Aging Well: In the Driver’s Seat on the Road to Menopause
Aging well or staying healthy is a challenge we all face. Hormones play a leading role in how our bodies function, and can affect how healthy we feel. During National Women’s Health Week, we encourage all of our patients and their families to take a more active role in their health.
As we get older, production of some hormones typically decrease, while others increase, and the effects of both can show in rather annoying ways, like hot flashes, pain having sex, osteoporosis and unwanted hair growth. Specifically as they relate to natural menopause, the three hormones that diminish over time, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone play vital roles in the production of sex hormones, but these hormones have a broader reach than the reproductive system.
Menopause can also happen immediately after a bilateral (both sides) oopherectomy (ovary removal). Having an oopherectomy is a more definitive marker for menopause onset. That said, women don’t have to enter perimenopause blind.
The average age of menopause in the United States is around 51. Perimenopause generally begins 4 years prior to menopause. As this is a moving target, it’s important to understand the symptoms as early as your late 30s/early 40s; These can include irregular menstrual cycles, endocrine changes, and symptoms such as hot flashes.
AGING WELL: THE ROLE OF HORMONES
The ovaries are responsible for the production of estrogen and progesterone. Along with the adrenal glands, they also produce testosterone. These hormones are released by the ovary and circulate throughout the entire body.
Many organs within the body have receptors for these hormones, such as the breast, uterine lining, vagina, bone, and blood vessels. These hormones are mainly responsible for reproduction, but also have a role in many other functions of the body, such as maintenance of bone and cardiovascular health, and in regulation of body fluid.
Especially if you are preparing to have your ovaries removed, trying to understand the role of hormone replacement therapy during afterwards can be confusing. Conflicting information from the healthcare industry and media has compounded the problem.
Whether a woman enters menopause naturally or surgically, at The Center for Innovative GYN Care, our surgical specialists have the experience to provide women with tailored hormone replacement therapy when appropriate, and understand that each woman experiences menopause differently.
Learn more about hormone replacement therapy or lifestyle modifications.
If you are planning to have an oopherectomy, GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD or Dr. Natalya Danilyants are experts in the most minimally invasive procedures, as well as managing HRT for patients following surgery. Book a consultation today.