Hormone replacement therapies for women typically focus on restoring proper estrogen balance. Menopause reduces estrogen levels, which can result in a variety of unpleasant symptoms. In addition to the traditional hot flashes, other symptoms can include skin dryness, vaginal dryness, and even issues with concentration and memory.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a safe and effective way to restore your estrogen balance using hormones that are chemically identical to those produced by your body. Most women begin BHRT once menopause begins, but you may wonder if you can benefit from this treatment even earlier. Keep reading for three situations where BHRT may be appropriate before menopause begins.
1. You're In Perimenopause
Menopause is a gradual transition that includes three stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. The length and effects of each stage vary between women, and some women may enter perimenopause much earlier than others. This stage is the earliest period when your estrogen levels will begin to decline.
While symptoms are often milder during perimenopause, you can still speak to a healthcare provider about beginning BHRT. Not only will BHRT likely reduce your symptoms, but it may have long-term health benefits during the postmenopause phase. Current research indicates that starting therapy earlier may improve these health benefits.
2. You're Experiencing Anxiety
Anxiety can have many causes, both biological and environmental. However, estrogen imbalances may play a role in some symptoms of anxiety. These symptoms can occur during the normal menstrual cycle, during perimenopause, or due to another condition. While you should never assume that increased anxiety is due to a hormonal imbalance, it's worth paying attention to sudden changes in your mood.
Talking with a provider about BHRT may be worthwhile if you've already explored other avenues for why you may be feeling increased anxiety. Your doctor will likely want to test for low estrogen levels and other conditions, but BHRT may be able to help alleviate these symptoms if those tests discover an imbalance.
3. You Experience Severe or Irregular Periods
Most women experience fairly regular periods outside of puberty and before perimenopause. If you've experienced heavy, uncomfortable, or irregular periods for most of your life, you may be suffering from an undiagnosed hormonal issue. These symptoms can cause periods to become a very disruptive part of your life.
As with other health conditions, it's important to consult your healthcare provider about the possible underlying causes. Fortunately, your doctor can test for estrogen levels and determine if BHRT may be a sensible treatment option. Even if you're a long way from menopause, this therapy may be able to help you address your severe or irregular periods.
Make an appointment with a medical clinic, such as Southern Integrative & Environmental Medical, to discuss bioidentical hormone replacement.