Menopause is defined as when woman has not had a period in 12 months and certain hormone blood tests are in menopausal ranges. The average age of menopause is 51, some women become menopausal sooner, some later. You’re only menopausal after a hysterectomy if your ovaries we also removed. Obviously it is harder to know when a woman without a uterus is menopausal, but often symptoms will indicate the hormone levels could be tested to discover that she is menopausal.
Unfortunately, menopause is not like flipping a switch, one day you are producing all your female hormones, the next day you’re not and are menopausal. The years, sometimes 10+, leading up to menopause are called perimenopause, and it is a time of hormone imbalance that should be addressed.
Women as early as their mid 30s, but definitely in their 40s can start having menstrual irregularities, low sex drive, mood swings, sleep issues, vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, even hot flashes despite having a period each month. Both Estrogen Dominance and Low Testosterone are common in perimenpause. The later is especially true for women who have used hormonal contraception. Even if they stopped a long time ago, it is common for the estrogen and progesterone to return to normal levels, but not the testosterone. In fact doctors don’t often tell women that hormonal contraception suppresses their testosterone levels as well as estrogen and progesterone. This is why low sex drive is a common side effect of hormonal contraception. I guess there’s a double contraceptive effect to them.
Dr. Hall often gives health seminars on hormones. Contact the office and ask when the next date is, and plan to join us, or if you know you want to get started, use the contact form to request an appointment.