estrogen for menopause

BHRT for Natural Menopause Symptom Relief

Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is characterized by a decrease in the production of the ovarian hormone’s estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. This decrease in hormone levels can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, sleep disturbances, mid-line weight gain, and a decline in sexual desire. Fortunately, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can offer relief from these symptoms and improve overall health and quality of life.

What is BHRT?

BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy) involves the use of hormones that are structurally identical to the hormones naturally produced by the body. This is in contrast to traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which often uses synthetic hormones that are similar but not identical to natural hormones. BHRT is typically administered in the form of a cream, oral capsule, or under the tongue tablet called a “reditab”.

BHRT should be administered by a qualified and experienced physician with experience in the use of bioidentical hormones. The key to successful use of bioidentical hormones is using the right amounts of hormone replacement in the right balance while carefully following blood levels to determine what is needed for each individual since no two women are alike.

BHRT & Menopause

One of the main benefits of BHRT is its ability to alleviate menopausal symptoms. Studies have shown that BHRT can effectively reduce hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms associated with menopause. Unlike traditional HRT, which has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, BHRT has not been shown to have this association.

Health Benefits of BHRT

In addition to relieving menopausal symptoms, BHRT can also provide a range of other health benefits. For example, BHRT can help to prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak. This is because estrogen plays a key role in bone health, and a decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can lead to a loss of bone density. BHRT can help to restore estrogen levels and prevent this bone loss.

BHRT can also improve cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of heart disease. Estrogen has been shown to have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system, and a decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can increase the risk of heart disease. BHRT can help to restore estrogen levels and reduce this risk.

Another benefit of BHRT is its ability to improve cognitive function. Studies have shown that estrogen can help to improve memory, attention, and other cognitive functions, and a decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can lead to cognitive decline. BHRT can help to restore estrogen levels and improve cognitive function while also protecting against neurodegenerative diseases as women age.

BHRT can also improve sexual function by increasing libido and reducing vaginal dryness. A decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can lead to a loss of sexual desire and discomfort during intercourse. BHRT can help to restore estrogen levels and improve sexual function.

Finally, BHRT can help to improve overall quality of life by reducing the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause. By alleviating hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and other symptoms, BHRT can help women feel more comfortable and confident during this transitional period of their lives.

Candidates for Menopause BHRT

It is important to note that BHRT is not appropriate for all women. Women with a history of breast cancer, blood clots, or certain other medical conditions may not be good candidates for BHRT. It is also important to work with a qualified physician who can evaluate each individual for the appropriate use of bioidentical hormones and monitor hormone levels and adjust treatment as needed.

Since  bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may not be appropriate for all women, Integrative medicine becomes important as it offers a wide range of natural and complementary therapies that can be used to support hormonal balance and alleviate menopausal symptoms if hormone support is not an option. These therapies may include nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, and mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation. Integrative physicians have training and experience in these therapies and can help you determine which ones may be most effective for you.

Choosing a Menopause Doctor for BHRT

No two women experience menopause in exactly the same way, which is why it’s important to work with an integrative physician who can tailor your treatment plan to your specific needs and preferences. Integrative physicians take a personalized approach to treatment, which means that they will work with you to develop a plan that takes into account your unique medical and family history, lifestyle, and health goals.

Menopause is a natural biological process that can cause a wide range of symptoms and health issues. BHRT can offer relief from these symptoms and provide a range of other health benefits.  If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms or are concerned about your hormone levels, schedule an appointment with Ruthie Harper MD and Tyler Young NP in Austin, TX to see if BHRT may be a good option for you.

Menopause Doctor for BHRT | Austin: (512) 343-9355

Written by Ruthie Harper MD and Tyler Young NP, Integrative Medicine Specialists

hrt doctror austin tx

Tired? Hair Loss? Weight Gain? Testosterone May be the Problem. HRT Can Help!

Most people think of testosterone as a male hormone. But women need testosterone, too! Testosterone is a steroid hormone that plays a role in the development of ‘secondary sexual characteristics’ in women, such as increased muscle mass and strength, and also helps regulate bone density, sex drive, and mood.

And while the levels of testosterone in women are typically much lower than those in men, it is important for them to be within the normal range for optimal health. Abnormally high levels of testosterone in women can lead to a condition called hyperandrogenism, which can cause symptoms such as acne, hair loss, and irregular menstrual cycles. And low testosterone levels in women can cause many symptoms and side effects as well, including loss of energy, decreasing muscle mass, weight gain, and even heart disease.

Fortunately, 100% natural, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (“HRT”) – available at our Austin, TX office – can help restore and balance health estrogen and testosterone levels in women and alleviate many f the symptoms and dangerous side effects of hormone imbalance.

Testosterone Decline in Women

Testosterone levels in women decline gradually over time, starting in the mid-20s. The decline becomes more pronounced as a woman approaches menopause, which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. After menopause, the levels of testosterone decrease significantly. This is due to the decrease in production of testosterone by the ovaries and adrenal glands. The decrease in testosterone levels can cause symptoms such as low libido, fatigue, and mood changes.

Prior to menopause, a woman’s ovaries are the principal source of testosterone in her bloodstream. However, after menopause, the ovaries cease to function and no longer produce testosterone. Because a woman still requires testosterone for a range of physical processes and systems, her body begins producing blood testosterone from the hormone DHEA produced by the adrenal glands.

It’s also worth noting that certain medical conditions and medications can also cause a decrease in testosterone levels in women. For example, conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and premature ovarian failure (POF) can affect the production of hormones in the ovaries and lead to decreased testosterone levels. Certain medications, such as glucocorticoids and anti-androgens, can also decrease testosterone levels.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women (That HRT Can Help!)

Low levels of testosterone in women, also called hypoandrogenism, can cause a variety of symptoms. Some common symptoms of low testosterone in women include:

  • Low sex drive or decreased sexual interest
  • Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Decreased muscle mass and strength
  • Depression or mood changes
  • Loss of bone density, leading to osteoporosis
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irregular menstrual cycles

However, many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to consult with an HRT expert like Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms to see if HRT is right for you.

It’s also important to note that some women might not experience any symptoms at all, even if they have high or low testosterone levels.

How Testosterone Levels Affect Hair Loss in Women

High testosterone is commonly associated with hair loss or hair thinning in women. Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body, and DHT can cause hair follicles to shrink, resulting in shorter and finer hair. This can lead to hair loss on the scalp, as well as increased hair growth on other parts of the body, such as the face or chest.

However, hair growth is a complex process that is affected by many factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and overall health. Therefore, if you’re a woman who is experiencing hair loss or thinning, it’s important to consult with an HRT specialist like Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX to determine the underlying cause, and to get the appropriate treatment.

Low Testosterone and Weight Gain in Women

Testosterone levels can also affect weight gain in women. Sufficient testosterone levels improve body composition by increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat mass. Women with higher levels of testosterone may have a higher muscle mass and lower body fat percentage, which can contribute to a lower body weight.

Conversely, low levels of testosterone in women can contribute to weight gain. Testosterone helps regulate metabolism, and low levels can lead to decreased muscle mass, which can lead to a slower metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight.

In many cases, balancing estrogen and testosterone levels with HRT can help women build muscle, as well as stop accumulating unwanted body fat If you’re concerned about unexplained weight gain or loss of muscle mass, an HRT specialist like Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX can offer personalized blood testing to see if HRT is right for you.

HRT, Testosterone & Heart Disease in Women

A recent groundbreaking study published by Monash University discovered that women over the age of 70 with low testosterone levels are also nearly twice as likely to suffer a cardiac attack.

Women over the age of 70 without a history of cardiovascular disease events had their blood tested for levels of testosterone, DHEA, and estrogen. The findings from the data, according to the researchers, strongly supported the advantages of HRT testosterone replacement for avoiding cardiovascular disease in older women.

Since previous research has shown that testosterone treatment reduces blood pressure and improves blood flow in arteries, it just “makes sense” that older women may be protected against cardiovascular illness by having greater testosterone levels.

HRT Testosterone Therapy | Austin, TX

Often it is hormone decline or imbalance – not just “aging” – that causes women to gain weight, lose hair, have low energy, and lose muscle mass during menopause.  The good news is that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an easy, effective, and affordable treatment that can reverse many of these symptoms and restore your appearance and your quality of life!

If you are a woman in the Austin, TX area who is experiencing the challenges of perimenopause or menopause, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruthie Harper to see if 100% natural, bioidentical HRT is the right treatment for you!

HRT Testosterone Therapy | Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355

9 Surprising Signs & Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because women who have it often do not know that they have it until it’s too late and they have broken a bone. As a result, unfortunately, 50% of women over the age of 50 will suffer a bone fracture as a result of osteoporosis.

And, unlike broken bones in children (which heal relatively quickly) bone fractures in adults over 50 raise the risk of premature death by about 50% in both men and women. Broken hips are particularly dangerous in older adults, with 33% of adults over 50 dying within one year of fracturing their hip.

Of course, a very common and accurate test for osteoporosis – dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, also called DXA or “DEXA” – is available. But many women don’t realize how dangerous osteoporosis can be and simply put-off getting a bone density test until it is too late.

Am I at Risk for Osteoporosis?

DEXA scans are typically not recommended for women until the age of 65 – unless they have certain risk factors for osteoporosis including: low body weight, steroid usage, smoking, a family history of osteoporosis, or a history of previous bone fracture(s).

Women are four times as likely to develop osteoporosis as men. And while half of women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, only one quarter of men will. Post-menopausal women lose the most bone — up to 20 percent or more — during the first 10 years after menopause.

Alcohol use, poor diet (low in calcium and vitamin D), and a sedentary lifestyle also put a person at risk for osteoporosis. Certain medications may also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, including antiepileptics, proton pump inhibitors, thiazolidinediones for type 2 diabetes, SSRIs for depression and anxiety, and some breast and prostate cancer treatments.

Surprising Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

While osteoporosis is called a “silent disease,” it isn’t always that quiet if you know what to look for. There are actually quite a few additional common – and surprising – signs that you might be suffering from osteoporosis and should schedule a DEXA scan.

If you are experiencing any of the issues below, you should discuss the possibility of a bone density scan with your doctor to rule out bone loss.

#1. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Getting Shorter

Losing height is the most common sign that your spine is shrinking. Measure yourself annually so you can spot this early.

#2. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Back & Neck Pain

Unexplained back and neck pain can have many causes. But bone loss can cause a compression fracture or collapsed vertebra in the spine that cause mild to severe pain.

#3. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Hunch Back

If it feels uncomfortable to stand straight, or you notice that your posture is becoming hunched, or you can feel a hump in your upper back, it could be a sign of spinal bone loss.

#4. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Shortness of Breath

Most people assume that breathing problems are due to lung disease. But when the spine compresses due to bone loss or fracture, lung capacity may be reduced, causing shortness of breath. Because shortness of breath can be a symptom of many serious health issues, always get it checked.

#5. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Brittle Fingernails 

Nails that break easily can be an indication that a person is not getting enough calcium in the diet – or that the body is not absorbing sufficient calcium. Vertical ridges in the fingernails, especially, can be a sign of calcium deficiency.

#6. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Gastrointestinal Problems

Bone loss is connected to several types of GI issues. Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and other GI diseases can interfere with calcium absorption. Additionally, steroids used to treat GI issues can also lower bone density.

#7. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Dental Problems

Tooth loss can be caused by bone loss in the jaw area and may be an indication of decreased bone density in the jaw and in other areas of the body, as well.  Pay close attention to this sign if you’re losing teeth too easily.

#8. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Weak Grip  

Low grip strength is often associated with decreased muscle strength, an increase in frailty, and an elevated risk of falling and breaking bones. Your doctor can measure your grip strength with a simple device called a hand dynamometer.

#9. Warning Sign of Osteoporosis: Serial or Yo-Yo Weight Loss

Maintaining a healthy weight can help ward off many serious diseases. But being a serial dieter – or going on crash diets or severe calorie restricted programs – interferes with bone nutrition and increases the risk for bone loss.

How Doctors Treat Osteoporosis

It is never too late to take measures to avoid becoming one of the 50% of women who may have a bone fracture as a result of osteoporosis. If you have any of the risk factors for osteoporosis – or any of the signs of bone loss above – talk to your doctor about scheduling a DEXA bone density scan.

It is recommended that women over age 50 and men over 70 get 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily from food first and supplement with pills only if necessary. (Women under age 50 and men under age 70 should get 1,000 mg.)

While there are many medications for osteoporosis on the market, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can prevent osteoporosis by restoring the body’s natural hormone balance – rather than by using harsh and hazardous drugs produced in the laboratory.  READ MORE ABOUT BHRT FOR OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis Doctor | Austin, TX

If you are a perimenopausal or menopausal woman living in the greater Austin, TX area schedule a consultation with Dr. Ruthie Harper to determine if you are at risk for bone loss. She can help you naturally and effectively take action to maintaining strong, healthy bones after menopause … and for the rest of your life!

Austin, TX Osteoporosis Doctor: 512.343.9355

Estrogen Replacement Therapy Helps Build & Maintain Muscle in Menopausal Women

If you are a woman who is nearing or experiencing menopause, you may have noticed a subtle (or dramatic) decrease in your strength. Jars may seem harder to open, doors might feel heavier, and laundry baskets may suddenly be more difficult to lift.  

If you are menopausal or peri-menopausal, you may also have noticed that your once firm arms are now getting “jiggly” … and your buttocks and belly are less firm and more flabby.

Sadly, many women believe that getting softer and weaker is simply a natural and unavoidable part of “getting older”. But this is far from the truth. It is actually hormone decline that causes loss of muscle mass and increased fat storage. And hormone loss is something that CAN be treated!

In this article Austin, TX anti-aging expert Dr. Ruthie Harper explains how estrogen replacement therapy can help women maintain strength and muscle mass as they get older and go through menopause.

How Estrogen Builds & Maintains Muscle in Women

Muscles continually repair themselves following any kind of physical stress or exertion. And the more day-to-day use, exercise, or “wear and tear” on the muscles, the more they repair themselves and the bigger, harder, and stronger they become. Additionally, it has long been known that the male sex hormone testosterone contributes to the body’s natural muscle-building process in both men and women.

However, a new clinical study released out of the University of Minnesota has shown that in women’s bodies, the generation of new muscle cells also relies on estrogen production. That research revealed that the stem cells in the muscles called “satellite cells” – that are responsible for generating new muscle – operate by a special class of estrogen receptors on the satellite cells called ERα.

Like all stem cells, these “satellite cells” differentiate to form different types of mature cells (including muscle cells) when the body needs them. The body’s satellite cells sit near the cell membrane of the muscle cells – and are activated only when they are needed to repair a muscle following use, exercise or strain.

But, in both men and in women, there is a steady drop in the number of satellite cells with age. And when the number of satellite cells is lacking, the ability to regenerate muscle slows down. So, the drop in estrogen levels experienced by menopausal women can lead to a dramatic drop in muscle-repairing satellite cells – which means the body simply cannot build muscle like it could when it was younger.

Further, estrogen deficiency not only reduces the size (“bulk”) of skeletal muscle, but also reduces women’s muscular force (“strength”).

Research on Estrogen Replacement & Muscles

The University of Minnesota study compared the amount of muscle stem cells found in mice with the amount of estrogen to which they were exposed. To do so, they removed the ovaries of one group of mice, which reduced their estrogen levels.

The study revealed that without estrogen, the number of muscle stem cells in the mice dropped by 30 to 60 percent. The researchers then treated some of the mice whose ovaries had been removed with estrogen replacement therapy. And, as predicted, this resulted in the mice maintaining the number of satellite cells needed to build and maintain muscle mass.

Building & Maintaining Muscles in Menopause

It has long been recommended that women engage in weight resistance training – starting in middle-age – to help maintain muscle. However, many menopausal women still find that they lose muscle mass, no matter how much they work out. But the recent research indicates that estrogen replacement therapy can help women maintain both muscle mass and strength leading up to and during menopause.

Additionally, estrogen replacement therapy also reduces the many other side effects of menopause, including fatigue, hot flashes, “brain fog”, pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness, weight gain, and more. Estrogen replacement therapy also plays a significant role in helping prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other serious medical conditions.

Estrogen Replacement Therapy | Austin, TX

It is hormone decline – not just “aging” – that causes women to lose muscle mass and strength during menopause.  The good news is that estrogen replacement therapy is an easy, effective, and affordable treatment that can preserve and restore muscle bulk and strength in women.

If you are a woman in the Austin, TX area who is experiencing the challenges of perimenopause or menopause, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruthie Harper to see if estrogen replacement therapy is the right menopause treatment for you!

Estrogen Replacement Therapy | Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355

Doctors Share 7 Natural Ways to Fight Adrenal Fatigue

The adrenal glands produce a variety of essential hormones that are necessary for several aspects of the body’s functioning. The medical term “adrenal insufficiency” is used when the adrenal glands produce inadequate amounts of one or more of these important hormones. Adrenal insufficiency can be the result of an underlying disease or surgery.

However, it is now believed by many medical practitioners that chronic stress can also tax the adrenal glands to result in a somewhat milder form of adrenal insufficiency referred to as “adrenal fatigue.” In this article, adrenal health specialist Dr. Ruthie Harper explains the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue – and shares 7 “natural” steps patients can take to improve adrenal health and increase energy and vitality.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue may include:

  • Fatigue / loss of energy
  • Unexplained body aches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness / dizziness
  • Loss of body hair
  • In some cases, skin discoloration  

Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests, including special stimulation tests that can reveal inadequate levels of adrenal hormone production.

However, while blood tests can identify severe cases of adrenal insufficiency, existing blood tests may not be sensitive enough to detect smaller declines in adrenal function. As a result, many physicians may miss cases of adrenal fatigue. This can be very frustrating for patients who have persistent symptoms that their doctor can’t readily explain.

Austin, TX functional medicine doctor Ruthie Harper, MD has years of experience assisting patients with identifying and treating hormone imbalance and insufficiency, and other causes of fatigue.

Can Stress Cause Adrenal Fatigue?

“Fight or Flight” refers to the two ways the human body reacts to stressful situations. When our human ancestors were faced with life threatening situations their bodies released  hormones either helping them to stay and fight, or run away and flee from danger. But in today’s society, humans rarely face life threatening situations on a daily basis. But, as modern-day humans, we often face chronically high levels of stress on a daily basis.

Daily life includes the stresses of work, finances, relationships, traffic (and even family and the pandemic!) almost every day. And chronic stress causes the body to release the same “fight or flight” hormones that saber toothed tigers caused early humans to release. But when the body releases these stress hormones on a daily basis, the theory is that the adrenals cannot keep up with production. As a result “adrenal fatigue” occurs and the body loses energy, drops weight, and develops other symptoms of hormone deficiency.

Natural Steps to Improve Adrenal Fatigue

Here are a seven healthy life style strategies that can  reduce stress on the adrenal glands to maintain sufficient hormone levels and help restore energy.

1. Follow the adrenal diet to reduce adrenal fatigue

The adrenal diet is comprised of lots of brightly colored vegetables, lean protein, and gluten-free, whole-grain carbs. But it’s important to note that a strict no-carb diet can stress the body even more, causing worse adrenal burnout. 

So skip empty calorie carbs like cookies and cakes, but include healthy carbs such as quinoa, lentils, and buckwheat.

2. Get to bed early to reduce adrenal fatigue

It’s not just how much sleep you get, but also when you sleep. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11 p.m., which further taxes the adrenal glands and can disrupt sleep patterns. So, going to bed before 11 p.m. can be extremely helpful in easing adrenal fatigue. 

3. Supplements can also improve adrenal health

B vitamins are excellent food for adrenals health. B12 and folate, especially support the body’s energy production.

Supplements that reduce inflammation  – including omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, and vitamin C – have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit adrenal function.

And, sufficient levels of Vitamin D, selenium, magnesium, and zinc are all essential for proper thyroid and adrenal function.

4. Maintain hydration to reduce adrenal fatigue

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential for the health of all of the organs – including the adrenal glands. And, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or pinch of Himalayan sea salt can increase water’s hydrating benefits.

5. Build some rest into every day to reduce adrenal fatigue

For patients dealing with exhaustion, taking two 20-minute rest breaks a day. They don’t necessarily need to be naps, but timeouts alone to breathe and restore.

6. Stick to low intensity exercise to reduce adrenal fatigue

While high-intensity cardio is excellent for heart health, it can burn out the adrenals if overdone.  Instead, engage in low-impact, hormone friendly exercising such as yoga or Pilates.

7. Reduce stress to fight adrenal fatigue

Finding methods to cope with and reduce mental stress is by far the most important natural step patients can take to reduce stress on the adrenal glands. And while it’s much easier said than done, adjusting your perspective or changing your outlook can reduce stress.

Evaluating goals and behaviors that may be driving one too hard in the pursuit of “success” can often be helpful to lower one’s stress levels. Of course, some stressors – such as caring for an ill family member – may be unavoidable. But finding ways to maintain a balanced life can help ease the burden on the adrenals which will improve energy and help reduce symptoms.

Adrenal Fatigue Doctor | Austin, TX

If you think you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, or another hormone imbalance, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX today.

Through natural, integrative medicine she can help you take the steps to restore your energy and vitality, reduce symptoms, and help you live a long and healthy life.

Adrenal Fatigue Doctor | Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355

Cortisol Testing for Better Health & Longer Life

If you’re just not feeling your best – but you’re eating right, getting rest, and generally taking care of your health – you may be suffering from “flat” cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which are the triangle-shaped organs at the top of the kidneys. Cortisol has an effect on nearly every system of the human body. This important hormone impacts certain areas of the brain to help regulate mood, motivation, fear, and anxiety. For this reason, cortisol is considered the body’s primary “stress hormone.”

Cortisol also helps regulate how the body uses energy, manages blood sugar levels, stores fat deposits, and builds muscle mass. The adrenal hormone cortisol also plays a role in regulating blood pressure.

As a result, when cortisol levels fluctuate or are out of balance, problems with overall physical, mental, and emotional health can occur. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t take the time to understand and evaluate a patient’s cortisol levels. So, they continue to suffer with poor health and disease.

In this article, experienced Austin, TX integrative medicine physician and hormone expert Dr. Ruthie explains the problem of “flat cortisol curves” and discusses what patients can do to keep cortisol levels in balance for optimal health.

Understanding Cortisol Curves

Cortisol is sometimes referred to as the body’s “alarm system” – because production increases when the person is under any kind of threat – including actual physical danger, and/or emotional or physical stress. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for the body’s “fight or flight” response that has evolved to help humans escape or conquer danger.

In healthy women and men, cortisol levels will naturally fluctuate throughout the day – peaking in the morning and reach their lowest point at night. This human adaptation “makes sense” since it prepares the body to take on the day – and then eventually slow down and rest at night in order to sleep and restore itself for the next day’s challenges. This bell-shaped daily cortisol increase followed by decline is called the “Cortisol Curve”.

But in some people, cortisol secretion fluctuates very little throughout the day. This absence of normal cortisol highs and lows is referred to as a “flat cortisol curve”. And, in clinical research, a flat cortisol curve has been shown to be directly associated with a shorter lifespan, several negative health indicators, and increased risk of many serious diseases.

Flat Cortisol Curve & Disease

A number of clinical research studies have shown the relationship between flat cortisol curves and high risk of serious disease and even death.

One research recent study found that having a flat cortisol curve statistically predicted a shorter life expectancy in patients who had metastatic breast cancer. A flattened cortisol curve has also been associated with an early death from lung cancer.

Flat cortisol curves have also been associated with a higher incidence of Type 2 Diabetes, as well as a higher incidence of depression co-existent with Type 2 Diabetes. And, recent studies have also tied PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) to flat cortisol levels.

Most startingly was a study conducted on healthy individuals who had their cortisol curves measured for two years and who then were followed for six to eight afterwards. In those individuals, flattened cortisol curves correlated with a higher death rate from all causes, including heart attack or cardiovascular disease.

Causes of Flat Cortisol Curves

There are actually many causes of flat cortisol levels. “Primary adrenal insufficiency” (Addison’s disease) is typically caused by autoimmune disorders, where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, and organs. Viral and bacterial infections and tumors in the adrenal glands can also cause cortisol dysregulation.

Exposure to chronic stress is also believed to cause flat levels of cortisol. And, for many adults, the stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are believed to contribute to many cases of flat cortisol!

Testing and Treating Cortisol Issues

Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX can measure a patient’s cortisol level fluctuations over the course of a day to identify if their “cortisol curve” is flat. This can be a first step in identifying or predicting poor long term health outcomes – and implementing preventive treatment.

Due to the current economic and political climate, escalating healthcare costs, global climate concerns, and the stress and social isolation of the pandemic, it makes sense that many individuals are suffering from flat cortisol levels.

Seeking out a physician who understands the causes and effects of hormone imbalance – including cortisol insufficiency – is more important than ever during these challenging times. Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX is trained and experienced in identifying and treating the factors that affect cortisol secretion. She can diagnose cortisol insufficiency and prescribe appropriate treatment interventions to help restore cortisol balance.

When treated in a timely manner, individuals with cortisol deficiency can help get rid of troublesome symptoms and live long and active lives. But proper diagnosis and treatment of cortisol problems requires comprehensive care from hormone expert like Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX who understand adrenal function on a deep level.

Cortisol Testing & Treatment | Austin, TX

If you think you may be suffering from cortisol insufficiency, or another hormone imbalance, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX today.

Through natural, integrative medicine she can help you take the steps to restore a normal cortisol curve – and live a long and healthy life.

Cortisol Treatment | Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355

Estrogen Dominance & Female Health Problems

The female hormone estrogen plays many important roles in a woman’s body. Estrogen helps regulate the menstrual cycle and is essential for conception and a healthy pregnancy. Estrogen also has many other functions, including sexual drive and enjoyment, keeping cholesterol under control, and protecting bone health.

But, with almost anything in life, you can have “too much of a good thing”. And estrogen is no exception! While many women suffer from insufficient estrogen levels as they get older and approach menopause, having too much estrogen is also a problem.

The state where there is too much estrogen in a woman’s system is called “estrogen dominance”. And doctors and researchers now believe that estrogen dominance can play a role in many conditions such as PCOS, infertility, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, and even certain breast cancers.

What is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen dominance is a type of hormonal imbalance in which a woman’s body produces too much estrogen. But even if a woman’s estrogen levels are not “off the charts” she can still be suffering from estrogen dominance, if her estrogen levels are abnormally high relative to her progesterone levels.

Progesterone is another sex hormone that is essential for the female body. It also helps regulate menstrual cycles, supports conception and pregnancy, and much more. Estrogen and progesterone work in tandem to regulate one another, to keep the body in balance and menstrual cycles regular, and to help support other organs such as the thyroid.

If estrogen levels are too high, or progesterone levels are too low, estrogen becomes the more dominant sex hormone in the body. And this imbalance is called “estrogen dominance.”

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

Because estrogen affects so many of the female body’s functions, many of the symptoms of estrogen dominance are similar to, or the same as, symptoms of hormone fluctuation due to the menstrual cycle or perimenopause or menopause. So, symptoms alone are not enough to diagnose estrogen dominance.

 Any or all of these symptoms may be (but are not necessarily) signs of estrogen dominance:

  • Weight gain (in the belly, hips, thighs)
  • Slow Metabolism | Water Retention
  • Headaches | Fatigue | Insomnia
  • Brain Fog | Mood Swings
  • Uterine Fibroids | PCOS
  • Irregular Periods | Infertility
  • Low Sex Drive (Libido)

Estrogen Dominance & Thyroid Disease

Estrogen also suppresses thyroid hormone and increases the body’s need for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) – while progesterone has the opposite effect and stimulates thyroid hormone production. So, if estrogen levels are dominant, it may cause a woman to enter a state of hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormones). And this also affects the immune system, as well.

Prolonged exposure to excess levels of estrogen can place a woman at greater risk for autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease), other autoimmune disorders, and even certain cancers.

Causes of Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance is usually caused by a variety or combination of factors, rather than just one thing.

Before menopause, chronic stress, poor gut and liver health, and certain environmental toxins are all believed to contribute to estrogen dominance. Additionally, failure to ovulate (anovulation) can result in low progesterone levels in the last half of the menstrual cycle, making estrogen more dominant.

Hormonal birth control, improperly administered hormone replacement therapy, and obesity can also contribute to estrogen dominance. And there is also believed to be a genetic component to excess estrogen production.

Estrogen dominance also often turns up during perimenopause – the 5 to 10 years before menopause when hormones fluctuate erratically, as a woman’s reproductive functions begins to decline. So, while both estrogen and progesterone decline during perimenopause, if progesterone declines more than estrogen declines, estrogen dominance can still occur.

Treating Estrogen Dominance

Treating estrogen dominance is best done with a multifaceted approach that addresses the whole body, not just the hormone levels.

Some women may need to switch to an alternative method of birth control that does not use synthetics estrogens. For other women biodentical hormone replacement therapy can help restore the balance between estrogen and progesterone.

If the estrogen dominance has caused or contributed to an underactive thyroid, they will typically need to take thyroid hormone replacement medication to meet the body’s metabolic needs and help rid the body of Hashimoto’s symptoms and other health problems.

Most women will also benefit from specific dietary and lifestyle modifications that help bring their body and their hormones back into balance.

Lifestyle Changes for Estrogen Dominance

Digestive issues can be resolved or improved with simple lifestyle changes that can help treat estrogen dominance. Increasing dietary fiber and restoring microbial balance in the gut can eliminate an unhealthy accumulation of “bad” bacteria that contributes to estrogen imbalance.

Removing dietary triggers like alcohol, reducing exposure to toxins, and exercising regularly can support the liver – which is responsible for breaking down excess estrogen. And getting more sleep enables the body to repair tissue and detoxify itself – which includes getting rid of old cells and excess hormones.

Finally, high stress levels lead to chronically high cortisol, which stresses the adrenal glands that play an essential role in estrogen production. Chronic stress also worsens autoimmune conditions and inflammation. So, meditation, relaxing and other stress control techniques are beneficial for balancing estrogen and progesterone levels.

Estrogen Therapy | Austin, TX

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with Doctor Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX to see if your hormone levels are out of balance. Dr. Harper has helped women restore hormone balance and get their quality of life back, for over 20 years. She will conduct a thorough and personalized blood testing and hormone analysis and customize a treatment plan that is safe and effective for your unique needs.

And if you are outside of the Austin, TX area, or prefer to use telemedicine, Dr. Harper can schedule a tele-consultation, and have remote blood work done in your area, so you can start living your best life again!

Estrogen Treatment, Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355

Prevent Osteoporosis with Natural Estrogen Therapy

For many women, the decrease in estrogen production due to menopause results in many highly apparent and aggravating adverse effects. The visible symptoms of menopause may include hot flashes, mood swings, difficult-to-lose abdominal fat, painful intercourse, sleeplessness, and more.

However, a far more severe effect of menopausal hormone decrease stays hidden. Estrogen loss also causes osteoporosis – a life threatening condition in which a woman’s bones become brittle and highly susceptible to breaking.

How Menopause Hormone Loss Causes Osteoporosis

While estrogen is often thought of as a “reproductive hormone,” it is also necessary for the body to build and maintain strong, healthy bones. Menopause causes a decrease in estrogen levels, which results in bone loss. This significantly increases a woman’s chance of breaking one or more bones. Indeed, 50% of women over the age of 50 will have a bone fracture as a result of osteoporosis!

And, since osteoporosis has no outward signs, many women are unaware they have it until they suffer a fracture.

Fortunately, osteoporosis can now be avoided in women approaching or experiencing menopause by using 100% natural, easy, and safe bioidentical estrogen replacement therapy, which is offered at Ruthie Harper, MD® in the greater Austin, TX region.

Osteoporosis Prevention Through Natural Estrogen Therapy

First, it’s essential to understand how correct hormone balance safeguards the bones. One of estrogen’s many roles is to increase the activity of specific bone-producing cells called “osteoblasts.” Thus, when a woman’s estrogen level decreases after menopause, these osteoblasts cease to generate new bone cells, resulting in the bones becoming more “hollow” or porous and weaker.

Decades ago, the first FDA-approved medication for osteoporosis prevention was actually estrogen replacement therapy. Pharmaceutical firms have since jumped on the osteoporosis bandwagon, providing a range of synthetic medicines and treatments to treat loss of bone density. Bisphosphonates (such as Fosamax and Boniva) and anabolic steroids are examples of them. However, as with any laboratory-created drug, osteoporosis medications come with a variety of adverse effects.

Thus, although there are many new synthetic medicines available to treat osteoporosis, the majority of educated medical experts prefer to address the underlying cause of the disease – which is estrogen insufficiency – in order to maintain bone density and avoid bone fractures in postmenopausal women. However, simply substituting a one-size-fits-all synthetic hormone tablet or cream is not the ideal solution.

The Two Types of Estrogen Therapy for Osteoporosis

Hormone replacement treatment is classified into two types: synthetic hormones synthesized in the laboratory and “bioidentical” replacement hormones obtained from 100% natural, plant-based sources.

Nothing produced in a laboratory will ever exactly replicate what occurs naturally in the body. However, “bioidentical” hormones derived from natural, living, plant-based sources have a chemical structure that is almost identical to that of human hormones. Thus, bioidentical hormones are more easily “recognized” by the human body, and they “fit” better with the body’s other cells. As a consequence, bioidentical hormones are more effective, safer, and freer of side effects than hormones synthesized in the lab.

Bioidentical Estrogen Therapy for Osteoporosis

Because bioidentical hormone replacement treatment mimics the hormones produced naturally by the body, bioidentical estrogen therapy is very safe for the majority of perimenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal women. The prestigious American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Endocrine Society, and the North American Menopause Society, and have all declared clearly that the majority of healthy postmenopausal women may safely take estrogen replacement therapy to prevent osteoporosis.

(Note: A tiny percentage of women with specific health problems, such as breast or uterine cancer, liver illness, or a family history of blood clots, should avoid estrogen therapy. Estrogen replacement treatment is likewise not recommended for males or for premenopausal women.)

Pellets: The Most Effective Estrogen Therapy

Historically, estrogen replacement therapy was administered in a number of ways: daily tablets, gels and lotions, patches, and injections. However, Ruthie Harper, MD® also offers the latest and most advanced estrogen replacement therapy method which uses long-lasting, time-released subcutaneous estrogen pellets that last from three to five months with a single implantation.

To begin, estrogen pellets are very easy to use because there are no daily doses to remember, no patches to change weekly, no sticky lotions to apply, and no unpleasant injections.

In clinical research, estrogen replacement pellets were also shown to be much more effective than other means of estrogen administration. Studies have shown that estrogen pellets result in a fourfold rise in bone density compared to oral estrogen tablets, and a 2.5 fold increase in bone mass compared to hormone patches!

Additionally, unlike hormone pills, injections, or creams, which subject your body to a yo-yo effect of hormone dose increases and decreases, time-released estrogen pellets distribute hormones to the woman’s body in the same manner as the ovaries do — gradually and consistently over time, only as required.

Estrogen Therapy for Osteoporosis | Austin, TX

Bioidentical estrogen replacement therapy prevents osteoporosis by restoring the body’s natural hormone balance – rather than by using harsh and hazardous drugs produced in the laboratory.

It is never too late to take measures to avoid becoming one of the 50% of women who may have a bone fracture as a result of osteoporosis. If you are a perimenopausal or menopausal woman living in the greater Austin, TX area schedule a consultation with Dr. Ruthie Harper to determine whether bioidentical estrogen therapy is your best course of action for maintaining strong, healthy bones after menopause… and for the rest of your life!

Estrogen Therapy for Osteoporosis: 512.343.9355

Five Common Symptoms of Menopause That Hormone Replacement Therapy Treats

Menopause – the end of a woman’s reproductive years – typically occurs around the age of 51. But the age of menopause onset is highly variable – from the late 30’s in some women to the early 6os in other women. Leading up to menopause – during the period called peri-menopause – the ovaries begin producing lower quantities of the so-called “sex hormones” (including estrogen) that control reproduction.

But estrogen and the other hormones regulate more than just fertility. In fact, almost every function of a woman’s body is influenced to some degree by the body’s sex hormones. Estrogen affects metabolism (the ability to burn calories and store fat), weight gain, bone strength, mood and mental state, libido and much more.  

So, as hormone production decreases during menopause and perimenopause, most women experience a wide variety of unpleasant side effects. Symptoms of menopausal hormone decline include: hot flashes, sleep problems, low sex drive, dry & itching vagina, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, mood swings, fatigue, bone loss, and more.

Fortunately, modern advancements in hormone replacement therapy can be very effective in offering long-lasting relief from many of the uncomfortable or painful problems of menopause. In this article, Austin, TX hormone replacement specialist Dr. Ruthie Harper explains how hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate some of the most common symptoms of menopause.

#1. Treatment for Hot Flashes During Menopause

Hot flashes are probably the most universal symptom of perimenopause and menopause. These sudden bursts of body heat can be uncomfortable as well as embarrassing, as they can be accompanied by flushing and profuse sweating.

Up to 75% of women experience hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, as they approach menopause. Hot flashes are a “vasomotor symptom,” which means they are triggered by abrupt blood vessel dilatation. Extreme body heat and excessive perspiration are caused by the increased blood flow.

Experts from the Harvard School Of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic believe that estrogen replacement therapy is the best and most effective treatment for severe hot flashes and night sweats induced by menopause.

In a clinical trial including 3,329 people, administering oral estrogen, or estrogen plus progestin, reduced hot flashes in menopausal women by 75%.

#2. Treatment for Fatigue During Menopause

Although testosterone is most often associated with men, it has a vital function in increasing energy in both men and women. Testosterone is a hormone that has many functions, beyond sexual prowess. Testosterone also helps the body produce the proteins that are essential for muscle maintenance and for boosting energy in both men and women. So, low testosterone levels due to menopause can cause extreme tiredness in women.

Similarly, a thyroid hormone deficit can cause tiredness during perimenopause and menopause. The thyroid regulates numerous functions of one’s metabolism. Therefore, proper thyroid hormone balance is crucial for keeping one’s energy levels up.

So, in addition to regulating a woman’s estrogen levels throughout menopause, thorough blood testing should be used to examine her entire panel of hormones, including her thyroid functions.

#3. Treatment for Vaginal Dryness & Painful Intercourse During Menopause

Estrogen is a female “sex hormone” that keeps the vaginal walls thick and healthy while also generating moisture to keep it lubricated. Estrogen is also responsible, in part, for a woman’s libido or “sex drive”.

Because of low estrogen levels after menopause, more than half of women experience vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse. The vaginal walls shrink, lose flexibility, and produce less lubricant when estrogen production diminishes with menopause. Additionally. estrogen decline can cause a woman to lose interest in sex.

But, estrogen replacement therapy can help a woman’s body rebuild thicker, more elastic and lubricated tissue in the vagina, allowing her to enjoy sexual intimacy once again! Additionally, hormone therapy to replace estrogen and other sex hormones can reignite a woman’s sex drive, so that she once again becomes interested in sex.

#4. Preventing Weight Gain During Menopause

Weight gain – notably around the midsection or belly – is often caused by the hormonal decline and imbalance of menopause in a variety of ways.

To begin with, when estrogen levels are low, metabolism slows, resulting in increased fat accumulation on the body. Furthermore, decreased estrogen levels impair fat cell breakdown, resulting in fat buildup, weight increase, and a larger waist circumference (“belly fat”). And, in instances when there is an excess of androgens (male hormones), the risk of obesity is increased even more.

To make matters worse, after menopause levels of the hormone leptin, which tells the brain when it’s time to eat, decline. As a result, a woman’s appetite often increases during menopause, which can lead to increased calorie consumption, further exacerbating weight gain.

Fortunately, rebalancing hormones with hormone replacement therapy can help perimenopausal and menopausal women reverse weight gain, develop more muscle and reduce fat storage.

#5: Osteoporosis Treatment During Menopause

One of estrogen’s many vital tasks is to encourage bone-forming cellular activity. As a result, the bones lose calcium as estrogen levels drop throughout menopause.

Several recent studies have found that hormone replacement therapy, rather than bisphosphonate medications, is the most effective approach to prevent fractured bones caused by osteoporosis. In addition to preventing fractures, estrogen has been demonstrated to preserve spinal discs in a way that non-hormonal treatments have not.

Numerous “synthetic” medicines are now available to treat osteoporosis (including Fosamax and Boniva), but these can come with undesirable – and in some cases dangerous – side effects. So most medical experts believe it is preferable to address the underlying cause of the osteoporosis, estrogen insufficiency, with hormone therapy whenever possible.

Natural Menopause Treatment – Austin, TX

In addition to treating many of the most obvious symptoms of menopause – including fatigue, painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, weight gain, hot flashes and osteoporosis – hormone replacement therapy also helps prevent many serious diseases.

Research has shown that the benefits of menopausal treatment with hormone replacement can also help stave off serious illnesses including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and more.

Thanks to modern advancements in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy there is no need to suffer in silence with the painful and frustrating symptoms of menopause. If you’re a woman in the greater Austin, Tx area going through perimenopause or menopause, talk to Dr. Ruthie Harper about whether hormone replacement therapy is suitable for you.

Menopause Treatment – Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355

Hormone Therapy for Menopause Treatment

Six Symptoms of Menopause That Hormone Therapy Can Help

As a woman’s reproductive years come to a close, her body begins to reduce production of certain “sex hormones” including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. This period of transition, known as menopause, occurs on average around the age of 51. However, menopause can occur as young as the early 40’s – or as late as the early 60’s. For some women, menopause can also be brought on even earlier due to medical conditions or surgery (such as a hysterectomy) that affect a woman’s uterus and/or ovaries and their ability to make female hormones in a healthy and balanced way.

Unfortunately, the “sex hormones” that regulate reproduction, also affect virtually every other aspect of a woman’s health: from libido, to metabolism and weight gain, to mood and energy as well as bone density and so much more. For this reason, most women experience a wide variety of body changes and unwanted side effects as their hormones decline during menopause.

The most common symptoms of menopausal hormone decline include such unpleasant side effects as: hot flashes, low libido (sex drive), vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse, embarrassing urinary incontinence, sleep problems, unwanted weight gain, mood swings, low energy, bone density loss (osteoporosis), and more.

But, the good news for menopausal women is that replacing declining hormones can offer long-lasting relief from most of the frustrating and uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.

In this article Austin, TX hormone replacement expert Doctor Ruthie Harper explains how hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate the signs and symptoms of menopause – so you can continue to live a full and happy life during and after menopause.

#1. Menopause Treatment for Hot Flashes

The symptom most commonly associated with menopause are bothersome hot flashes – sometimes called “hot flushes”. Hot flashes are estimated to affect up to 75% of perimenopausal and menopausal women. In addition to being uncomfortable, hot flashes can cause embarrassing perspiration which often occurs at the worst times, or can occur at night commonly called “night sweats” that disrupt a woman’s sleep.

Hot flashes are caused by the body’s “vasomotor” system – meaning that they result from a sudden dilation of the blood vessels. The resulting increase in blood flow is what causes the sensation of extreme heat and profuse sweating.

But in a recent medical study of 3,329 participants, simply replacing estrogen (or estrogen plus progesterone) resulted in a 75% reduction in hot flashes. Most experts, including those at the Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic, all state that the most effective treatment for menopausal hot flashes and night sweats is hormone replacement.

#2. Menopause Treatment for Low Energy

While most women realize that estrogen levels affect their health, many people don’t understand that testosterone – commonly thought of as a male hormone – is also an important female hormone and plays a substantial role in a woman’s energy level. Testosterone is the hormone that helps the body build proteins needed for muscle maintenance and energy.  It is also critically important for healthy wrinkle free skin (think why men have fewer wrinkles than women as thy age). So, when testosterone levels decline in women, it can lead to chronic and even debilitating fatigue and rapid aging.

Low energy during menopause can also be the result of deficient levels of thyroid hormones. The thyroid releases hormones that regulate “metabolism” – which refers to the body’s ability to store and use energy (think low energy and weight gain). And, one of the most common times for the onset of thyroid disease during is perimenopause or menopause.

So, in addition to restoring a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels during menopause, it is important to study her complete panel of hormones, including thyroid hormones. This is accomplished through comprehensive blood testing. Rebalancing estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones can often restore a woman’s energy and help her resume a healthy weight – so she can continue to live life with vitality at every age.

#3. Menopause Treatment for Low Sex Drive

In addition to experiencing hot flashes and fatigue during menopause, many women also find that their interest in sex – or their ability to become aroused or achieve orgasm– also declines. Sadly, many women believe that a low libido is just a “normal fact of aging.”  So, many menopausal women do not seek medical treatment for their loss of sex drive following menopause.

Women need to know that they CAN continue to have a satisfying sex life at every age. Clinical studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy can improve libido, arousal, sensation and sexual responsiveness in women.

#4. Menopause Treatment for Vaginal Dryness & Painful Sex

Vaginal itching and dryness – often accompanied by pain during intercourse – is one of the most uncomfortable side effects of menopause. Sadly, after menopause more than 50% of women suffer from vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse.

The most common reason for vaginal dryness and pain during sex is the decline in estrogen that results from menopause.  The estrogen in a woman’s body is responsible for maintaining thick, healthy, elastic tissue in the vaginal walls, as well as producing the moisture needed to lubricate the vagina during sex.  But, as estrogen production decreases during menopause, the vaginal walls become thin, lose their elasticity, and secrete fewer lubricating fluids. 

Replacing the body’s missing estrogen with hormone replacement therapy can help a woman’s body rebuild thick, strong, elastic vaginal walls, and improve production of vaginal lubrication. As a result, sexual intercourse becomes enjoyable again!

#5. Menopause Treatment for Weight Loss

If you are a perimenopausal or menopausal woman you probably already know that it becomes harder each year to maintain your weight. And, during menopause, a woman’s weight genuinely can “shift” – with more fat being stored around the belly.

This is because the hormonal decline that occur during menopause causes weight gain – especially around the belly. But hormone replacement therapy can help you prevent weight gain, lose the weight you may have gained and tone up that mid-section!

When estrogen levels are low, the body’s metabolism slows down – which results in increased fat storage on the body (especially around the middle). Additionally, low estrogen levels mean that the body is less able to break down or “burn” fat, which also results in fat accumulation, weight gain and more “belly fat”.

Further adding to the problem, levels of the hormone leptin also drop during menopause. And this is the hormone that signals the brain to feel “full” when eating. So, most women actually do have a bigger appetite and feel hungrier during menopause – leading to the consumption of more calories.

Fortunately, replacing declining hormones can help curb the appetite, stimulate the metabolism, and encourage fat burning. As a result, the body can more easily lose weight, build muscle, and not store as much fat around the mid-section.

#6. Menopause Treatment for Osteoporosis

An invisible – but dangerous and even deadly – side effect of menopause is osteoporosis. This is because one of estrogen’s many essential duties is to stimulate the cellular activity that produces strong bones. So, during menopause when estrogen levels decline, the bones lose calcium and become thinner and more prone to breaking.

Sadly, up to fifty percent of women who are over the age 50 will suffer a broken bone due to osteoporosis! But since osteoporosis has no visible external symptoms, many women do not even realize that they have lost bone density after menopause, until they experience a fracture.

Several recent clinical studies on menopausal women, however, have reported that estrogen replacement after menopause can prevent fractures due to osteoporosis. These controlled medical research experiments have universally reported that hormone replacement should be the first choice of therapy for osteoporosis, rather than bisphosphonate medicines such as Fosamax and Boniva.

So, rather than relying on “synthetic” drugs, integrative and preventative doctors prefer to treat the underlying cause of osteoporosis – which is estrogen deficiency – with hormone replacement therapy.

Natural Menopause Treatment – Austin, TX

In addition to treating hot flashes, low libido, fatigue, painful sex, vaginal dryness, weight gain, hot flashes and osteoporosis, hormone replacement therapy has been shown to help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and many other life-threatening medical conditions.

If you are a woman who is experiencing the challenges of perimenopause or menopause, schedule an appointment with Doctor Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX to see if hormone replacement therapy is the right treatment for you. Dr. Harper has taken care of menopausal women for over 20 years and will conduct a thorough and personalized hormone analysis and customize a menopause treatment plan that is safe and balanced for your unique needs.

And if you are outside of the Austin, TX area, or prefer to use telemedicine, Dr. Harper can schedule a tele-consultation, and have remote blood work done in your area, so you can start living your best life again throughout menopause and beyond!

Menopause Treatment – Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355