Hormones do not take holidays; instead, they naturally cycle and decrease as we age, especially for women reaching menopause. So, they never take a holiday, which means they are always working to cope with natural physical changes. As these levels decrease in a woman’s body, symptoms of aging appear and begin to persist. Physicians recognize this period of change commonly known as perimenopause and menopause. Women experience typical symptoms of declining hormone levels that include hot flushes, trouble sleeping, and fatigue. They may also note memory fog and a decline in sexual desire. Stressful times can further aggravate these symptoms of hormonal deficiency.
Should I Take Hormones?
This question is asked daily by patients experiencing the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. Generally, my answer is “Yes; you should take them.” When it comes to the issues surrounding menopause and hormone changes, in my opinion the benefits of taking them far outweigh the small risks that can be associated with this treatment option.
The major concern most patients have is the risk of breast cancer, and its association with breast cancer. This controversy started over 10 years ago, when a study concluded there was an increased risk of breast cancer in patients taking hormones. Later studies have not confirmed these findings. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) not only prevents hot flushes and insomnia during menopause, but may reduce the risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, memory changes, vaginal atrophy, and urinary incontinence.
How Hormones Help for the Holidays
HRT consists of replacing the hormones- estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as they adjust to a level you enjoyed at a younger age. Estrogen is considered the dominant female hormone. This is the one that helps with hot flushes, trouble sleeping, memory fog, and vaginal dryness. Progesterone reverses the effects of estrogen on the breast and the uterus. It also helps with sleep. Testosterone is the “feel good” hormone. Testosterone is responsible for increased energy, motivation, muscle and bone strength, and sex drive. Ultimately, HRT can help you feel like yourself again.
At Woodlands OBGYN Associates, our goal is to help your hormones help you be your best. If you’re experiencing troublesome symptoms of menopause, and would like to discuss your needs, contact our office to learn more about your options. Scheduling an appointment with one of our experienced physicians is easy, simply call 281-364-9898.
Raj Syal, MD, FACOG