As women age, significant changes take place as a result of fluctuating hormone levels. Lower estrogen levels can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. You’re probably familiar with menopause, a condition that affects every woman at some point, but you may not know that women also experience a transition period called perimenopause.
Women are officially menopausal when they’ve gone 12 consecutive months without a period. For most, this happens starting at around age 50. About 10 years before menopause, however, women can also start experiencing many of the same symptoms as menopause to a lesser degree. This is known as perimenopause, and if you’re dealing with this natural transition, then you may benefit from the natural relief afforded by bio-identical hormone replacement therapy or BHRT.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is a transitional time period that usually starts when women are in their 40s. You may notice symptoms as early as your mid-30s depending on your personal and family medical history. If you have any of the following symptoms, then you may be experiencing symptoms of perimenopause:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes and trouble sleeping
- Bladder or vaginal problems
- Mood changes
- Trouble conceiving
- Sexual dysfunction
- Bone loss
- Increase in bad cholesterol
During perimenopause, your hormones fluctuate like they do during menopause, but you can still become pregnant as long as you have periods, even if they’re irregular. For many women, perimenopause symptoms are not as intense as they become during menopause. Still, they may be interfering with your life. Hormone therapy has been proven to help millions of women each year deal with the effects of hormonal imbalance, and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is a natural alternative to traditional synthetic treatments.
How can BHRT help?
Traditional hormone replacement therapy has been in use for nearly a hundred years, but you may be surprised to learn that bio-identical hormone replacement therapy traces its roots back to the same time period. In the late 1930s, it was discovered that a chemical compound from wild Mexican yams could be converted into a type of progesterone that exactly mimicked the progesterone produced by the ovaries. In fact, your body doesn’t know the difference between the compounded progesterone and the natural hormones in your body, which is why these compounded hormones are referred to as “bio-identical.”
Unlike bio-identical hormones, synthetic substitutes are not the same from a chemical standpoint. They work for some women, but they can create more problems than they solve. Certain types of cancer, heart disease and other medical conditions are more possible side effects of synthetic hormones. BHRT works by mirroring what your body would normally do. There’s less chance of negative side effects, making it a safer treatment for many women. Those who use BHRT generally see positive results, including:
- Improved sex drive
- Renewed energy and balanced moods
- Fat loss and an increase in muscle mass
- Youthful skin and higher bone density
- Healthier sleep habits
Results vary based on your medical history, the reason why your hormones are imbalanced and other factors. Combined with good nutrition, exercise and a balanced lifestyle, BHRT can have a positive impact on your body and mind as you begin the transition into menopause. Plus, research has not shown that BHRT has fewer side effects as compared to synthetic treatments.
If you’re suffering from perimenopause symptoms, you’re not alone. Your symptoms may range from mild to severe, but if they’re affecting your everyday life, then you have options for relief. Talk to your doctor about bio-identical hormone replacement therapy to see how this natural remedy might improve your symptoms.