Symptoms of Menopause: When Sex Hurts

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At the time of menopause, women who had previously enjoyed sex may develop vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse. They may also experience difficulty achieving orgasm. A milder version of this can occur in perimenopause, the time interval that precedes menopause. Perimenopause can last for three months or as long as ten years before menopause. The age at which natural menopause occurs tends to be similar to that of your mother.

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Perimenopause – Making It a Smoother Transition

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Perimenopause, the time around menopause, can last a few months to several years. It can begin as early as the late thirties but typically starts in the forties. An occasional woman will have normal cycles with no symptoms until her last menstrual period in her fifties but that’s the exception rather than the rule. For many women, it’s a rocky road, where they feel they’ve lost control over their bodies!

What changes are associated with perimenopause?

Women will notice that their menstrual cycles shorten from 28 days to 20-24 days. At the same time, the menstrual flow usually gets heavier and/or longer. Instead of the typical four or five-day period, it becomes seven to ten days! The period may worsen so that she’s bleeding three weeks out of each month! The bleeding can be profuse and associated with huge clots and some women are homebound on those days.

Excessive bleeding at this time is the most common cause for the 600,000 hysterectomies that are done each year! If women educate themselves about this problem, they will be able to seek medical help and prevent the need for such hysterectomies!

A woman may have never had premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but she suddenly finds she’s experiencing PMS symptoms like irritability, mood swings or migraine headaches in the time preceding their period. Weight gain especially around the midline, is another bothersome symptom! Women complain they’re eating the same as before but they’re gaining weight for no apparent reason. Or diets that previously worked for them have no results!

Other perimenopausal symptoms include insomnia, hot flashes, palpitations, dizzy spells, constipation and fluid retention. The symptoms are similar to menopause but they are milder and often intermittent. This intermittent aspect can present a challenging problem because if the woman is given hormone replacement (HRT) for bad symptoms when her body’s production of estrogen is low, HRT can later cause weight gain and other symptoms when her own estrogen “comes back!”

Each and every woman will go through perimenopause at some time in her life. Educating yourself now and working with an experienced physician who also recognizes these changes will greatly facilitate this time in your life.

Look & Feel Younger with Estrogen

 

Look & Feel Younger with Estrogen

The beginning of the new year is a time when many women want to lose weight and improve their appearance. Why not do this by restoring deficient hormones that occur with aging? It often starts with telltale signs like fine wrinkles around the eyes or mouth and dry, sagging skin. Menopausal women often deny themselves estrogen because they’re fearful of breast cancer. Yet, they’re not informed there are more risks from NOT taking estrogen! Heart disease and strokes kill more women each year (400,000) than the next sixteen causes of death including diabetes, all forms of cancer, AIDS and accidents! Estrogen decreases Alzheimer’s and dementia by 50% and osteoporosis by 40%. I wrote my book, “Outliving Your Ovaries: An Endocrinologist Reviews the Risks and Rewards of Treating Menopause with Hormone Replacement Therapy,” to give women a guidebook for evaluating and selecting the safest forms of estrogen.

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Is it better to go through menopause naturally?

December 20th, 2015

 

I’m often asked by women, “Isn’t it better to go through menopause naturally?  If God’s design was for us to go through menopause, why should we still be taking estrogen?”

 

Menopause simply means the end of a woman’s ability to bear children.  In 1900, the average age of menopause was 51, just like it is today, BUT in 1900, the average life expectancy for a woman was 50!  Many women in the 1800s died in childbirth and men often remarried because of this loss.

 

Today in 2015, life expectancy for women is pushing 80!  So essentially with modern medical advances, God has graced women with 30 extra years of life!  What are we to do with this precious gift of 30 extra years that He’s given us?? Are we to squander that gift by letting our bodies fall apart?

 

I think of my body as God’s temple that He’s given to me on loan.  God expects us to be good stewards and care for our bodies.  Taking estrogen is simply putting back a substance that’s part of your original design. Estrogen is a vital hormone that has over 400 actions on a woman’s body.  When you were twenty, you took estrogen for granted because everything worked automatically.  When you become menopausal and your estrogen levels fall, only then do you appreciate it’s significance

 

Women who don’t take estrogen have a higher risk of heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s.   If this risk can be reduced with estrogen, why would you want to deprive yourself of this potential benefit?

 

I’m not saying ALL women should take estrogen, but every woman at some time in her life needs to make this important decision.  I want women to make that decision based on facts, not from fear and misinformation!  That’s why I wrote my book, “Outliving Your Ovaries:  An Endocrinologist Review the Risks and Rewards of Treating Menopause with Hormone Replacement.”

 

As I close on this weekend before we celebrate Christmas, I want to take a moment to thank God for all the blessings that he’s given me. With all the flurry of gift-giving and social activities at this time, it’s easy for us to forget that Jesus is the reason for this season.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Dr. Johnson

Where Do We Stand Now?

Although the debate over the safety of hormone replacement still rages in the press, it appears some semblance of common sense is beginning to be heard. Yes, we need more confirming studies, but today’s women – myself included – cannot be put on hold and forced to wait another 10 to 20 years until all of the definitive studies have been completed. As with so many other issues in medicine, physicians have to use their best clinical judgment based on the information available now. Each woman needs to make these decisions with input from her own physician.

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Gina’s Journey: A Hysterectomy Story

Dr. Marina Johnson explains hysterectomies, What is a  Hysterectomy? Undergoing a hysterectomy is major surgery and when you have cancer, severe uterine prolapse or any serious condition that has failed medical therapy, it is warranted. Gina's Journey: A Hysterectomy Story

I often have women tell me – “I wish I’d never had my ovaries removed because all my problems started after I had that surgery.” Women with benign disease are sometimes told, “You’ve had all your children. You might as well take everything out so you can’t get ovarian cancer.”

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Considering Breast Cancer-Reducing Your Risk – Part 2 of 4

Flexing woman symbol is a registered trademark of Kathys Divas

 

Risk Factors You Can Modify To Decrease Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Obesity

Obesity and weight gain during adult life increases risk of postmenopausal (but not premenopausal) breast cancer because fat tissue increases estrogen levels. The adverse effect of obesity on breast cancer is strongest in women who do not use HRT. In the Nurses’ Health study, women gaining 22 pounds or more after menopause increased their risk by 18% while losing at least 22 pounds lowered their breast cancer risk by 57%.

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Can Estrogen Protect Women Against Heart Disease?

Can Estrogen Protect Women Against Heart Disease?

 

Topical Estrogen Gives Better Protection Against Heart Disease – A compelling recent study in the European Heart Journal, September 2008 was designed to answer the question: Does estrogen cause heart attacks? A group of 698,098 healthy Danish postmenopausal women were followed for six years. The women were divided into groups by the TYPE of HT they were taking and compared to those women on no HT. The women on oral estrogen plus progestin had a 35% HIGHER occurrence of heart attacks as compared to women on no HT. The women on topical estrogen (patches, gels, NOT COMPOUNDED) had a 38% LOWER occurrence of heart attacks compared to women on no HT. So in essence, oral estrogen causes heart attacks while topical estrogen protects against heart attacks!

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The Silent Connection Between Estrogen and Osteoporosis

Dr Marina Johnson Discusses Osteoporosis and Estrogen Deficiency

 

After menopause without the use of estrogen, a woman can lose up to 20% of her bone mass. This increases her risk for osteoporosis leading to loss of height, hip fractures, chronic pain, and disability. Of women who suffer hip fractures, 24 percent die of complications within a year of the injury. Osteoporosis of the spine leads to the familiar “dowager’s hump.” A dowager’s hump is a prominence on the back resulting from collapse of the spine from spontaneous vertebral fractures. When it’s severe, the woman is totally bent over and cannot stand up straight. It is tragic to see a woman suffering from something that could have been prevented.

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Testosterone: Achieving a Delicate Balance

Testosterone and women

 

When a woman goes through menopause and her ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, the pituitary responds by increasing FSH, a hormone from the pituitary gland that has regulated these hormones throughout her reproductive life. However, when all the eggs have been depleted, no further estrogen or progesterone can be produced. Nonetheless, the pituitary, which is “hard-wired” to respond to low estrogen, continues to make increasingly higher levels of FSH.

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The content of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice,diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. This website may discuss nutritional products and protocols that have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products or the information contained on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.