Treatment for Perimenopause — Not Just Estrogen?
Are you wondering if you may need treatment for perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the slow transition into full menopause. Estrogen production by the ovaries begins to fluctuate and slow, and, eventually, levels fall sharply.
Those notorious hot flashes, mood swings, and irritability may begin to make more frequent appearances.
There is no single event or sudden symptom that signals the beginning of this transitional period called perimenopause — it’s more of a slow onset of the characteristic symptoms, including those we already mentioned as well as some or all of the following:
- Decreased sex drive
- Worsening premenstrual syndrome and irregular periods
- Breast tenderness
- Urinary difficulties — urgency and some leakage
- Vaginal dryness
- Trouble sleeping
Relief for the uncomfortable symptoms of perimenopause or menopause is one of the more common reasons that women seek hormone treatment at TCT.
Treatment for Perimenopause Begins With a Healthier Lifestyle
As with many other health concerns, the first step you could take to relieve minor symptoms of perimenopause is to improve your overall health.
Staying active and adjusting your diet are crucial components of a more stable hormonal balance.
You might try shifting your diet to contain less fat — you might also consider increasing fiber with more fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods. Also, consider talking with your doctor about calcium and vitamin D supplementation.
Regular exercise, even light workouts or walking, can help stabilize hormones and resist the bone density loss that can accompany menopausal change.
Proper nutrition and exercise can also help you fight the common weight gain associated with perimenopause.
But, when you set out to become more active, you’ll need to listen to your body — overdoing it can lead to an increase in stress hormones and worsen your hormonal health.
You should also be aware of foods that may trigger those uncomfortable hot flashes. Common culprits are spicy foods and hot beverages (like tea and coffee).
But, for some women, levels dip so low that estrogen replacement therapy might be necessary.
Treatment for Perimenopause — Hormone Replacement Therapy
If your symptoms are becoming more severe, we recommend having your hormone levels tested to find out if treatment is the best option.
When we recommend hormone replacement therapy, we’re looking to improve your overall hormonal balance — treatment for perimenopause isn’t just about estrogen levels.
Often, there may be abnormalities in progesterone and testosterone as well.
That’s right! Women can suffer from low testosterone, too.
Although dipping estrogen levels get most of the bad press, symptoms can be the result of an overall poor hormonal balance.
So, when we recommend estrogen or other hormonal replacement therapy as treatment for perimenopause, we are looking to restore a balance that will help you feel much healthier and more like yourself.
Just pushing estrogen levels to a particular number is often an inferior perimenopause treatment.
Treatment for Perimenopause — The Importance of Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical means that the hormones produced for use in hormone replacement therapy are formulated to closely match your body’s natural hormones.
Research has shown that bioidentical estrogen is important for both safety and improved effectiveness, which is why we only use bioidentical hormones in estrogen replacement therapy.
The exception to the bioidentical rule is testosterone — bioidentical mixtures have not been found to be any safer or more effective than the standard FDA approved versions.
While oral medications are still an option, we’ve found topicals (gels and creams) to be the most effective for estrogen and progesterone replacement, and injections are best for administering consistent doses of supplemental testosterone.
We’d Love to Help
If diet and exercise are proving ineffective, and your symptoms continue to give you problems, then having your hormone levels checked might be the first step to feeling better again.
Your health can be a complicated business, especially when we talk about perimenopause, hormones, and the gradual, disruptive effects of an imbalance.
If you feel you might need treatment for perimenopause, click the button below to schedule a free consult.