The definition of "Menopause" is 12 months of no periods which happens on average around 51 years old. The North American Menopausal Society (NAMS) is the scientific organization that is committed to peri/menopausal health. Dr. Leach is the only NAMS certified menopausal practitioner in the East Bay. This certification requires ongoing life learning and rigorous competency testing. A certified menopausal practitioner is aware of the most up to date treatment options for various changes in cognition, sexual health, bone and heart health associated with the menopausal transition.
Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and painful sex the result of no ovarian estrogen, can have a significant impact on quality of life. Hormone therapy implies taking a medicine to replace what your ovaries used to make, specifically estrogen. Hormone therapy can be taken by mouth, placed on the skin, or put in the vagina. Hormone replacement has both risks and benefits, but when a woman starts taking hormones within 10 years of stopping her periods, this may decrease her future risk for heart attack or stroke.
Bioidentical hormone therapy are prescription medicines that are made by a compounding pharmacy with a similar biochemical structure to natural ovarian estrogen/progesterone. Bioidentical hormones are made from plants rather than animals or chemicals. Bioidentical hormones are buzz words that make medicine sound more natural leaving the impression they are safer. Actually, bioidentical hormones are rarely studied and can have varying degrees of safety and are of unproven efficacy. NAMS recommends that women be prescribed scientifically proven safe and effective drugs when comes to hot flashes and genitourinary health.
Hot flashes and sweats can occur in 90% of women and vaginal dryness in 70% of women in the menopausal transition. These symptoms can have a significant impact on activities of daily living and quality of sleep, leading to insomnia, lack of focus, mood swings, poor libido, extreme irritability, depression. Hormone replacement therapy for women with moderate to severe symptoms, can often reduce 80% of these symptoms.
Estrogen replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms are typically recommended for women having moderate to severe hot flashes. Mild symptoms may be relieved with lifestyle changes, mind-body techniques, dietary management and supplements, and prescription therapies. Surveys suggest that 50-80% of midlife women use nonhormonal therapies for hot flashes. Consult with a certified menopausal practitioner like Dr. Leach, to get the most up to date recommendations on treatment options.
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