Hormone Replacement Therapy
As we age our bodies naturally begin to change. One of the biggest changes to occur are in our hormones. Hormones play an important role in the growth of a number of organs in our body that affect our mood, metabolism, sexual function and so on.
For women, hormonal changes happen during the three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause, and it is during the perimenopause phase that women begin to experience symptoms of menopause as estrogen levels begin to drop.
This phase begins a few years before menopause starts, typically beginning between the 30s and 40s. During this time, the ovaries produce fewer estrogen, which is the main hormone controlling the menstrual cycle and physical changes in women. Perimenopause lasts an average of four years, but can last longer for others, and ends when a woman hasn’t had their period for a year and can no longer produce eggs. This end is the beginning of menopause, beginning in a woman’s late 40s to early 50s
Due to the drop in hormones, the body feels the change. During both the perimenopause and menopause stage, women experience a number of symptoms as the body tries to adapt. Some of the symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Loss of sex drive
- Vaginal dryness which can be uncomfortable during sex
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Fatigue and trouble with sleeping.
Most menopausal symptoms slowly subside years after menopause when women enter the post-menopause stage. But even then women will have to wait several years until this stage, and the hormone imbalance leading up to post-menopause can significantly affect their physical and emotional state. Symptoms can often be managed by making lifestyle changes like eating better and exercising more; however if these lifestyle changes don’t seem to ease much of the discomfort, another effective option is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
HRT returns the balance of hormones back to its normal state by replacing the ones the female body no longer makes with identical hormones, with the dose and duration of hormones depending on the individual’s needs and after an assessment has been done. By having hormones returned back to usual, women can experience benefits such as having more energy, increased sex drive, control of mood swings, decrease in night sweats and hot flushes, better skin texture and elasticity and more.