Menopause starts when a woman’s menstrual cycle has ended permanently. It’s determined after a full year without a period, retrospectively, although the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause (aka “not-quite-menopause-yet”) can come in waves that plague you for months or years before you officially join the club.
For most women, menopause comes on gradually with the natural dwindling of hormones in their late 40’s and early 50’s. For others, menopause starts more suddenly, for example after a hysterectomy or chemotherapy, causing a sudden plunge in hormone levels. Either way, having your hormones out of balance can drastically affect your quality of life – which is where Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) comes in.
How Does BHRT Differ From Regular HRT?
Conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) uses either synthetic or animal-urine-derived hormones to replace those lost and ease symptoms. At YM we prefer to exclusively use bioidentical hormones (BHRT) which are derived primarily from plants and are identical in molecular structure to our natural (human) hormones. We consider these hormones to be a much safer option as they act like those our bodies make.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is growing in popularity amongst women – specifically, those who feel run-down, gain weight easily (sometimes for the first time in their lives) and are out of other options when it comes to managing these symptoms.
Estrogen and progesterone are two of the hormones tied explicitly to youth. (Testosterone is another hormone that makes a sharp decline during perimenopause and menopause.) BHRT aims to bring back hormonal balance and improve the conditions that are causing people not to feel their best.
The 5 Main Symptoms of Menopause that BHRT Can Help:
Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
Hormones begin to decline around age 35, and around their mid-forties, many women have started to notice symptoms of progesterone and estrogen imbalance. This can result in hot flashes and night sweats to varying degrees.
What Does a Hot Flash Feel Like?
During hot flashes, the vasomotor processes in charge of flushing excess heat out of your body (as in exercise) are not functioning properly. This can result in a red face, sweating, and rapid breathing as though you were overheating – even when it is not that hot and you’re not at the end of a workout.
How Can You Stop A Hot Flash?
Drinking a big glass of cold water can sometimes stop a hot flash in its tracks. In general, it helps to drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet that’s low in spicy food and stimulants such as sugar and coffee is key to reducing the triggers. Keeping excess weight in check also helps reduce the severity of your hot flashes and night sweats.
This brings us to another troublesome symptom of entering menopausal age: Weight gain. Or, more precisely, having difficulty losing weight. Yes, getting older and moving less can be partially held to blame, but during menopause the more likely cause is a decline in estrogen. Studies have shown that when estrogen is low we tend to want to eat more and be less active.
A Slower Metabolism
To compound the issue, when estrogen drops, so can your metabolic rate. This affects your body’s ability to burn fat by changing the way starches are utilized – which also means a rise in blood sugar levels.
Abdominal Weight Gain In Spite Of Healthy Habits
All of these factors combined can be the cause of a significant amount of excess weight gain, especially around the abdomen, even if you are eating properly and exercising. If this sounds like you and you still see little to no results for your hard work – which we understand can be very frustrating – BHRT has been shown to help.
Losing The Hormonal Weight
To help your hormones stay as balanced as possible, we suggest all our clients eat a healthy diet that’s low in sugar and stimulants and rich in vitamins and minerals. This means plenty of vegetables, some fruit, healthy fats and a lot of water. If you do successfully lose even 10% of your excess bodyweight it can greatly help to reduce the severity of your menopausal symptoms.
Estrogen plays an important role in retaining skin moisture and strength as well as wound healing by helping it to retain collagen. When estrogen levels drop, so does the collagen content. This can lead to poor healing and more wrinkles. Estradiol hormone replacement can be an excellent option to help prevent the decrease of skin collagen. Both topical creams and estradiol hormone replacement pellets can help to increase the skin’s collagen levels and modulate its thickness.
Supplements To Keep Your Skin Healthy
The best thing you can do to keep your skin hydrated is to make a regular habit of drinking plenty of water, and of course make sure that you are using sunscreen and moisturizer daily. Many clients find that supplementing with a good quality collagen powder makes a noticeable difference to how good their skin looks.
Fatigue / Exhaustion
Even if you had a good night’s sleep, it’s common for women in their late 40’s to experience unexplained bouts of exhaustion, as though the wind has suddenly gone from your sails. Menopausal fatigue is often described as feeling very tired, weak, having a low attention span and brain fog, being more irritable, and even memory loss.
Again, this can be caused by a shift in your estrogen, thyroid, progesterone, and adrenal hormones. When they are compromised in any way it can lead to extreme fatigue. If you experience this level of exhaustion it is important to have your hormone levels checked out, as many circumstances can cause fatigue and should be ruled out.
Exercise Yourself To Sleep
The number one thing you can do to help with the exhaustion is make sure the sleep you do get is deep and restful. We know that this can sometimes be easier said than done, especially if your nights are plagued with hot flashes. Believe it or not, exercise is the secret sauce you are looking for here (outside of the not-so-secret sauce we specialise in at Yunique!) Along with daily meditation to help reset your stress levels, activities that get your heart rate up, such as running, brisk walking, cycling, and swimming, have been shown to improve sleep. Even 10 minutes of aerobic exercise a day can deepen your sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Mood Changes & Depression
Sometimes the symptoms of Menopause can become more serious. A lot of women experience depression at one point or another in their lives, but the hormone changes leading up to and during menopause can make you more susceptible to mood-related issues.
The women who are most at risk at this time are those who have had depression in the past or experienced postpartum depression. But the blues can hit any woman during perimenopause. Estrogen levels are directly related to your mood, so any sudden dip can have a mood-altering effect. Not to mention that this effect can be exacerbated for some women as the onset of menopausal symptoms can be distressing in their own right.
Self-Care Is Key
Perimenopause and menopause can be a sensitive time for many women, and it becomes particularly important to build up a good self-care practice to get you through times that are emotionally difficult. Do things that you enjoy such as hobbies that nurture your creative side, long walks in nature, and spending time with good friends. And always make sure to seek out professional help if you need it.
Don’t Suffer In Silence, BHRT Can Help!
Our experience with our patients (which is of course backed by research) is that BHRT can help significantly with many of the symptoms listed above. We offer BHRT in the form of creams, capsules and pellets.
How Do BHRT Pellets Work?
Our preferred method of delivery for you to experience the power of plant-derived hormones is through pellet insertions. It’s a painless procedure where we insert a pellet about the size of a grain of rice, filled with the potency of the plant-derived hormones, just under the skin.
The process is quick and virtually painless. A local anaesthetic is applied to the injection site, then a tiny incision is then made in the skin, and the pellet is put into place by trained medical staff. Lastly, the incision site is sealed with a piece of medical tape to allow it to heal fast. There is no need for stitches or fear of scarring. Bioidentical hormone pellets are prescription based and designed to work with each patient’s unique body chemistry, slowly releasing hormones in a natural dosage throughout the treatment cycle. Pellet therapy has not been associated with increased risk of any adverse conditions or diseases.
Menopause is more than just hot flashes, and we at YM are here to help. As a patient, you’ll meet with our medical staff and your blood sample will be reviewed. Then, we’ll create a treatment plan that’s personalized for your specific needs.
Larry Siegel, NP – YM
Larry Siegel is an ARNP and certified SottoPelle practitioner who offers his services at several clinics in the greater Ocala, Daytona Beach, and Villages area of Florida. He founded YM in 2016 in order to create a clinic that offered only the highest quality of ongoing care and anti-aging therapies (including bioidentical hormone replacement, and more) outside the rigid standards of traditional medicine.