By Pat News, RNC, NP, MSN
Women pass through many “stages” of life. Some of these stages are based on a woman’s hormone status-prepubescence, menarche or puberty, adolescence, childbearing, perimenopause and menopause. Certainly, each of these phases has its own tasks and challenges, but perimenopause can be the most stressful due to its vagueness as a medical occurrence, its sometimes drastic physical and psychological changes to a woman’s well being, and its possible duration of ten years.
Some women travel through perimenopause without any symptoms at all. Others may experience sleep disturbances, night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, irregular periods, bloating, dry skin, headaches, weight gain, depression, food cravings, heavier periods, decreased sex drive and, (dare I say it?) YADA, YADA, YADA. These changes can usually be attributed to a hormone imbalance due to a lack of consistent ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary at midcycle). This decline in ovulation leads to a decline in progesterone production and results in an environment of estrogen dominance and the resultant symptoms listed above.
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The usual tendency is to want to ADD more estrogen which only makes the undesirable symptoms worse and can make a woman feel more confused, isolated and desperate to feel better. A simple saliva test done in the privacy of your own home can determine the levels of hormones available for use in your body. This saliva measurement is of a different philosophy than checking your blood levels in that salivary testing reflects the amount of bio-available active hormones, which determine symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Be aware of the difference and choose what is best for you after researching the subject and discussing this with your health care provider.
Progesterone, either in a natural or bio-identical formula, can often help to rebalance female hormones and alleviate many, if not all, of the undesirable symptoms a woman experiences. When taken orally, progesterone decreases water retention, improves mental function, increases sex drive, decreases anxiety and depression and increases the effectiveness of other hormones, including thyroid, testosterone and estrogen. These other hormones, including testosterone, thyroid and the adrenal hormones, should also be considered as an integral part of the hormone puzzle.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to discuss hormone imbalance call Pat News Health Care at 661-799-7000.
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