Menopause occurs when a woman’s body slows down its production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Menopause is said to have occurred when a woman has not had her period for 12 consecutive months. The time leading up to menopause is often referred to as perimenopause, and this is when many menopause-related symptoms occur.
Although estrogen and progesterone are associated with sexual health and reproduction, they affect many other body processes and systems as well. As their production declines, an array of symptoms can develop, including:
Although menopause cannot be “cured,” the symptoms of menopause can be treated. Some treatments are designed to address specific symptoms, like lubricants and estrogen creams to treat vaginal dryness or medications for depression or sleep problems. Many women benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) using natural hormones that are created to mimic the chemical structure of naturally-produced hormones for greater benefits and fewer potential side effects. HRT works systemically to treat multiple symptoms and help women lead more comfortable lives.
Yes, today’s natural hormones make HRT a safe and effective approach to menopause care for many women. Like any long-term medical treatment, regular office visits are important to ensure treatment remains on track, and blood tests are also important for making sure dosing remains optimized for each woman as her unique needs evolve over time.
Once periods have completely ended, pregnancy cannot occur. However, during the months and years leading up to menopause - the time known as perimenopause - a woman can still become pregnant, although her chances are much slimmer. Birth control should still be used during this time.
*Individual results may vary