Menopause Management Midlife is often called “the prime of life,” and research suggests it really is. At midlife, you are likely to be healthy and productive. By this stage, you’ve probably met many of the goals set in your life and are thinking about what to do next. Midlife is a busy time, certainly full of changes. However, myths about middle age abound. Some people think of it as a dreary stage when the best that life has to offer is over. Nothing is further from the truth. You will likely have more free time than you’ve had in years. You may switch careers, retire, go back to school, or pursue new hobbies and travel. During this time, your body changes, too. Around your mid-40’s you enter a transition phase called perimenopause. It is a time of gradual change leading up to and following menopause. In general, perimenopause extends from ages 45 to 55, although the time does vary among women. During this time, the ovaries produce more estrogen. Menopause has been called “the change of life.” It marks the end of menstrual periods and of your childbearing years. On average, the age at which American women have their last menstrual period is 51 years. Perimenopausal symptoms include changes in menstruation, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood changes, vaginal and urinary changes, and changes in bone health. Catawba Women’s Centers team of professionals can help you better cope with this life transition. Our providers focus on evidence-based, FDA approved treatment options. A major decision facing many women approaching menopause is whether to take hormone therapy. For many women, this is a confusing issue. It’s important to learn as much as you can about hormone therapy and discuss options with your healthcare provider. Many women are able to combat the effects of menopause through lifestyle modifications, exercise and proper nutrition. Others find that FDA-approved hormone therapy is the right choice. In recent months, there has been a lot of discussion and media attention surrounding salivary hormone testing and compounded or bio-identical hormone therapy. Like any treatment option, there are risks and benefits to compounded or bio-identical hormone therapy. To learn more about this treatment option and our approach to this topic, we encourage you to read the information below: FDA Article on Hormone Therapy ACOG Position on Bio-Identical or Compounded Hormone Therapy Health Day Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy Article BCBSNC Medical Policy on Salivary Hormone Testing There was a time when no one talked about menopause; it was a mystery to most women. Today, you can find a wealth of information on the topic. Talk with your health care provider and learn as much as you can. That way, you can look ahead to the next stage of life with confidence. If you feel good about yourself, make wise choices, and lead a healthy lifestyle, you'll be better able to cope with this midlife transition.