Menopause Symptoms: Besides Estrogen, 2 Other Hormones Need Your Attention
Menopause is a significant change in every woman’s life, when she stops having her menstrual period. This usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age. How can you recognize whether the changes have started? Well, the biggest indicator is the absence of menstrual period for more than 12 months. That’s why some people call this period critical age.
During menopause, the woman’s body reduces the production of the hormones called estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. That’s why many women decide to undertake menopausal hormone treatment, also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The lower level of hormones during menopause can cause sudden sensations of heat (hot flashes), brittle bones and vaginal dryness. The hormonal changes may also cause weight gain, especially around the abdomen. To alleviate these problems, it is common for women to be prescribed estrogen with progestin, or only estrogen as a way of treatment. As with other medications, hormone treatment has benefits and risks. Thus, it’s advisable for you to consult your doctor before you start to use.
However, if you choose to use hormones, make sure to follow the prescribed dose. Otherwise, you risk unwanted health complications.
Affected Hormones And Menopause Symptoms
The most affected hormones by menopause are the estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Some women may not have any other symptoms. But others, as menopause approaches, may feel various changes.
The estrogen is the main female hormone. In menopause, the levels of this hormone decline, causing changes in the woman’s body. This can cause vaginal dryness and directly affect the sexual desire and function. Other symptoms include sudden sensations of heat on the face, neck and chest (hot flashes), night sweats, sleep problems, tenderness, tension, nervousness, headaches, fatigue, calcium deficiency and bone loss. The latter one, if left untreated, may ultimately lead to the development of osteoporosis.
In addition, when the levels of estrogen drop, there’s a risk of weight gain, especially around the abdomen. Even though weight gain is usually age-related, the lower estrogen levels can lower the metabolic rate and distort the process of converting stored energy into working energy. To reverse these effects, you need to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
This is another female hormone, produced by the ovaries. This hormone helps prepare the uterus for egg fertilization and protects early pregnancy. Since its production decreases during menopause, there’s no ovulation and the menstrual cycles stop. Progesterone deficiency may result in unusual changes in the menstrual flow, heavier but rare menstrual cycles, and changes in the interval between menstrual periods.
This is a male hormone produced in small quantities in the woman’s body. When the testosterone levels decline, the woman’s libido may be reduced. However, these effects are not yet fully confirmed.
Treatment Of The Menopause Symptoms
How do hormones help with menopause? Hormone therapy can help reduce the hot flashes, relieve the dryness of the vaginal tissue, and reduces the loss of calcium.
In some women, many of the symptoms will go away with time, without any particular treatment. But, others may have difficulties overcoming them. If you want to prevent bone loss and relieve the menopause symptoms, then you should definitely consult your doctor for a proper treatment. In most cases, this includes estrogen with progestin.
What are the benefits of using hormones? Well, this is the most effective method, approved by the FDA. It helps relieve night sweats, sudden hot flashes, and dryness in the vaginal tissue. Also, it can reduce the chance of bone loss and osteoporosis.
What Are The Risks Of Using Hormones?
In some women, the treatment with hormones may increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, and gallbladder disease. Women who have a healthy uterus are at a risk of endometrial cancer, due to the increased levels of estrogen. But, the use of progestin decreases this risk.
Precaution: Women who have vaginal bleeding problems, certain types of cancer, suffered a stroke or heart attack, have problems with blood clots, and are at a risk of liver disease should avoid hormone replacement therapy.