Perimenopause: The Symptoms you may not know!
Q: How do we know when we are officially in menopause?
Dr. Laurie: Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her periods have stopped. You are officially in menopause when you have not had a period for one year. Typically menopause sets in between 45 to 55 years of age.
Q: And what is perimenopause?
Dr. Laurie: Perimenopause is the time before menopause. Perimenopause can start as early as your 30’s and last several years before your periods actually stop. If you can recognize the early symptoms of perimenopause, you can easily alleviate these symptoms and make your transition to menopause without the extreme symptoms so many women experience.
Q: What are the symptoms of perimenopause?
Dr. Laurie: Everyone experiences this change-in-life differently. Some of the common symptoms are hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
Q: What are some of the symptoms we don’t typically associate with perimenopause?
Dr. Laurie: What many women don’t know – or often don’t associate with perimenopause – is that you may also experience heart palpitations, sleep disturbances, dry eyes, weight gain, depression, anxiety, low sex drive, fatigue and low energy, an increase in aches and pains, the inability to bounce back from workouts, a decrease in mental clarity, a decrease in memory and focus, and just an overall decrease in vitality.
Q: As I’m hearing this list, the symptoms of perimenopause could easily be mistaken for other issues, right?
Dr. Laurie: Absolutely. And worse, many of the symptoms of perimenopause are incorrectly treated with medications. For example, symptoms of perimenopause are often treated with pain medications, anti-depressants, and sleep medications. The list goes on!
Q: How do we best treat the symptoms of perimenopause?
Dr. Laurie: Great question. If these symptoms are new to you, and you are in the perimenopause age range – typically 45 to 55 – then it is important that you have your hormone levels checked. A hormonal imbalance may be causing your symptoms, and having a specially trained hormone specialist treat this imbalance can alleviate the symptoms at their source.
Q: Specifically what hormone imbalances cause the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause?
Dr. Laurie: Progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone imbalances are the root cause of perimenopause and menopause symptoms. And not only does a progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone imbalance cause menopause symptoms, but it can also lead to more serious issues down the line.
Q: What more series issues can hormone imbalances lead to?
Dr. Laurie: We believe that hormonal imbalances can be a cause of bone loss – meaning osteoporosis, dementia, an increase in blood sugar, an increase in cholesterol and heart disease risk, just to name a few. Luckily hormonal imbalances are now being recognized as being more serious than just minor complaints from aging women, if you know what I mean.
Q: What advice can you give women who are experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause?
Dr. Laurie: My best advice is that you should be able to age well and live a full and vital life. You do not have to deteriorate slowly over 20 to 40 years before you die. Often, the easiest first step is to recognize your symptoms as a hormonal imbalance and restore your hormones with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Bottom line, by restoring your energy, your mental functioning, and your overall body composition – meaning increasing your muscle mass and reducing your overall body fat – you will find that you are more prone to partake in exercise, eat better and you will definitely sleep better. Optimal hormones will allow you to create, maintain, and live an optimal lifestyle.