Early menopause, “ovarian failure,” means that the periods stop, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and other symptoms begin before the age of 40. Some women wait a year or more, hoping that the periods will start again, suffering needlessly. All this time, the bones begin to crumble into the urine, the vagina withers, and insomnia, with its exhaustion and irritability, soon follows. Some doctors, unfortunately, prescribe a birth control pill, believing that the tiny amount of estradiol will help. Perhaps the hot flashes and other symptoms do decrease with this synthetic substitute, but the horrible effects of lack of hormones continue.
In my clinic, I obtain labs which accurately guide therapy. I tell women that initially, progesterone declines first, while estradiol may surge and then blink off for several months. Periods may become erratic, skipped, and then very heavy. These symptoms are mostly due to lack of Progesterone, which compacts the uterine lining as well as being responsible for shedding it regularly, -AKA the period. Many women initially greatly benefit from taking progesterone in the same way that their body would supply it, if only it could. For women still having cycles, even if erratically, progesterone is prescribed less (1capsule) the first 2 wks after the first day of the cycle, and more (2 capsules) from day 15 until the next first day of their cycle.
This is my opinion: I have helped some young women to regain their normal cycles as well as ovulation with the restoration of fat to their diet. Yes, FAT. We live in a crazy world, where low fat, high carbohydrate, diets are considered the norm. Your hormones are derived from cholesterol, so when you over-exercises, eat a low-fat diet and drink sugary caffeinated beverages, your hormones may suffer!
No, everyone does not need or benefit from hormones. Yes, there have been studies which suggested that cancer, heart attacks, and strokes may occur in persons prescribed hormones. However, studies do show the long term benefit of hormone replacement, most importantly for cognition, as well as bone, vaginal, and emotional health.
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