If you think back to adolescence — when your body was flooded with estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones — you probably remember a whole slew of unwanted symptoms, including acne and mood swings. Now that you’re in (or approaching) menopause, you may find that you’re once again at the mercy of your hormones.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. When your change of life changes essential parts of yourself, including your mood and libido, you can restore your hormones to a more youthful level with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Taking HRT can also protect your bones.
At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, our expert OB/GYNs Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD treat menopause symptoms at our two locations in Jacksonville, Florida. Read on to find out if you (and your bones) would benefit from HRT and other treatments.
You don’t feel like yourself
Your hormones regulate nearly every process in your body. When you don’t have enough estrogen, progesterone, or even testosterone, you might feel like a stranger in your own skin. Common complaints that occur when your hormones shift downward include:
- Brain fog
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
When you restore your hormones, you restore your normal level of functioning, too. You sleep better. You think better. You feel better.
You don’t feel like sex
Whether you have a partner or not, you may have noticed that you’re less interested in sex than you were as a younger woman. Although that could be, at least in part, a result of shifting your priorities, that shift might also be inspired by a dip in your hormones.
If you’ve noticed that you're not easily aroused sexually or if you have trouble achieving an orgasm, low levels of hormones are probably the root cause. During perimenopause and menopause, your vagina doesn’t lubricate as well as it did, which can make sex uncomfortable and even painful.
After HRT, your vagina and vulvar tissues are more hydrated and lubricated. Your sex drive increases. Orgasm is faster, easier, and stronger.
You don’t look like yourself
Many of the signs we associate with aging are either caused or exacerbated by drops in hormones. When your hormones shift downward it affects your appearance, leading to:
- Fat gain
- Muscle loss
- Hair loss
- Loose skin
When you are on HRT, many of the physical signs of aging improve, too.
Lack of estrogen causes bone loss
Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings, if you don’t have enough estrogen in your body, you can’t build healthy new bone cells as efficiently.
Healthy bones eliminate old cells once they’ve degenerated, and produce new bone cells to replace them. After menopause, though, you don’t have enough estrogen to produce enough new bone cells to replace the old, dead ones quickly enough. In fact, by the time you’re 70 years old, you could lose up to 40% of your bone density.
Once you’re in menopause, we recommend regular DXA scans to evaluate the health of your bones. If you have a condition called osteopenia, we may recommend lifestyle and dietary changes to keep your bones strong over time. If you have full-fledged osteoporosis — which increases your risk of fractures and height loss — we may recommend medications.
Help your newest stage of life become your best stage of life by balancing your hormones with HRT. To set up a consultation, contact the nearest Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville office today by phone or online form.