Everything You Need to Know About Menopause and Hormone Therapy

Key Takeaways

Are you beginning to experience symptoms associated with menopause? Do you wish you knew more about when menopause started, its different stages, or what treatments there are available to help keep you in control of this transition, so you can continue living life on your terms?

Felix has a number of useful blogs that you can reference to answer all of these important questions. This page will give you everything you need to know to start preparing your own transition.

What is Menopause?

Colloquially, menopause is referred to as the entire transition from full ovarian function (ovaries capable of ovulating) to complete cessation (ovaries stop ovulating, meaning no more eggs are developed) — it’s essentially puberty in reverse. Medically speaking, menopause is just one day — the day twelve months after the final menstrual period. 

Hormone fluctuations during the menopause transition can cause the common symptoms associated with menopause. While these hormone fluctuations are normal and expected you do not have to struggle with the uncomfortable symptoms. 

If left unmanaged, these hormone fluctuations, regardless of symptom severity, can increase the risk of serious long-term medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and dementia — all of which can lead to a lower life expectancy. 

The Three Stages of Menopause

The full menopause transition is a continuum involving three stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.

Perimenopause - The transition from full ovarian function until menopause is reached. In addition to irregular menstrual cycles, this stage may be when some people experience the most severe symptoms, since hormones are fluctuating very heavily during this period.

Menopause - This is the point at which it’s been 12 months since your last period. Congratulations, you’ve reached menopause! This stage only lasts a single day.

Postmenopause - The final stage in the menopausal continuum, postmenopause lasts for the remainder of your life after you reach menopause.

Explore the collection of blogs below for all the info you need about Menopause

Average Menopause Age: When Does Menopause Start? -  The age at which the menopausal transition begins will vary for each person. Perimenopause can begin as early as the late 30’s or as late as the early 50’s.

Perimenopause vs Menopause - Perimenopause is the first stage of the menopausal continuum. Medially menopause is the day after it’s been a full year since your last menstrual cycle.

What are the Symptoms Associated with Menopause? - There are actually more than 30 symptoms that are associated with the menopause continuum. 

What is Menopause Hormone Therapy (MHT)?

Think of Hormone Therapy (HT), as a helper for your body during menopause. It's like giving your body a little boost of the hormones it's missing, which can make you feel a lot better. 

There are two basic types of hormone therapy that could be recommended for you:

Estrogen-Only Therapy - This type of therapy uses only estrogen, and it’s recommended for people that have had their uterus surgically removed. This is due to the lower associated risks of breast cancer with this type of treatment plan.

Combined Hormone Therapy - This type of therapy uses a combination of estrogen plus progesterone, and it’s used for people that still have an intact uterus. In these cases, both hormones are used to mitigate the risks of endometrial cancer (overgrowth of the lining of the uterus).

For more on hormone therapy for menopause click here.

The Benefits & Risks of Hormone Therapy

The benefits of hormone therapy (HT) can far outweigh the risks for people under the age of 60, or when hormone therapy is used within ten years of your last period.

The benefits can include things like: relief from vaginal symptoms, improved bone health, less sleep disturbances and mood changes, as well as a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. These benefits can make an enormous difference to both your comfort, as well as your daily quality of life.

The risks associated with hormone therapy are all very rare, occurring in less than 0.1% of people using HT. However, these risks can include:

  • Blood clots
  • Breast cancer
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Cholesterol imbalances
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Dementia
  • Strokes

For more on the risks and benefits of using hormone therapy for menopause click here.

Debunking the WHI Study on Hormone Therapy for Menopause

You may have heard about the famous Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study on Hormone Replacement Therapy (the old, outdated name for MHT).

There were some serious issues with this study, but the biggest problem was the way with which its findings were shared with the public, because of the media. Data was taken out of context, and presented in a way that greatly exaggerated the risks associated with hormone therapy.

These findings were attributed to every type of hormone therapy, and people of all ages across the menopause spectrum. We understand now how important individualized treatments are for people in the menopause continuum, which this study didn’t take into account.

The way the study was presented publicly caused widespread fear and panic around hormone therapy. Requests for HT dropped by 30% overnight. Practitioners who hadn’t yet had time to review the information for themselves became hesitant to prescribe HT to their patients.

Since this time, dozens of studies have come out showing that for people under the age of 60, or within the first 10 years of their postmenopause, the benefits of hormone therapy far outweigh the risks.

For more about issues with the WHI Study on MHT click here.

Why Felix Doesn’t Require Lab Testing

We base our menopause diagnosis process around the guidelines of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) and Choosing Wisely Canada.

Their guidelines state that if you’re at the age where menopause normally occurs, and you’re beginning to experience symptoms that are commonly associated with menopause (i.e., hot flashes, brain fog, mood changes, etc.), there’s no need to test hormone levels.

Understanding whether you’ve entered the menopause continuum is done by talking about your ongoing symptoms, as well as taking a look at your medical history.

The most efficient way to find the personalized treatment plan that will work best for you is through your practitioner getting to know you, the types of symptoms that you’re dealing with, and understanding both your lifestyle, as well as your family and personal medical histories.

For more information about our process for diagnosing and treating menopause click here.

Still have questions we didn’t cover? We can answer them at

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Diagnosing Menopause: Why We Don't Require Lab Tests at Felix

Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can cause symptoms like hot flashes or vaginal dryness, leaving many to wonder if tracking these fluctuations can help with managing symptoms. 

Perimenopause vs. Menopause: What’s the Difference?

If you have ovaries, you’ll experience both perimenopause and menopause at some point, but what are they? What’s the difference? We can help.
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