Despite the common and widespread jokes, menopause isn’t all that funny when you’re actually going through it.
Peri-menopause (the years before menopause begins) and menopause can lead to mood changes that keep you from feeling like yourself.
Newsflash: menopause doesn’t have to be a negative experience! There are solutions out there that can help you feel like yourself again. Let’s find out more!
Menopause isn’t what you might think it is.
First things first: menopause is normal. Yes, it can be inconvenient and challenging to experience, but it’s an expected phase of life. Most women can expect to reach menopause between ages 40 and 58. The average age of onset is 51.
So, what is menopause exactly?
As we age, our ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
- Estrogen is responsible for a woman’s reproductive function and cycle, as well as the physical differences between women’s and men’s bodies.
- Progesterone regulates the menstrual cycle and helps the body prepare for and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
The loss of these hormones means that a woman won’t ovulate (release eggs) anymore, and therefore, won’t have a period.
Technically, a woman is considered to have reached menopause only when her last period was at least 12 months in the past. In other words, menopause = period-free for at least a year. However, menopause doesn’t happen overnight.
The gradual decline in estrogen and progesterone levels happens over a transitional period called peri-menopause.
Peri-menopause can last from 4 to 10 years and can be plagued by symptoms like:
- Irregular periods
- Changes in hair growth
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Weakening bones
- Weight gain
Physical symptoms are often accompanied by mood-related symptoms, such as mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, and inability to focus.
Many women might think they are “in menopause” because they have these symptoms. But unless you’ve been period-free for a full year, you’re more likely in peri-menopause.
Reduced levels of estrogen and serotonin can cause depression during menopause.
A messenger (neurotransmitter) called serotonin is a key player in depression. Serotonin is commonly known as the “happiness” molecule. It helps regulate mood, emotion, and general feelings of positivity and well-being.
When serotonin levels are low, you may feel symptoms of depression. How is this relevant to our discussion of menopause and low estrogen levels?
Well, scientists have discovered that estrogen and serotonin are closely linked. Estrogen offers a supportive role in maintaining adequate serotonin levels. So, when estrogen levels decrease, serotonin levels also decrease.
Despite menopause, it’s possible to feel like yourself again. Here’s how.
What if there was a way to replace the hormones your body loses during peri-menopause? Well, there is, and it’s called hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
A recent study shows that HRT may actually help prevent depressive symptoms associated with menopause.
You might have heard of HRT before, but did you know there’s a better type of HRT called bio-identical HRT?
- Synthetic hormones are similar to, but not exactly like the hormones we produce naturally. This slight difference often leads to significant side effects.
- On the other hand, bioidentical hormones are – you guessed it! – identical to the hormones we naturally produce.
The Compounding Center is dedicated to providing customized, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) for our patients.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Jim Paoletti, a pharmacist and BHRT expert, to bring you a personalized BHRT program. Jim is an expert in aging, functional medicine, and BHRT. He brings 35 years of experience working with hormones.
Through the personalized BHRT program, Jim:
- Works closely with your doctor to communicate your goals
- Finds the perfect dose of hormones for your individual body and needs
- Answers any questions you have during the adjustment period
Call The Compounding Center to make your 1-on-1 appointment with Jim Paoletti, BHRT expert.
Available sessions are limited, so reserve your spot today.
For more information, visit:
- The Cleveland Clinic
- Medline Plus
- Efficacy of transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone in the prevention of depressive symptoms in the menopause transition: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry.
- Mood and menopause: findings from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) over 10 years. Obstet. Gynecol. Clin.