Menopause is the point in a woman’s reproductive cycle where her ovaries stop releasing eggs and she no longer menstruates. You’re not considered to be in menopause until you’ve had no periods for 12 consecutive months.
After you reach menopause, you spend the rest of your life in the postmenopausal phase.
Considering how many women are affected by menopause, it’s surprising how poorly understood this phase of life actually is. Women are often surprised by menopause’s symptoms, or resign themselves to them as if they were an inevitability.
Our expert OB/GYNs — Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD — at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville want you to go through menopause with knowledge and ease. That’s why we offer menopause care, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT), at our two offices in Jacksonville, Florida.
Do you feel stigmatized or hopeless now that you’re facing or entering menopause? Following are some misconceptions about menopause as well as the truth behind them that should help you navigate this new phase of life more comfortably and serenely.
“You’ll be a hot mess”
The most common symptoms associated with menopause are hot flashes and night sweats, which are basically hot flashes that disturb your sleep. Your hormones regulate almost every system in your body, including your internal “thermostat.” When estrogen drops, your temperature can suddenly rise, causing you to heat up and sweat profusely.
Whether your hot flashes are severe or mild, you don’t have to put up with them. Hormone replacement therapy provides your body with the estrogen it needs to help you regulate your temperature. Not only do you feel better during the day, but your sleep is no longer interrupted by awakening in sweat-soaked sheets and nightclothes.
“It’s all downhill from here”
Our current youth-obsessed culture values the young and denigrates the old, forgetting the value and wisdom that years of experience bring. However, many women experience their postmenopausal years as some of the best years of their lives.
Freed from the fears of unwanted pregnancies and the monthly pain and inconvenience of menstruation, they’re able to focus on themselves and their goals in ways they hadn’t been able to before. Without the emotional fluctuations of menstruation, you may find that your brain functions more clearly in your postmenopause years.
Although HRT supplies the missing hormones, they’re stable, rather than cyclical. You can use HRT to combat the initial “brain fog” as your hormones drop, and then enjoy the stability that comes with hormones that no longer fluctuate.
“You can forget about sex”
When you lose progesterone and estrogen, your skin gets thinner and drier. That includes the skin in your vagina. You may find that you don’t lubricate during sex and that intercourse is extremely painful.
The drop in hormones also pushes your libido way down. However, HRT balances your hormones again so that your libido builds up, your skin and vagina grow thicker and moister, and you can once again have pleasurable sex, including orgasms. In fact, without the fear of pregnancy, you may find that you have the best sex and deepest intimacy of your life.
“You’ll never lose weight”
Perimenopause and menopause are associated with weight gain around the midsection, which is notoriously difficult to lose. The diets and exercises that used to work for you may not work any longer.
The change in your hormonal balance also shifts the proportion of fat to muscle in your body. In fact, with less testosterone, it’s hard to build muscle. Muscle tissue accelerates your metabolism and helps you burn fat. Without muscle, the fat accumulates more easily.
With HRT, your body gets the hormones it needs to stabilize your metabolism. Add in resistance training, and you’re more able to build muscle and burn fat again.
“Hormone therapy’s dangerous”
One of the most common misconceptions about menopause is that HRT increases your risk for heart disease or cancer. These conclusions were based on early, flawed studies and have since been disproved.
Today’s HRT is not only safe, but it’s also structurally identical to your own hormones. You won’t experience side effects. Within a week or two, your body adjusts to the new hormones and your symptoms begin to resolve.
“You only need to treat severe symptoms”
If you’re in perimenopause or menopause, you don’t have to wait until you’re suffering to get help. Whether you have insomnia, are losing hair, or just don’t feel like yourself, HRT can put you in balance again.
Make postmenopause the best time of your life by contacting our supportive team today for HRT. Phone our Jacksonville, Florida, location nearest you, or use our online appointment form.