Perimenopause is what most women think of as “going through menopause.” It is defined as the period prior to menopause and the first year after the cessation of menses when endocrinologic, biologic, and chemical features of approaching menopause commence. The average age for onset of perimenopause is 47, and for most women it lasts approximately four years. Only about 10% of women cease menstruating abruptly and have no menstrual irregularity characteristic of the perimenopausal years.
In essence, the normal balance or interaction of ovarian hormones, which has existed for 20+ years, is disturbed. Generally speaking, there is often a wide fluctuation in estrogen levels - sometimes low, often high or normal; Progesterone and Testosterone levels are usually declining or low, and may have been on a downward trend for many years prior to perimenopause.
During perimenopause, the hormonal changes are quite varied and can lead to many different clinical symptoms, including:
By definition, menopause is the complete cessation of periods for one year. Once you have reached that point, your body's production of progesterone is almost zero, and your body's production of the estrogens is well below its levels in the premenopausal years. The average age for menopause in American women is 51 and 95% of women will be menopausal between the ages of 40 & 58.
A lack or imbalance in progesterone, estrogen and may times testosterone results in an increased risk of adverse symptoms as well as the following:
It is because of adverse symptoms and the increase in the diseases of aging that we advocate Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) for most women.
If one really thinks about the role of hormones during pregnancy, it’s not difficult to understand why, at the time of delivery when the placenta is removed, resulting in a massive hormone reduction, why a woman would experience some significant changes in her psyche. That massive decrease in hormone effect coupled with the responsibilities of a newborn baby, lack of sleep and other psychological factors, are overwhelming.
For years, postpartum depression has been treated with anti-depressants, with varying degrees of success; however, this is a temporary solution, carrying with it unwanted side-effects for the short and long term. The treatment option that should work best is to treat the underlying problem, or the massive shift in hormone effect caused by the delivery of the placenta. Since the placenta manufactures most of the massive amount of hormones responsible for maintaining a healthy pregnancy, those hormones need to be replaced to maintain a healthy hormone balance after birth. If you are experiencing adverse postpartum symptoms, contact one of our experts today.