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