For women, the forward march of time will inevitably include entry into menopause, which is when your body winds down its reproductive phase. With this new phase comes a change in hormone levels that can cause side effects that range from mild to severe, and Dr. Daniel B. Channell, gynecologist at the Channell Family Medical Group in Rancho Cucamonga, California, has several great tools in his arsenal to combat these changes, allowing you to maintain your quality of life.
Menopause is a natural occurrence in a woman that signals the end of her reproductive years. When you are born, you have a finite number of eggs that are stored in your ovaries, which are controlled and released by the estrogen in your system during your childbearing years. When your egg supply begins to dwindle, your body begins to transition out of a childbearing mode by decreasing estrogen production, which leads to menopause.
Before you enter full menopause, you will usually experience a perimenopausal period, which typically starts in your mid to late 40s. This time is usually characterized by irregular periods. When you have gone 12 months or more without menstruating, you are considered to be in menopause. Most women reach menopause in their late 40s and early 50s.
With menopause comes a decrease in estrogen production, which can cause many side effects, such as:
• Vaginal dryness
• Hot flashes and night sweats
• Weight gain
• Sleep problems
• Dry skin and hair thinning
• Bone density loss
The severity of these side effects varies from one woman to the next, with some experiencing very little change, while others experience dramatic differences in physical and mental health.
If your symptoms are becoming a quality of life issue, call and make an appointment with Dr. Channell to learn about your options for treating these side effects.
It is important to note that menopause cannot be cured or prevented, but the side effects associated with menopause can. Since the main driver behind the changes is the drop in estrogen, Dr. Channell uses the following therapies to lessen this drop and its effects:
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
HRT adds estrogen and, if warranted, progestin, to offset the natural loss of hormones. Doses will vary depending on the symptoms being treated and are administered orally, by injection, through creams, or with patches.
Bioidentical Hormone Pellet Therapy
Pellet therapy involves small implants placed under the skin that slowly releases a bio-identical hormone. The implants contain individually calculated levels of estradiol or testosterone and are slowly metabolized over the course of a few months, similar to how natural hormones are secreted.
To find the best therapy for you, Dr. Channell will assess your symptoms and your goals to find an appropriate solution.