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