Find out everything you've ever wanted to know about menopause but were too scared to ask. Let the professional and friendly staff at the Menopause Center Of Minnesota help you with personalized counseling, education, support, and guidance so you can learn about all of the treatment options available to you.
Q: What is menopause?
A: The word menopause is defined as a woman’s last menstrual period. One year without any bleeding confirms that a woman is menopausal. The average age for menopause is 51.
Q: What is perimenopause?
A: Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause. Hormone levels can begin to change and symptoms can occur as early as age 35. Perimenopause is the period of time when symptoms will be most apparent and may be significant enough to affect a woman’s quality of life.
Q: What are bioidentical hormones?
A: Bioidentical hormones are plant-based and compounded to be biochemically the same as the reproductive hormones a woman’s body produces. The molecules of estradiol (estrogen), progesterone, and testosterone are exact replicas and perform in the body as the original hormones did.
Q: Where can I get bioidentical hormones?
A: There are both pharmaceutically-produced hormones and custom compounded products. The pharmaceuticals are available with a prescription at any pharmacy. The custom-compounded must be obtained at a compounding pharmacy which is licensed to produce these products at their facility.
Q: How do the 2 types of bioidentical hormone products differ?
A: The pharmaceuticals are mass-produced and, therefore, do have preservatives for a longer shelf life. They also have a fewer variety of dosages, so it is harder to individualize dosing. Compounded bioidentical hormones are ordered on an individualized basis, contain no preservatives, can be made in whatever dosage or form (capsule, cream, lozenges) prescribed and can combine hormones together into one prescription.
Q: What hormones do you prescribe at the Menopause Center?
A: We prescribe only bioidentical hormones: estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, in both pharmaceutical and compounded forms.
Q: Do I need to have lab work done?
A: Rarely, though lab values can be helpful. At the center, we can order blood testing. Decisions, whether to test, are based on each woman’s history, current issues, hormone status and response to therapy.
Q: What is the Menopause Center?
A: The Menopause Center is a place where we listen to women. It's a mentoring program to help you through the transition of perimenopause. Together, you and the provider create a plan that is tailored to your needs and respectful of your choices. At your first visit, you will be asked about the issues or symptoms you are experiencing. This discussion forms the basis for your plan. Follow-up sessions and appointments can determine if any changes need to be made to your plan. Your first appointment is 60 minutes with follow up appointments generally 30 minutes each.
Q: Why create a center just for menopause?
A: Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life. It is not a disease and does not necessarily require any treatment. Because many of the physical and psychological symptoms can interfere with daily activities, quality of life, and lead to chronic medical diseases, a menopause center that provides counseling, time and services is beneficial.
During perimenopause/menopause, you may experience physical and psychological symptoms. These may occur for a few weeks, months or sometimes 10 years or more. Your symptoms may vary over time.
Symptoms can include:
- Changes in menstrual cycle and flow
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Excessive fatigue or insomnia
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Decreased libido
- Changes in sexual sensation and response
- Dry skin and hair loss
- Fuzzy thinking
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory changes
- Vaginal dryness
- Heart palpitations
- Redistribution of body fat
- Restless, jumpy legs
- Urine leakage
- Breast tenderness
- Negative reaction to touch
Q: How is menopause diagnosed?
A: Most women go through menopause between ages 45 and 60. The average age for menstrual periods to stop completely is 51 for women in the United States. Your healthcare provider will ask about your health history. You may have blood tests but often your menstrual cycle history and symptoms are enough to offer treatment.
Q: How is menopause treated?
A: There are a number of options that can help prevent problems and diminish symptoms, including herbs and supplements. Many women choose to take estrogen, progesterone and / or testosterone to replace what their body is no longer producing. This treatment is called hormone therapy (HT). The types of HT prescribed at the Menopause Center are bioidentical, biochemically identical to, and mimicking the function of your own body’s hormones.
Q: What services are available at the Menopause Center?
A: You may schedule appointments for:
- Menopause and health education
- Hormone decision making and therapy