Menopause is a transitional phase of a woman's life in which she stops menstruating and is no longer able to bear children. In menopause, a woman’s body will produce only a fraction of the hormones that it produced in her most fertile years.
When a woman hasn't had a period for 12 months in a row, she's deemed to be in menopause. Most people have a period of perimenopause prior to full menopause. Perimenopause is the transitional phase during which periods may still occur, but they are sporadic and unreliable. This perimenopause phase lasts for several years in most women.
Most women start perimenopause in their 40s, but it can start in the 30s or even earlier in some cases. After several years of perimenopause, most women are in full menopause between the ages 45-55. The average age for full menopause is 51.
Increasingly sporadic periods, and then a complete lack of periods, is the most obvious indicator of menopause. Other common physical symptoms include:
Many women also experience emotional and mental symptoms such as mood swings and depression during menopause.
One of the most effective ways to deal with troublesome menopause symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Since the natural hormones are in such short supply during menopause, the body often has trouble with this change. Replacing the hormones can allow the body to regulate itself successfully again, and this often leads to greatly reduced symptoms or even the elimination of difficult menopause symptoms.
When designing a treatment plan for menopause symptoms, the main goal is to help the patient feel like herself again. There isn't any reason that women have to suffer during their menopausal years, so Dr. Barrett is happy to design a treatment plan that is effective for each of her patients at Centennial Women's Health Center.