Menopause is filled with generally filled with pitfalls and frustrations, mood swings and irritability, sleep problems and the loss of hormonal balance. Generally, there are three types of menopause:
1) Menopause that occurs naturally
This type of menopause will happen naturally and gradually over time in a woman that has both or at least one of her ovaries. Naturally occurring menopause shoes up most typically between the ages of 45 and 55. While every woman is different, the typical duration of naturally occurring menopause is approximately 5-10 years. In some cases, the entire menopausal process can take nearly 13 years. As your body changes and your hormones are thrown out of balance, your periods may decrease or they may increase. Changes in menses can include:
- Changes in duration
- Changes in intensity
- Changes in flow
Not all women experiencing naturally occurring menopause need treatment aimed at improving physical comfort and menopausal symptoms. However, most women choose bio-identical hormones due to their anti-aging effects as well as their ability to improve quality of life, improve mood, increase sexual desire and libido, improve sleep and energy as well as many other health effects. There are many factors that can determine the severity of symptoms and physical discomfort, such as your overall general health. The healthier you are overall, the less severe the symptoms of menopause tend to be as your body adequately adapts to subtle changes over time. This is the best case scenario, in which a woman's body, is able to transition gradually as it keeps pace with the transitioning physical and emotional demands. Take home message here - the intensity of naturally occurring menopause will depend on your overall physical health as well as everything else that is going on in your life. Balanced hormones can lead to improved quality of life.
2) Menopause that occurs prematurely
This type of menopause will happen more quickly and rapidly in women that have both or at least one ovary. Prematurely occurring menopause shows up typically in women in their early 30's to early 40's. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 100 women will make the transition into menopause as early as age 40 or even younger. Some risk factors involved in premature menopause are:
- Chronic stress
- Autoimmune conditions
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Other illnesses
- Excessive athletic conditioning
While every woman is different, the typical duration for a woman experiencing prematurely occurring menopause is approximately 1-3 years - much shorter than naturally occurring menopause. Generally speaking, most women experiencing prematurely occurring menopause need hormonal replacement therapy.
3) Menopause that is artificial
This type of menopause happens abruptly and can be very disruptive for a women in many different ways. Artificial menopause is most commonly associated with surgical removal of the reproductive tract and ovaries (hysterectomy) or disruption of the blood supply that carries oxygen to the ovaries. Other factors that can interfere with blood supply to the ovarian tissue can include the following:
- Radiation therapy
- Pharmaceutical drug therapies
The resulting hormonal changes and the body's inability to adapt gradually to these changes, can often lead to debilitating symptoms. Symptoms are often extreme and severe. This type of menopause always requires bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Most women experiencing the effects of artificial menopause are desperate for help with the way they feel and respond to treatments which are aimed at alleviating their physical symptoms as well as improving their overall quality of life.
If you are interested in learning more about your treatment options for hormones and menopause, call 707-292-8882
Our Integrative Medical Clinic is located in Santa Rosa
Naturopathic health care with compassionate integrative doctors who understand your unique medical needs.