Menopause can strike women at almost any time in their adult lives, from their 30s through their 60s. For most, however, the first stages of menopause come between the ages of 40 to 58, with an average age of 51.
There are many things that might influence womens health and the time at which menopause occurs, much of which researchers are still struggling to understand. Chronic stress might be a factor, according to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, which found a correlation between early menopause and prolonged financial difficulties.
Menopause can be an uncomfortable period of time for any woman because, like puberty, there are so many hormonal changes happening in the body at a relatively rapid pace. There are menopause solutions, however.
One treatment that has caught a lot of media buzz in recent years is bioidentical hormone therapy. While that might sound like a lot of medical mumbo-jumbo, the name is really quite self-explanatory once you understand how it works and why.
What does “bioidentical” mean?
“Bio” refers to biology, or our bodies, and “identical” means, well, the same. Bioidentical hormones are synthesized products from plants or animals in pill form designed to perfectly match the hormones naturally produced by your body.
Why would I need more hormones during menopause?
The symptoms and mood swings that frequently result as an effect of going through menopause are actually the result of a lack of the usual hormones your body is used to receiving — estrogen and progesterone, for instance, which are no longer needed when you’re past the reproductive phase.
Is hormone replacement therapy safe?
Yes. For women entering menopause during their 50s, bioidentical hormone therapy can be conducted safely for up to five years. There is no proven correlation between hormone treatments and an increased risk of heart disease, as has sometimes been reported by the media. However, all women in their 50s should meet with their doctors to be tested for risk factors like breast cancer and high blood pressure anyways.
If you’re thinking about bioidentical hormone therapy or want to know more, the best person to talk with is a trained physician. Seek advice with your doctor or at a local fertility clinic to learn whether it’s right for you.