A woman is considered to have entered menopause once she has not had a menstrual period for more than one year. Physiologically, menopause is associated with a reduction in estrogen, as well as a significant reduction in progesterone. For many women, this decline in ovarian function can be accompanied by a spectrum of symptoms in varying degrees of severity. Hot flashes is the most frequent complaint, but many will experience memory decline, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, vaginal dryness causing painful intercourse, decreased libido, ‘crawly skin’, and frequent urinary tract infections. It is during the menopausal years that we see an increase in diseases associated with aging, such as breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Research indicates that the development of these disease processes actually begins during peri-menopause, as hormone production starts to decline and a relative imbalance arises. Restoration of hormone levels with bio-identical hormones to premenopausal physiologic levels can significantly reduce your risk of developing these conditions. This is the underlying premise of anti-aging medicine – that of treating the cause rather than just the symptoms.
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