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Hot Flashes, Vaginal Dryness, Low Libido

As we age, our ovarian function declines naturally. We produce less estrogen and progesterone, and we stop ovulating. This decline begins in our late thirties, with mild symptoms becoming apparent sometime in our early to late forties, depending on our level of ovarian health and reserve, at which time we're in perimenopause.

Menopause is the complete cessation of our menstrual cycles, a natural season in the life cycle of a woman. More often menopause occurs in our early-to-mid fifties. Skipped periods, especially accompanied by hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, low sex drive, vaginal dryness, depression, anxiety, and memory problems is sure indication you are moving into the next season of life.

This doesn't have to be problematic though or labeled depression. When you enter this season of life in good health these changes are more about turning into self, being less the social butterfly or climbing the corporate ladder, less the servant of others and creator of new life, and more about enjoying your quiet time, mentoring others, and slowing down to smell the roses. While your intimate relationships should still be vibrant and full of pleasure, they maybe aren't playing a dominant role in your life anymore. This is welcomed by many; they share a gratefulness in not having overwhelming desire. They embrace the peace and freedom of becoming a crone.

However, keep in mind, where menopause and growing older is not often valued in our society, we can manifest discomforts and fears that resonate from that mindset and this is what I hope to rectify in my clients. Embracing each season of life allows you to optimize the advantages of these times, to welcome the evolution, and to discern natural transitioning from pathology. None of these changes should cause misery or disrupt your life.

It is important to identify your risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, and demential later in life and if you have primary ovarian insufficiency or failure prior to age 42 years, your risk is elevated. But even severe symptoms in women in their natural perimenopause years - particularly severe hot flashes - suggest an elevated risk for heart attacks, cognitive decline, and breast cancer so don't rough it and push through. Communicate with your primary care provider, someone who will listen to you and take you seriously.

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