Menopause is the permanent cessation of reproductive fertility occurring some time before the end of the natural lifespan. The term was originally coined to describe this reproductive change in human females, where the end of fertility is traditionally indicated by the permanent stopping of monthly menstruation or “menses”. The word “menopause” literally means the “end of monthly cycles” from the Greek words pausis (cessation) and the word root men from mensis meaning (month).
In humans, menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her reproductive cycles end. It is part of a biological process that for most women is first noticed in their mid-forties. During this transition, the ovaries start producing lower levels of natural sex hormones—estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen promotes the normal development of a woman’s breasts and uterus, controls the cycle of ovulation (when an ovary releases an egg into a fallopian tube), and affects many aspects of a woman’s physical and emotional health. Progesterone controls menstruation and prepares the lining of the uterus to receive the fertilized egg.
The meaning of the word menopause has in more recent times been expanded to indicate the permanent but naturally occurring discontinuation of female fertility in many other species, even if the females of those species do not have menstrual cycles.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT, also known as bioidentical hormone therapy) refers to the treatment of symptoms and disorders of menopause using hormones that are molecularly identical to hormones naturally produced by female body. The term ‘BHRT’ is commonly used to describe a group of practices including the use of compounded hormone mixtures to attempt restoring certain levels of both hormones in the blood rather than simply aiming to provide symptom relief, which is the goal of standard hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical estrogens used in BHRT include Estradiol, Estriol and Progesterone.
Proponents of BHRT Erika Schwartz, Kent Holtorf, and Deborah Moskowitz have published peer-reviewed articles which argue that bioidentical hormones have a better safety profile than non-bioidenticals, and can be more effective.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (also called PMT or premenstrual tension) is a collection of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms related to a woman’s menstrual cycle.
PMS is a collection of symptoms. More than 200 different symptoms have been identified, but the three most prominent symptoms are irritability, tension, and dysphoria (unhappiness).[ The exact symptoms and their intensity vary from woman to woman. Most women with premenstrual syndrome experience only a few of the problems. The following symptoms can also be attributed to PMS:
- Abdominal bloating
- Abdominal cramps
- Breast tenderness or swelling
- Stress or anxiety
- Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
- Joint or muscle pain
- Mood swings
- Changes in libido
- Worsening of existing skin disorders, and respiratory (e.g., allergies, infection) or eye (bulbar disturbances,conjunctivitis) problems.
The data shows that low levels of progesterone in females may cause PMS.
In my practice, I use natural bio-identical estrogens, progesterone and other hormones that are compounded for individual use in the form of cream, gels and capsules. The desired physiological levels are monitored by the specific laboratory tests.