthetic wannabe, pharmaceutical- profit-driven medications. I am constrained to say that bio-identical hormones, although they are an exact copy of what you made as a 14 year old, are not believed to be any safer than synthetic hormones. Although some studies support an increased risk of various cancers, blood clots, and stroke with any type of hormone replacement, we know that women may suffer these maladies whether they take hormones or not.