Adjust Your Workout Routine After 40 to Build Strength & Muscle

Are you in your fabulous 40s and feeling like your usual workout routine just isn’t cutting it anymore? Don’t sweat it,  because you’re not alone. Our bodies go through some major changes as we age, and that means the exercise routine that once worked like magic in our 20s and 30s might need a little adjustment. But fear not! There are plenty of ways to tweak your workout regimen and keep that strength and lean muscle well into your 40s and beyond.

Say hello to your new best friend: strength training! As we age, it becomes even more important to hit those weights. Not only does strength training help you build muscle naturally, but it also has a magical effect on your hormone balance.

In this article, Dr. Ruthie Harper, MD, in Austin, TX highlights how strength training can boost the body’s natural anabolic hormones – like testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) – to build muscle and strength after age 40.

Pump Up the Strength Training Volume:

#1. Consistent Strength Training

Aim for two to five sessions of resistance training per week, and don’t forget to mix it up with some cardio, stretching, and active recovery days.

#2. Lower Body Strength Training Workouts

While all resistance training is awesome, let’s give a shout-out to those lower body workouts. Studies have shown that exercises targeting your legs and glutes can have some seriously fabulous benefits.

Not only do lower body workouts make those large muscle groups stronger, but they also stimulate the production of the body’s natural anabolic hormones like testosterone. Plus, they improve hormone balance by enhancing insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, while keeping excess cortisol and estrogen in check.

#3.  Progressive Overload Strength Training

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the ideal body composition. To achieve maximum results, focus on progressive overload. This is all about gradually increasing the challenge in your strength training over time.

Dr. Ruthie Harper, in Austin, TX advises taking it slow and steady. Start with lighter weights and gradually work your way up as you become a muscle-building machine. Mix up your rep schemes and aim for three to five sets of eight to 12 reps per exercise, taking a breather of about two minutes between sets.

#4. Kaatsu Strength Training

One hot trend in the fitness world that’s perfect for those over 40 is Kaatsu training. Kaatsu is all about blood flow restriction training. It involves using bands to restrict blood flow to your muscles during exercise. This technique has been shown to give your muscles a growth and strength boost, even with lighter loads. It’s like a secret weapon for fighting those age-related declines in muscle mass and hormonal changes.

By using Kaatsu cuffs on your upper arms or thighs, you can activate your muscles like never before, leading to increased muscle fiber recruitment and growth. And hey, that’s not all!

Kaatsu training has also been found to improve cardiovascular health, increase endurance, and speed up your post-workout recovery. Kaatsu training shows promise as a time-efficient and effective method for maintaining and building muscle in those of us who are rocking our 40s and beyond.

5. Cardio + Strength Training

While strength training is essential, let’s not forget about variety. Cardiovascular exercise is essential for keeping your heart healthy, boosting your stamina, energizing you throughout the day, and ensuring a good night’s sleep. Mix it up by adding activities like rowing or walking to your routine. Find an exercise that tickles your fancy and commit to it in the long run because consistency is key.

6. Safe Strength Training

We may be fabulous, but let’s face it, we’re a tad more prone to injuries as we age. So, take some precautions and avoid pushing yourself too hard. If you’re new to strength training or want to level up safely, consider investing in personal or small group training. Your body will thank you! And speaking of thanks, show your muscles some love by giving them the rest and recovery they deserve. Adjust the intensity of your workouts as needed, and always listen to your body. Recovery becomes a bit trickier and more time-consuming with age, so make sure to give yourself ample time to rest and recharge those batteries.

Strength Training After Forty | Austin, TX

Adapting your workout routine after 40 is all about maintaining your strength and building lean muscle. Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX recommends incorporating strength training, giving some extra attention to your lower body, challenging yourself gradually, trying out exciting new trends like Kaatsu training, keeping things fresh with variety, and putting safety and recovery first. And in no time, you’ll be feeling strong and fabulous at any age. So let’s get out there, break a sweat, and show the world that age is just a number!


Could Your Menopause Symptoms Actually be Graves’ Disease?

If you are suffering from fatigue, mood swings, weight changes, irregular menstrual cycles, and other common symptoms of menopause, you may actually be a victim of Grave’s Disease.

Grave’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, leading to an overproduction of thyroid hormones. This condition can cause a variety of symptoms that may be similar to other medical conditions – so it is often mistaken for conditions like menopause or other hormonal imbalances.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Graves’ disease affects nearly 1 in 100 Americans, or about 5.7 million people. It is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States, accounting for about 4 out of 5 cases.

In this article thyroid specialist and integrative medicine doctor Ruthie Harper, MD in Austin TX explains the overlap between menopause and Grave’s disease – and explains how you can tell what is causing your symptoms.

Who Gets Grave’s Disease?

Grave’s disease is more common in women than men. The disease typically affects people between the ages of 20 and 50, but it can also occur at any age. Because this age and gender range overlaps with that of menopause, healthcare providers may mistakenly diagnose menopause as the primary cause of symptoms in women approaching their 40s, overlooking the possibility of Grave’s disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Grave’s Disease?

The thyroid is an essential gland that influences almost every function of the body – from reproduction to weight gain, to mood. So, when the body has a disease of the thyroid, such as Grave’s disease, it can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Grave’s disease can cause mood issues and psychological symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, and depression, which are also associated with menopause. These psychological symptoms can further complicate the diagnostic process, as they can be attributed to a wide range of various other factors.

Hyperthyroidism related symptoms of Grave’s disease can include weight loss, increased appetite, rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations), and even tremors. While eye-related symptoms may include bulging eyes (exophthalmos), dry or gritty sensation in the eyes, redness, double vision, light sensitivity, and eye pain or pressure.

Some individuals with Graves’ disease may experience skin problems such as swelling or thickening on the front of the lower legs (pretibial myxedema) or a red, raised rash on the shins known as Graves’ dermopathy.

Is It Menopause of Grave’s Disease?

Grave’s disease may also cause many symptoms that overlap with menopause including mood swings, heat intolerance, excessive sweating, and difficulty sleeping. Grave’s disease can also cause irregular or heavy menstrual periods, which can be mistaken as PCOS in younger women and menopause in older women.

Without proper diagnosis, it can be challenging to differentiate between these conditions. As a result, many physicians miss Grave’s disease and simple prescribe menopause treatments – such as estrogen therapy – without doing a full diagnosis.

How to Diagnose Grave’s Disease

To accurately diagnose Grave’s disease, a thyroid specialist like Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX will perform a thorough medical history review that looks at the ‘big picture,” a physical examination, and order very specific tests. Blood tests that measure levels of thyroid hormones (such as T3 and T4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) can help identify the excess production of thyroid hormones associated with Grave’s disease.

In some cases, additional imaging studies or specialized tests, like a thyroid ultrasound or radioactive iodine uptake scan, may be necessary. Radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU) tests measure how much radioactive iodine the thyroid gland absorbs, providing information about its function. Ultrasound or scintigraphy may be performed to evaluate the size, shape, and structure of the thyroid gland.

What Causes Grave’s Disease?

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder – meaning that the patient’s own body mistakes one of its own parts as a foreign invader an attacks it. Like many autoimmune diseases, the exact cause of Graves’ disease is not fully understood. However, it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors.

Certain risk factors, such as family history of autoimmune disorders, smoking, and high iodine levels, may also increase the likelihood of developing Grave’s disease. Additionally, some recent clinical studies suggest that infections or stress may trigger the onset of Graves’ disease in individuals with a genetic predisposition.

This comes as no surprise to integrative medicine doctors like Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX who know that diet, stress, and other lifestyle factors contribute to many chronic conditions and diseases.

How Grave’s Disease is Treated

Grave’s disease should always be treated by a thyroid specialist like Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX. While treatment options for Graves’ disease are aimed at restoring thyroid hormone levels to normal, many physicians will just throw a one-size-fits-all thyroid prescription at the patient.

However, the best choice of treatment should be customized to each patients test results, age, overall health, severity of symptoms, and personal preferences. Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX provides a comprehensive approach that may combine antithyroid medications, iodine therapy, lifestyle adjustments – and in rare but extreme cases thyroid surgery.

Radioactive iodine therapy should be used extremely sparingly as a last resort. This treatment involves taking a radioactive iodine capsule or liquid that is selectively absorbed by the thyroid gland, leading to the destruction of thyroid cells. Over time, this treatment typically results in hypothyroidism, which then needs to be managed with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

In other extreme cases, surgical removal of all or a part of the thyroid gland may be recommended, particularly if there are large goiters, or severe eye complications. However, other treatment options should be exhausted first to avoid destruction of the thyroid or invasive surgery if possible.

Grave’s Disease Doctor | Austin, TX

If you are a woman over 40 who is suffering from symptoms that are interfering with your enjoyment of life, it may be menopause – but it may also be Grave’s disease! Integrative medicine thyroid specialist Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose and differentiate between conditions like Grave’s disease and menopause. Then she will put in place a customized treatment and management plan that is individualized for you and your symptoms – so you can stop suffering and get your quality of life back!

Grave’s Disease Doctor | Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355


New Help Losing Weight After Menopause

Any woman over fifty already knows that as women age and enter menopause, weight loss becomes increasingly difficult. Hormonal changes, slowed metabolism, and decreased physical activity can all contribute to weight gain and difficulty in shedding extra pounds. The added pounds can be frustrating, embarrassing, and significantly affect a woman’s health, self-esteem, and quality of life.

However, new breakthroughs in weight loss for post-menopausal women have recently emerged, offering new hope for those looking to improve their health and lose weight!

In this article, Dr. Ruthie Harper, MD in Austin, TX explains the new technologies available to help post-menopausal women lose weight, so that they can look and feel their best at any age.

How Mitochondria Affect Weight Loss

One of the most promising new breakthroughs in female weight loss is the evaluation of mitochondrial health after menopause.

Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, responsible for producing energy in the form of ATP through the process of cellular respiration. In lay person terms, Mitochondria are tiny organs inside our cells that make the energy our cells need to function. They do this by breaking down food molecules and using the energy to create a molecule called ATP.

ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. It is a molecule that cells use to store and release energy. ATP is like a battery that cells can use to power their activities. The average cell contains about 100,000 ATP molecules. ATP is a vital molecule for life. Without ATP, cells would not be able to function.

Mitochondria & Weight Loss After Menopause

Since the mitochondria regulate energy use (burning calories), evaluating mitochondrial function can be a useful tool in understanding the root causes of weight gain and difficulty in losing weight.

Mitochondrial dysfunction – poorly functioning mitochondria – has been linked to metabolic disorders, insulin resistance, and obesity.

Here are some ways in which evaluating mitochondrial function can help with weight loss:

1. Identifying underlying health issues: Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with a range of health issues, including metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. Evaluating mitochondrial function can help identify if there are underlying health issues that may be contributing to weight gain and difficulty in losing weight.

2. Understanding energy metabolism: Mitochondrial function is essential for energy metabolism and fat oxidation. By evaluating mitochondrial function, we can gain insight into how well our bodies are able to convert food into energy, which is essential for weight loss.

3. Targeting treatments: Understanding mitochondrial function can help identify potential targets for interventions that can improve weight loss outcomes. For example, research has shown that targeting mitochondrial function through exercise and diet interventions can improve metabolic health and aid in weight loss.

4. Personalizing weight loss plans: Evaluating mitochondrial function can help personalize weight loss plans by identifying individual differences in metabolic function. This information can then be used to tailor interventions to the individual’s specific needs, which can lead to more effective weight loss outcomes.

5. Monitoring progress: Monitoring mitochondrial function can be a useful tool for tracking progress in weight loss efforts. Improvements in mitochondrial function can be an indicator of improved metabolic health and weight loss success.

Hormone Therapy for Weight Loss After Menopause

Another breakthrough in weight loss for post-menopausal women is the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that involves replacing the hormones that are lost during menopause. HRT has been shown to help women lose weight and improve their body composition.

In a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, women who received HRT lost significantly more body fat than those who did not receive HRT. The study also found that HRT improved bone density and reduced the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that is common in post-menopausal women.

Exercise for Weight Loss After Menopause

In addition to mitochondrial health and HRT, exercise has also been shown to be a key component in weight loss for post-menopausal women. Exercise can help women build muscle mass, which can help increase metabolism and burn more calories. Studies have also shown that exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, which can lead to improved overall health.

A study conducted by the University of Alabama found that post-menopausal women who exercised regularly lost more body fat and had a higher percentage of lean muscle mass than those who did not exercise.

Menopause Weight Loss Doctor | Austin, TX

Weight loss can be an extremely challenging and frustrating journey for post-menopausal women. However, with the right approach, it is possible to achieve success and improve overall health.

Dr. Ruthie Harper, MD in Austin, TX explains offers the newest technologies and treatments available to help post-menopausal women lose weight, so that they can look and feel their best at any age!

If you are a post-menopausal woman who is struggling to lose weight, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruthie Harper, MD in Austin, TX. She will help you take control of your weight loss journey and achieve long-lasting success.

Menopause Weight Loss Doctor | Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355

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

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

Natural Menopause Treatments

Live Your Best Life with Natural Menopause Treatments

For centuries, the symptoms of menopause were considered a normal part of aging for a woman. And, sadly, menopausal females simply had to learn to endure the discomfort, indignities and health complications associated with menopausal hormone decline.

But recent advancements in modern medicine now offer women a wide variety of safe, effective and natural state-of-the-art menopause treatments. This is one reason why amazing, high-profile women such as Halle Berry (age 54), Sandra Bullock (age 57), Christie Brinkley (age 66), Cher (as 73) and Jane Fonda (age 81!) all live life with beauty and vitality.

Now, these leading-edge antiaging medical treatments are available to women of all walks of life at Ruthie Harper Integrative Health in Austin, TX.

In this article, women’s health specialist Dr. Ruthie Harper discusses four of the most advanced treatments for reversing the effects of menopause – so that her female patients can live life with youthful vitality, beauty and grace at every age.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is the gradual decline in hormone production that transitions a woman from her reproductive years into the stage of life where she is not fertile and cannot conceive children.  Menopause is officially marked by a woman no longer having her menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. But “perimenopause” – the first stage in this process – can start up to eight to 10 years before menopause.

Throughout perimenopause and menopause, production of the “sex hormones” that regulate reproduction gradually but dramatically decline. However, these hormones – specifically estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone – also affect many other aspects of a woman’s health and wellbeing besides reproduction! So, in addition to no longer having monthly menstrual cycles, perimenopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal women also typically experience a number of unpleasant symptoms and side effects.

Some of the side effects of menopause are more superficial: weight gain, increased belly fat, thinning hair, and aging skin. Other side effects of hormone decline range from mildly annoying to severely impacting a woman’s quality of life: hot flashes, night sweats, decreased libido, and pain during intercourse. And, menopause can also increase the risk of certain life-threatening medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.

Natural Treatments for Menopause

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Thinning Hair

Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones that assist hair in growing faster and staying on the head for longer periods of time. So, when a women’s production of estrogen and progesterone declines during menopause, hair grows much more slowly and becomes much thinner. Additionally, the decrease in these hormones triggers an increase in the production of male hormones or “androgens” that are responsible for shrinking the hair follicles.

One natural and effective treatment for restoring and thickening hair in women during and after menopause is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) hair restoration. PRP has been used in joint regeneration, sports medicine, and “Vampire Facials®” for several years. Now this revolutionary technology is available for hair restoration at our Austin, TX office.

Platelet Rich Plasma is a natural hair loss treatment in which growth factors are isolated from the patient’s own blood and then re-injected into the scalp to rejuvenate hair follicles, stimulate hair-growth, and thicken thinning hair.

Sight Defense MV for Eyesight

As a woman’s circle of friends gets older, it often becomes a running joke that nearly all of them need some form of “reading glasses” just to look at a menu. But certain types of declining eyesight are no laughing matter – and can in fact lead to blindness.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss for women over 60, with 2 million people suffering from the advanced form of the disease known as “Wet AMD.” Since estrogen helps protect against this common condition, the hormonal decline of menopause puts women at greater risk for developing AMD.

Recent clinical studies, as reported in Science Daily, have demonstrated that women in menopause who are given estrogen replacement have a 48% lower risk of developing advanced stages of macular degeneration. Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX is a hormone therapy expert who can restore estrogen levels with natural bioidentical hormone therapy – to help protect the eyes during and after menopause.

Dr. Harper has also created a high quality daily multivitamin called Sight Defense MV that contains the nutrients recommended by the National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). Sight Defense MV contains a specific formulation of vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and high levels of antioxidants shown to significantly reduce the risk of advanced AMD and its associated vision loss.

Hormone Replacement for Sexual Health

The hormone decline of menopause can manifest in a wide variety of sexual problems for women. Vaginal dryness and itching, loss of interest in sex, reduced sexual sensation, and pain during intercourse can all result from menopausal hormone deficiency. 

The hormone estrogen 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.  Unfortunately, as estrogen production decreases during perimenopause, the walls of the vagina become thinner, 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. Stronger, healthier vaginal tissue means improved sexual sensation for the woman and her partner during penetration. And renewed lubrication reduces friction, so sexual intercourse becomes enjoyable again!

Additionally, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone all play a role in female sexual arousal and desire. So, restoring optimal levels of these hormones can reinvigorate libido during menopause – restoring one’s interest in sex.

Comprehensive lab work is conducted so that the hormone replacement can be customized to offer the best strength and dosage for each individual woman’s unique hormone rebalancing needs. Thorough blood work also ensure that safe amounts of hormones are being administered. And the use of bioidentical hormones ensures that a woman’s body is only seeing the safe and effective hormones in her body that were once present in her younger years.

Aesthetic Treatments for Aging Skin

Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX understands that the visible or cosmetic signs of aging can also be demoralizing – affecting a woman’s confidence and self esteem as she navigates menopause and beyond. That is why she also offers an array of aesthetic treatments that combat and reverse the effects of aging on a woman’s skin.

Collagen and elastin are the protein building blocks that form the “scaffolding” of firm, healthy, youthful skin. While hyaluronic acid is the substance produced by your body to retain water and keep the skin lubricated, moist and “plump”.

As a woman goes through menopause her production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid slows considerably. Decreasing estrogen levels are also believed to contribute to reduced collagen production and water content. And as the skin loses these important structural components, it becomes dry, loses elasticity and begins to wrinkle and sag.

Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX offers several aesthetic treatments that naturally stimulate the body to begin producing collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid – repairing the tissue, tightening and smoothing the skin, and reducing lines, wrinkles, discoloration (“age spots”) and other visible signs of aging.

The IPL facial is an advanced laser treatment that harnesses the power of “Intense Pulsed Light” to activate collagen and elastin production. Similarly, microneedling in our Austin, TX office creates microscopic needle pricks to the skin that stimulate the body’s own “wound healing” mechanisms. As the body goes to work repairing these “wounds,” it produces collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid – so aging skin becomes tighter, smoother and more youthful in appearance.

And, the Nova Thread “PDO thread lift” is a revolutionary, affordable, minimally invasive procedure that offers the skin-tightening benefits of a face lift – without surgery and with almost no downtime! Dr. Harper inserts invisible sutures or “threads” beneath the skin that lift and tighten the face, neck or other body part – and hold it in place to restore youthful tone and tightness.

Natural Menopause Treatments – Austin, TX

These and many other natural regenerative treatments available at our Austin, TX office enable women to look and feel their best during perimenopause, menopause and beyond! Thanks to these groundbreaking, state-of-the-art procedures and technologies fifty really IS the “new thirty”. 

Menopause and it’s frustrating and dangerous side-effects are NOT something you simply have to “learn to live with.” If you have begun to notice any of the signs of menopause – from thinning hair, to aging skin, or vaginal and sexual changes, low energy, weight gain or more – schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX today.

See will put together a safe and customized menopause treatment plan that is personalized for your unique, individual symptoms and health concerns – so you can live life to the fullest with health, vitality and beauty at every age!

Natural 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