Perimenopause begins in the eight to 10 years before you reach menopause. During this time, the amount of estrogen produced by your ovaries begins to fluctuate, then estrogen levels begin to drop steadily in a year or two before your period stops.
Some women continue to have normal menstrual cycles during perimenopause, while others experience changes. Their periods may be longer or shorter than normal, the flow may change, or they may begin to skip periods.
You reach menopause when your ovaries stop making estrogen. When that happens, eggs aren’t released every month and you stop having menstrual periods. You officially enter menopause after you haven’t had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. Each woman reaches menopause on her own timing, but the average age is 51.
The symptoms most women associated with menopause can begin during perimenopause and continue for years after they reach menopause. You may experience:
Estrogen affects more than your menstrual cycles. It helps keep the vaginal lining elastic and it maintains normal blood flow and lubrication in the vagina. Estrogen also helps preserve bone mass and promotes the production of collagen in your skin.
After menopause, it’s common for women to experience:
You can relieve all the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, and prevent chronic health problems like osteoporosis and urinary incontinence, by replacing estrogen. Dr. Perrin recommends restoring normal levels of estrogen with bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical hormones have the same molecular structure as those naturally produced by your body. As a result, they interact in the same way and produce the same results as your own estrogen.
Dr. Perrin prescribes bioidentical hormones made from plants. Since they come from a natural source and they’re functionally identical to natural estrogen, you can safely take bioidentical hormones over the long run to prevent menopause symptoms and maintain your health.