Menopause is a significant moment in female sexual health. It represents the end of the menstrual cycle. This change brings about several hormonal changes that are uncomfortable at best and debilitating at worse. Menopausal hormone therapy can help overcome the side effects of menopause. Here are the top ten benefits to menopausal hormone therapy.
Relief from Hot Flashes
Most women deal with hot flashes at some point during menopause. The flashes may start long before the menopause does and persist for years after the change. They last for an average of two years after a woman’s final period, but they have been noted to last for over a decade at times.
Hot flashes feel like a localized heatwave in your body. The reason they happen during menopause is because estrogen fluctuations interfere with the body’s thermostatic control, leaving women feeling too hot or too cold. Menopausal hormone therapy help control these symptoms. Menopause isn’t the only reason for hot flashes. It’s worth discussing the issue with your doctor in case it is related to another health condition, such as a thyroid problem.
Solace from Night Sweats
Hormone therapy helps combat the excessive night sweats that come with menopause. This is one of the more unpleasant side effects of this natural part of life. It leads to your bedding and night clothes being drenched with sweat, making them uncomfortable to sleep in. It can also cause sleep deprivation, which leads to all manner of problems by itself.
Decreased Mood Swings
Fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels cause mood swings in menopausal women. Women might switch from being happy one second to angry the next. It also causes low mood, drains motivation and energy, and more. All these symptoms can be relieved with the help of hormone replacement therapy.
Eases Vaginal Dryness
Hormone replacement therapy eases vaginal dryness and its associated symptoms. This can include discomfort and pain during sex, itchiness and pain around the vagina, and increased risk of urinary tract infections.
Helps with Bladder Problems
Menopause has a drastic impact on bladder lining. Drops in estrogen cause disruption to bladder lining. This drop in collagen and elastin means the bladder has less support and resilience. The result is increased risk of cystitis and urinary tract infections. It also causes frequent urination and a sensitive bladder. These symptoms are, somewhat ironically, referred to as the FUN symptoms:
- Frequent – a constant need to urinate
- Urgency – a need to run to the bathroom
- Nocturia – an urge to urinate during the night
Relief from Stress Incontinence
What woman hasn’t had a little urine come out when laughing or sneezing? That is entirely normal. However, the problem becomes more frequent and unpleasant after menopause. This is known as stress incontinence and can be remedied with hormone replacement treatment.
Increased Libido/Sex Drive
The female sex drive is a complex thing at times. Women going through menopause often notice a change in sexual desire even though everything else in the relationship is going well. The reason for that is changes to hormone levels. Estrogen and testosterone levels start declining during menopause. Both of these hormones are important in determining sex drive, so less hormones leads to less libido. Your body regards menopause as the end of your sexual life, but of course many women continue to enjoy an active and healthy sex life after menopause.
Reduced “Brain Fog”
Some women going through menopause notice they have trouble remembering things clearly and thinking on their feet. This symptom is commonly known as “brain fog” and leads to problems with remembering names, finding the right words in a situation, forgetting where things are, and trouble multitasking. These symptoms are all caused by fluctuating estrogen levels and can be treated with hormone replacement therapy. You should think clearer and have better mental agility after going through hormone therapy.
Estrogen is special because it is the most important factor in maintaining female bone health. It allows cells to remove old bone and replace it with new and healthier bones, creating a healthy bone cycle for women.
However, as estogen levels drop during menopause, bones start to become hollow and thin. Women lose an average of five percent of bone mass in the first year of menopause and a further one percent per year after that. The condition is known as osteopenia at first and it evolves into osteoporosis as it gets worse.
Women with osteoporosis are prescribed medications such as bisphosphonates to treat broken bones and reduce the risk of future fractures. These medications are helpful, but they don’t treat the root cause. They only harden existing bone; they don’t replace old bone with new bone. As such, they can lead to BRONJ (Bisphosphonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw).
One of the benefits of hormone replacement therapy for menopause is that it prevents bone thinning and reduces the risk of fracture for menopausal women. It also improves spine health to allow for good posture and continued bone health into old age.
Another symptom of the negative effects of the menopause is disturbed sleeping patterns. Many women describe being exhausted at night but still unable to sleep. Others become lighter sleepers and start to wake up earlier than they want to. While some of these problems are caused by the aforementioned bladder problems, hot flushes, and night sweats, estrogen fluctuations by themselves cause sleeping troubles. All these symptoms can be relieved with hormone therapy for menopause.
It’s Time to Talk to a Doctor
Going through the menopause is an entirely natural process. While it should never be considered a disease, the hormonal changes associated with it can cause significant symptoms that are difficult to live with. There’s no shame in seeking hormone therapy to help with menopause symptoms.
Your doctor could also refer you to a hormone specialist to prevent osteoporosis, particularly if you are considered at risk of developing it. No matter your reasons for choosing to have hormone therapy, your doctor will work with you to ensure all the best choices are made to make your menopause experience as comfortable as possible.