Like the surge of a sudden summer storm, the onset of menopause can overtake you with bolts of hot flashes, humid sweats and an overall feeling of darkness and gloom. Or perhaps it creeps up on you like a slowly choking vine with increasing fatigue, languishing libido, fuzzy memory or a daily dance with the "blahs".
Humor for this time of change in a woman's life has been popularized in Suzanne Somers' "The Seven Dwarfs of Menopause: Itchy, Bitchy, Sleepy, Sweaty, Bloated, Forgetful, and All-Dried Up"; satirized in plays like Menopause the Musical;and of course, taken the brunt of men's jokes for years.
However, "the change" is no joking matter as any woman going through menopause can tell you. I personally have seen the bitter side with my own wife, friends and patients as I witnessed the mental and physical anguish it caused. As a doctor, I was also increasingly aware of the health problems that would soon ensue.
Menopause leads to an abrupt absence of the very hormones that make a woman feminine and healthy. The symptoms of sleeplessness, hot flashes and moodiness are only the tip of the iceberg. Menopause trumpets the onslaught of much more vicious enemies to a woman's health: the degeneration of her heart, brain, bones, skin and the essence of her sexuality.
Previously, the only course of treatment for these maladies was a cornucopia of prescription drugs such as anti-depressants, sleeping pills, tranquilizers and synthetic hormones. All of which caused a multitude of possible side effects.
Luckily, there have been breakthroughs in the management of menopause with Bio-identical Hormone Therapy, which has leveled the playing field for women against this foe. Bio-identical hormones have changed everything. Growing old does not have to include becoming emotionally and physically sick, or losing sexual desire. Now women can preserve their health and sanity, enjoying the wisdom, security, and gracefulness that can and should come with healthy aging.
My patients and family are enjoying the benefits of my specialization in this promising field of medicine. As a physician, I find it rewarding to be practicing medicine in these times when we now have the tools to restore the quality of life safely, adding healthy, happy and satisfying years to my patients' lives.