by Phoebee Johnson | Apr 6, 2022 | Hormone Replacement Therapy, Menopause
Menopause comes with many changes. Many women experience disruptive symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia. Another issue that people don’t seem to talk about as much is anxiety. Anxiety during menopause may be due to several factors, including hormone fluctuations during and after menopause. Because hormones can have such an impact on mood and anxiety, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may help alleviate your symptoms. Let’s talk about menopause, anxiety, and HRT.
HRT Can Help Alleviate Menopause Symptoms
Say goodbye to menopause symptoms with HRT to balance your hormones.
Before we get into HRT for menopausal anxiety, let’s go over what HRT is and why you may need it during menopause. Hormone replacement therapy refers to medications that supplement your natural hormone levels. During menopause, women may have a regimen of estrogen and progesterone to help even out hormone levels. Many women also take testosterone replacement therapy.
The goal for HRT is to alleviate menopause symptoms, which are typically brought on by low and imbalanced hormone levels. During menopause, our bodies start to produce significantly less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Levels may fluctuate leading up to our last period, sometimes being higher or lower than normal. After we reach our last period and enter post-menopause, our ovaries produce much less of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
These hormone changes can cause many symptoms, some of which you’re probably familiar with. They include symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood changes
- Low sex drive
- Vaginal dryness
Low hormone levels after menopause can also increase the risk for many health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
Our providers may prescribe HRT to help relieve your symptoms during menopause, particularly if you experience hot flashes, as hormone therapy is one of the most effective treatments for menopausal hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms. However, HRT may also help with many other symptoms, such as mood changes, including depressive and anxiety symptoms.
The Link Between Menopause and Anxiety
Many women say they feel more anxious during menopause. In fact, an estimated 23% of women experience anxiety symptoms during menopause. Therefore, it’s no surprise you might be wondering if menopause can cause anxiety or whether there is a connection. Anxiety is a pretty complex condition, so there may be many factors at play. However, hormone and life changes may contribute to feeling anxious during menopause.
Some symptoms of anxiety include:
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive worrying
- Panic attacks
- Racing heart
- Difficulty breathing
- Tingly or numb hands
- Chest pain
Every woman is different, but generally if you have past history of anxiety symptoms, your risk for experiencing anxiety-like symptoms in menopause may be higher. However, there does appear to be a connection between menopause and anxiety, as some studies show that menopausal women are more likely to experience anxiety symptoms and panic attacks compared to pre- or post-menopausal women of the same age.
Some factors that may explain the increased rates of anxiety during menopause include hormone levels and life changes that are common during this time.
Hormone Changes and Low Estrogen May Increase the Risk for Anxiety Symptoms
One reason you may experience anxiety during menopause is due to changing hormone levels. As we mentioned, hormones during menopause typically start to fluctuate, change, and decrease. Low estrogen levels during this time are likely responsible for many menopause symptoms, like hot flashes and mood changes. Many believe estrogen also plays a role in anxiety during menopause. Many women notice their anxiety symptoms get better after beginning HRT with estrogen for their menopause symptoms. In fact, one 2009 study in Gender Medicine journal looked at the relationship between estrogen and behavior linked with anxiety and depression. The researchers found that higher scores for anxiety and depression were associated with lower estrogen levels. Therefore, low estrogen and hormone imbalances during menopause may contribute to anxiety during this stage of life.
Other Reasons for Anxiety During Menopause
However, there may be other factors at play if you’re feeling anxious during menopause. The average age of menopause in the U.S. is 51, which is also an age where many of us experience other life changes as well.
For instance, many women become empty nesters at this time, which can change many family and relationship dynamics. You might be caring for aging parents and dealing with the stressors that come along with it. This is often also a time of high stress in many people’s careers. Some also go through a period where they are re-discovering themselves and may struggle with insecurity. Therefore, many life changes that often happen during the time of menopause can also contribute to mood changes and feelings of anxiety.
Can HRT Help with Anxiety During Menopause?
Since menopausal anxiety may have a hormonal component to it, you might wonder whether HRT can help relieve anxiety symptoms during menopause. Some studies do suggest that estrogen may have some anti-anxiety properties. Of course, you should talk to our providers to find personalized treatment options based on your specific circumstances. However, research from Harvard and Emory University suggests estrogen may play a big role in anxiety.
HRT with Estrogen May Lower Fear Response & Anxiety
According to The Harvard Gazette, recent research shows that estrogen levels may affect how susceptible some women are to anxiety. The article explains that depression and anxiety disorders are about twice as common in women than in men, with times of higher anxiety often linking up with hormone changes, such as puberty, certain periods of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and during menopause.
Both studies looked at fear response in relation to estrogen. They found that estrogen may have a calming effect on the fear response, including for women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, there is some evidence that increasing estrogen may reduce anxiety-like symptoms. Researchers are still studying the effects of HRT on anxiety in menopausal women, but many women notice improvements in their mood symptoms after beginning an HRT regimen.
Why Might HRT Help with Anxiety During Menopause?
Estrogen is a sex hormone, so you might be wondering what it has to do with anxiety and why hormone imbalance treatment may help with anxiety symptoms. Scientists are still studying the connection. However, it may be due to estrogen receptors in the brain that can increase the risk for anxiety. For instance, estrogen receptors may affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is basically the relationship between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. The key detail to note here is that this axis has a large impact on your body’s response to stress. Some researchers also believe estrogen receptors in the brain can impact serotonin levels, which may also explain the link between estrogen and anxiety.
Hormone Imbalance Treatment from HerKare
If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, visit our providers at HerKare for help. We are a women’s health clinic dedicated to empowering women through quality health care. Our team takes a holistic approach to health care and provides treatment solutions personalized to you. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a hormone imbalance, our team may prescribe bioidentical hormone therapy to help alleviate your symptoms. Make an appointment at one of our convenient locations today!
by Phoebee Johnson | Mar 4, 2022 | Hormone Replacement Therapy, Menopause, Wellness
Low estrogen levels during menopause can cause many different symptoms and health concerns. As you may know, declining estrogen is responsible for symptoms like hot flashes and mood changes during menopause. However, many people don’t realize that low estrogen during menopause can also lead to other issues like overactive bladder. Let’s discuss the link between estrogen and overactive bladder (OAB) and what you can do to help with OAB during menopause.
Low estrogen might cause changes in your pelvic muscles and bladder that affect your everyday activities.
Low Estrogen During Menopause Can Lead to Overactive Bladder
Many people experience overactive bladder. However, overactive bladder is more common in women, and the risk for OAB increases as we approach middle age. This is also the time where our hormone levels begin to fluctuate, eventually leading to menopause.
Studies suggest decreasing estrogen levels in menopause may be to blame for overactive bladder and urinary incontinence. Estrogen is an important hormone in your body that is responsible for many different functions. You can find estrogen receptors throughout the body, including in the bladder. Therefore, changes in estrogen levels during and after menopause may lead to overactive bladder symptoms.
What is Overactive Bladder?
Overactive bladder is a health condition an estimated 33 million Americans experience. This condition affects your bladder control and can cause unwanted symptoms that affect everyday life. Overactive bladder is a type of urinary incontinence and is also known as urgency incontinence. OAB is different from stress incontinence, which can cause you to leak urine when there’s extra pressure on your bladder, such as when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. Instead, overactive bladder generally means you experience frequent and urgent feeling that you need to pee, often at inconvenient times.
Symptoms of Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder can cause many symptoms. You might have overactive bladder if you:
- Experience sudden urges to urinate immediately
- Can’t “hold it” until you can make it to the toilet
- Experience urine leaks right after a sudden urge to urinate
- Wake up at night frequently to pee
- Urinate more than eight times in a 24-hour day
As you can see, overactive bladder can be a disruptive condition that may affect your overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are treatments available.
It’s important to understand that overactive bladder is not a normal part of aging. Our providers can help you find treatment solutions based on your needs and lifestyle, including increasing estrogen levels in your body if low estrogen is to blame for your OAB.
How Does Low Estrogen Lead to Overactive Bladder?
The link between overactive bladder and estrogen is complex. Researchers are still studying the exact cause. However, there are several potential explanations that may shed light on estrogen’s effects on the bladder.
Low estrogen can cause many changes in the body, including weaker pelvic muscles and a thinner urethra lining. These changes may increase the risk for overactive bladder and poor bladder control after menopause.
Low Estrogen Weakens the Pelvic Muscles
The higher estrogen levels we have in our bodies before menopause may have a protective effect on the pelvic muscles. Estrogen can help keep the pelvic muscles strong before menopause. Strong pelvic muscles support the bladder and also assist with the ability to hold in your urine until you can make it to the bathroom.
Low estrogen during and after menopause can cause pelvic muscles to become weaker, reducing bladder support and your ability to hold in your urine. In turn, this can cause overactive bladder symptoms, like frequent and strong urges to urinate or not being able to make it to the restroom in time.
Low Estrogen May Thin the Lining of the Urethra
Declining estrogen levels during menopause can also affect the lining of your urethra, which is the tube that connects your bladder to the outside of the body. The lining of the urethra is made up of muscle tissue that allows it to contract and expand. When you use the restroom, the lining relaxes while the bladder contracts to let the urine out of your bladder and into the toilet.
However, low estrogen can cause this lining to become thinner and less elastic. This may also explain the connection between menopause and overactive bladder, as a thinner lining may make it more difficult to prevent urine leaks when you experience the urge to urinate.
Other Explanations for the Link Between Estrogen Levels and Overactive Bladder
There may also be other explanations for why low estrogen levels can increase the risk of overactive bladder. For instance, lower estrogen during menopause can lead to more frequent urinary tract infections, which is where a bacteria builds up in the urinary tract and causes an infection. UTIs can also cause inflammation and irritation throughout the urinary tract and bladder, which may cause some of the same symptoms as overactive bladder like frequency, urgency, and incontinence. However, without treatment, UTIs can lead to issues like permanent kidney damage or even sepsis. Therefore, your symptoms of OAB could actually be an infection that may turn life-threatening if left untreated. If you’re experiencing symptoms of overactive bladder, it’s important to seek help from one of our providers to rule out a UTI and get treatment.
Another potential reason many women experience overactive bladder after menopause is due to increased pressure on the bladder. It’s common for women to gain weight around the time of menopause. Those extra pounds can also put added stress on the bladder and make it harder to control urges to urinate or hold in your urine until you can reach the restroom. Therefore, menopausal weight gain could also be part of the problem when it comes to overactive bladder.
Women’s Hormone Care May Help with Overactive Bladder
Because of the association between estrogen levels and overactive bladder, many researchers have been studying the effects of hormone therapy on overactive bladder. One 2020 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that vaginal estrogen may help relieve overactive bladder symptoms. The researchers believe this is due to a type of good bacteria called Lactobacillus.
Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria found in the gut, vagina, and also in the bladder. Yet, low estrogen levels can reduce the amount of this good bacteria in your body. The study looked at the number of Lactobacillus bacteria in the bladder for women using estrogen replacement therapy. They found that those using vaginal estrogen had more of the bacteria in their bladder and also saw some improvements in their overactive bladder symptoms.
Therefore, women’s hormone care may help with your overactive bladder symptoms. For example, it’s common to use vaginal estrogen to help strengthen the muscles and tissues in the pelvic area and urethra, which may work well for your overactive bladder.
Other Treatments for Overactive Bladder
There are also many other treatment options available for overactive bladder which may work well for you. When you discuss your symptoms with our team, we may recommend some of these treatments to help you improve bladder control and symptoms.
For example, our providers may recommend lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight to reduce the pressure on the bladder. We may also recommend Kegel exercises, which can strengthen the pelvic muscles. Also, scheduled bathroom breaks, even if you don’t feel the urge to go, can help retrain your bladder to prevent those strong and sudden urges to urinate.
Other treatment options include medications. Typically, the medications are designed to relax the bladder to help with the symptoms of urgency. These often come in pills or patches you use each day. However, some people also receive small doses of Botox in the bladder to help relax the muscles. Our providers can discuss personalized treatment options for you.
Healthcare for Women at HerKare
Our team at HerKare is dedicated to providing quality healthcare for women. We are a clinic owned and managed by women and are here to help you improve your health. Whether you need a hormone doctor for your menopause symptoms or need preventative well woman care, our providers listen, understand, and help you take care of your overall wellbeing. Make an appointment today at one of our convenient locations.
by Phoebee Johnson | Feb 4, 2022 | Hormone Replacement Therapy, Menopause
If it seems like every time you look in the mirror you find more wrinkles and sagging, you might be searching for ways to stop the signs of aging on your skin. Many women experience what seems like accelerated signs of aging on their skin after menopause. However, we have some good news. Some recent evidence suggests that estrogen replacement therapy may help prevent some of the signs of aging and may promote healthy skin. Researchers are still studying the effects of estrogen on the skin, but many of the studies have been encouraging. Let’s talk about estrogen, menopause, aging, and your skin.
Why Our Providers May Recommend Estrogen Replacement Therapy
Estrogen replacement therapy may help with menopause symptoms and some studies suggest it may also help prevent some skin aging concerns.
First, let’s discuss why a hormone doctor may recommend estrogen replacement therapy. While everyone is different, one of the most common reasons our providers prescribe hormone therapy is to alleviate symptoms of menopause. Many menopause symptoms are unpleasant and can even interfere with everyday life. For instance, some of the symptoms you might experience during menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood changes
- Low libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
- Brain fog
Declining levels of estrogen during menopause are primarily to blame for these symptoms. Fortunately, many women find symptom relief through a hormone replacement therapy regimen. This is why our providers may recommend beginning estrogen replacement therapy during menopause.
Menopause may also have negative effects on your skin which can make you look older. For instance, after menopause skin thickness typically decreases by about 1% each year for the first five years after menopause. Collagen in your skin also tends to decrease by 2% each year for about 20 years after menopause. Low estrogen levels may also be responsible for some of these changes, which is why researchers are looking into the potential anti-aging effects of estrogen. Research is still ongoing, but much of the evidence so far is positive.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Have Beneficial Effects for Your Skin
There are many factors that can make our skin look older. Environmental, genetic, and hormone conditions can all contribute to common signs of aging. Declining hormone levels during and after menopause may contribute to issues like increasing number of wrinkles, deeper wrinkles, less elasticity, dryness, as well as other skin issues that tend to make us look older. There are many estrogen receptors in the skin, particularly in the skin on your face. This may explain some of the effects of menopause on your skin. However, some research indicates estrogen replacement therapy may help prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging.
For example, one 2005 study from Yale University looked at the effects of long-term estrogen therapy on wrinkles and skin rigidity. The researchers in the study found that women who used hormone therapy had fewer wrinkles, less severe wrinkles, and better skin elasticity.
This small study included eleven women who did not use hormone therapy after menopause and 9 women who did use hormone therapy long-term for menopause symptoms. All the women had similar characteristics that might contribute to wrinkles and skin rigidity, such as age, sun exposure, and tobacco use. The researchers had a plastic surgeon assess the appearance of the skin without knowing who was in the control group and who was in the hormone replacement therapy group. The women who didn’t use hormone therapy on average had more wrinkles, deeper wrinkles, and more rigid skin.
Based on the results, the researchers concluded that estrogen may promote skin health and may also prevent wrinkles and skin rigidity to help the skin look younger. While estrogen likely won’t reverse or erase signs of aging, it may offer some protection against wrinkles and other common skin concerns in menopausal women.
Estrogen’s Effects on the Skin
Estrogen may impact the look of your skin in many ways. Researchers are still studying the reasons why estrogen may prevent some signs of skin aging. Estrogen may affect skin cell production, collagen production, hydration, and thickness of your skin. All these factors can affect the appearance of your skin.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Improve Skin Cell Production
Some researchers believe that estrogen moderates the production of keratinocytes. These are skin cells that make up nearly 90% of the cells in the top layer of your skin. When we are young, skin cells are in a near-constant state of turnover. The dead skin cells slough off rapidly as the lower levels of your skin produce more new skin cells. However, this process tends to slow down as we age, and declining estrogen levels during menopause may play a role in this. Estrogen replacement therapy may help increase skin cell production which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dull skin.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Increase Collagen
Another way estrogen may help prevent signs of aging on your skin is through collagen production. Estrogen receptors may also act on the fibroblasts in the dermal layer of your skin. Fibroblasts are responsible for creating collagen, which provides the main support structure for your skin. As collagen production declines, the skin can start to sag and develop more wrinkles. However, estrogen may increase how much collagen your skin produces to help prevent these issues.
Estrogen May Improve Skin Hydration
Female hormones estrogen and progesterone can also improve hydration for the skin. For instance, hormones can affect how much sebum your body produces. Sebum is an oily substance that coats your skin and hair to help with moisturization and protection. As we enter menopause, sebum production can also slow down, leading to chronically dry skin. Dry skin can make wrinkles and fine lines look much deeper than they truly are. However, many researchers have found that estrogen replacement therapy can help increase hydration and moisture in the epidermis.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Increase Skin Thickness
Your hormones can also have a pretty big impact on how thick your skin is. Thinner skin tends to become more wrinkled, less elastic, dryer, and also more easily damaged. During our pre-menopausal years, the skin actually gets thinner at certain points of the menstrual cycle, particularly right before your period where your estrogen levels are at their lowest. Therefore, low estrogen levels during menopause may contribute to thinning skin as we age. Some studies have found that estrogen replacement therapy may increase skin thickness significantly after menopause.
Other Skin Care Tips for Menopause
Of course, there are many other things you can do to help take care of your skin during and after menopause. Estrogen isn’t the fountain of youth – even if it does help prevent some wrinkles, it isn’t a cure-all for aging. Hormones are only one part of what ages your skin over time. Embracing your skin as it changes and taking part in a good skincare regimen can also help keep your skin healthy in menopause.
For instance, you may experience dry skin after menopause. In these cases, it can help to switch to a milder cleanser and to moisturize more often and with heavier creams. Also, sun damage can lead to even thinner skin after menopause. Wearing sunscreen can help reduce sun damage that may cause issues like thinning skin, age spots, wrinkles, and even skin cancer. In addition, retinol products can help increase collagen, which may help with wrinkles or sagging skin. So, whether you’re taking bioidentical hormones for menopause or not, there are many things you can do to help your skin after menopause.
Talk to Our Health Care Specialists at HerKare
Our team at HerKare is here to help you feel like the best version of yourself. We empower you to take control of your health through convenient, affordable healthcare. We understand you want to feel and look your best at every stage of life, which is why we offer personalized care for everything from wellness exams to menopausal hormone therapy. You can trust us to listen to your concerns and work with you to find treatment options that work well for you. Make an appointment today to discuss your health and symptoms with our caring team of medical professionals.
by Phoebee Johnson | Jan 6, 2022 | Hormone Replacement Therapy, Wellness
Progesterone replacement therapy is a type of hormone therapy that boosts progesterone levels to healthy ranges. Progesterone is an important hormone in your body that performs many different functions. Recent evidence suggests that progesterone may also play a role in blood pressure regulation. The risk for high blood pressure goes up after menopause, which is when progesterone is typically low. Researchers are now looking into whether progesterone may help reduce blood pressure risks, with promising results.
Some studies suggest progesterone replacement therapy may help your body regulate blood pressure.
Blood pressure is an important marker of health. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can put you at risk for many different health issues. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and even kidney disease. High blood pressure can damage arteries, blood vessels, and organs over time. Despite all these health risks, high blood pressure often causes zero symptoms on its own. Because of the many negative effects of high blood pressure, experts are exploring many ways to help people reduce their risk for hypertension.
How Progesterone Replacement Therapy Affects Blood Pressure
In the past, many believed that both the female hormones estrogen and progesterone increased blood pressure. This was because many women taking hormone-based birth control and hormone replacement therapy for menopause experienced high blood pressure as a side effect. However, recent research shows that estrogen is the likely culprit for increased blood pressure. Progesterone, by contrast, may have the opposite effect. As a natural diuretic, progesterone may actually lower blood pressure for some women.
Progesterone replacement therapy is often paired with estrogen to treat menopause symptoms. Every patient who still has a uterus is prescribed progesterone alongside estrogen. This is because progesterone helps prevent the uterine lining from becoming too thick, increasing the risk for endometrial cancer. Therefore, in the past many researchers had difficulty separating the effects of progesterone and estrogen for women taking both at the same time. However, progesterone replacement therapy on its own is getting more and more attention. For example, some studies have found progesterone-only therapy may help with menopausal hot flashes.
With more research into progesterone by itself, some have begun to look at the relationship between progesterone and blood pressure. Research is still ongoing, but many studies have found that progesterone replacement therapy either has no effect on blood pressure, or that it may help lower blood pressure. It’s important to discuss your specific circumstances with our treatment providers, but this is encouraging evidence for women who may want to take bioidentical hormone therapy with progesterone for menopause symptoms.
Progesterone May Lower Blood Pressure
Progesterone does many things in the body. It’s responsible for preparing the uterus for potential pregnancy, regulating your menstrual cycle, and keeping estrogen and other hormones in check. Progesterone also seems to help with blood pressure regulation.
Many medical professionals are interested in the relationship between progesterone and blood pressure. After all, blood pressure tends to be quite low during pregnancy, when progesterone levels are high. By contrast, post-menopausal women have a higher risk for high blood pressure, which is when the ovaries start producing significantly less progesterone. There have been several studies into the link between progesterone and blood pressure that indicate it may have a lowering effect on blood pressure.
One 2001 study found that progesterone was independently associated with vascular effects. This essentially means that, outside of estrogen, progesterone may affect the blood vessels. The researchers also found that progesterone changed the blood pressure response to norepinephrine, which typically increases blood pressure. This isn’t the only study to show a positive effect on high blood pressure from progesterone. A small study from 1985 looked at people with hypertension taking progesterone replacement therapy. Researchers looked at six men and four post-menopausal women and saw that blood pressure dropped significantly after taking progesterone. Therefore, these studies suggest progesterone may reduce the risk for hypertension.
How Progesterone Replacement Therapy May Lower Blood Pressure
The hormone progesterone can act as a natural diuretic, which is essentially something that helps your body get rid of extra salt and water through your urine. Diuretics like water pills are also a common treatment option for high blood pressure. This is because they can help reduce the amount of water in your blood, which means there’s less fluid in your veins causing excess pressure. Because of this effect of progesterone in your body, some believe that progesterone replacement therapy may also help lower blood pressure for women with low progesterone.
However, there may be other explanations. For instance, a 2021 study published in the journal Hypertension found that progesterone had three effects that may help reduce blood pressure. This study looked at short-term effects of progesterone on blood pressure. They concluded that progesterone may have a direct impact on blood vessels in the body.
The researchers found that progesterone dilated blood vessels, which can reduce the amount of pressure on the vessel walls. The study also found that progesterone helped prevent an increase in blood pressure that usually comes with exposure to adrenaline-like hormones. Another effect of progesterone the researchers in the 2021 study found was that progesterone helped block calcium intake in the smooth muscle cells. This may work similarly to calcium channel blocker medications, which are also commonly used to treat high blood pressure, as calcium can cause the blood vessels to squeeze tighter and increase blood pressure.
Of course, there may be other potential ways progesterone affects blood pressure. For instance, some believe progesterone may have an indirect effect on blood pressure through BMI. Progesterone replacement therapy may reduce the risk of weight gain and high BMI, which are associated with high blood pressure.
Why Providers May Prescribe Progesterone Replacement Therapy
Our treatment providers may recommend progesterone replacement therapy for a few different reasons. It’s common to use progesterone and estrogen in combination to alleviate menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. If you still have a uterus, our providers always prescribe progesterone with estrogen. Progesterone helps counteract the endometrial thickening properties of estrogen to reduce the risk of cancer. Therefore, if you’re taking estrogen for menopause, you will also likely be taking progesterone replacement therapy. In some cases, our medical professionals may also recommend progesterone alone to help with your menopause symptoms.
Progesterone may also serve as a hormone imbalance treatment if you’re suffering from low progesterone. If you have low progesterone levels, other hormones like estrogen and testosterone may be thrown out of balance. This can lead to many concerning symptoms, such as:
- Irregular periods
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Frequent vaginal infections
- Breast tenderness
Therefore, there may be many reasons why our providers may prescribe progesterone replacement therapy for you.
What to Do If You Have High Blood Pressure and Menopause Symptoms – Visit HerKare
Our providers at HerKare take a holistic approach to healthcare. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, high blood pressure, or other conditions, make an appointment at one of our clinics. We offer personalized treatment solutions to help you feel your best. Our team works with you to find treatment solutions that work for you. For instance, if you have both high blood pressure and menopause symptoms, we may recommend a combination of lifestyle changes, bioidentical hormone therapy, blood pressure medications to address your whole health. Get in touch to learn how we can help you feel better again.
by Phoebee Johnson | Dec 3, 2021 | Hormone Replacement Therapy, Menopause, Wellness
We all know exercise is important for health. Yet, many people don’t get enough exercise on a regular basis for one reason or another. Several surveys and studies have also found that women are typically much less active after menopause than before menopause. Many scientists believe this may be due to hormone changes during menopause, particularly lower estrogen levels. Researchers are still studying the relationship between estrogen and activity levels. However, some studies suggest estrogen replacement therapy may help you feel more motivated and may even increase your capacity to work out.
Why Exercise is Important During and After Menopause
Many women exercise less after menopause, but can estrogen replacement therapy help with exercising?
Before we learn more about how estrogen affects exercise, let’s talk about why exercise is so important as we get older and approach menopause. There are many reasons to be physically active throughout your life, including weight management, increasing muscle tone, getting stronger, and improving your overall health. Regular exercise is even more important as you reach menopause to help counteract certain health risks that increase around this time.
As hormone levels begin to decline, bone density and lean muscle mass begin to decline as well, while body fat can increase. Around this time in a woman’s life, there’s also a higher risk for many chronic diseases as well as cardiovascular disease. Engaging in an active lifestyle can help reduce these risks for many people. Regular physical activity helps promote bone health and muscle mass and can also help with body fat management. Exercise in later life can help improve and preserve flexibility and mobility and can also improve heart health. Regular exercise has also been linked to fewer instances of chronic diseases common as we get older.
In addition to physical health, exercise can also be helpful for other areas of well-being, such as mental health. Being physically active can also boost energy and mood and can even help combat some of the symptoms of menopause, such as insomnia. Overall, exercise can be an important part of maintaining quality of life as we get older.
Despite knowing that exercise is helpful for many areas of health, many women have a difficult time exercising on a regular basis, particularly after menopause. There may be many reasons for this, but some researchers believe hormonal imbalances may be a factor. Many studies are researching hormones, exercise, and whether estrogen replacement therapy after menopause can help improve activity levels for some women.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy Improves Menopause Symptoms that Make it Hard to Work Out
Menopause can cause many symptoms that can make everyday life difficult or even downright impossible. Hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, and depression are all common symptoms of menopause that affect your quality of life. These also frequently make it difficult to exercise, which may explain why many women are more sedentary after menopause. It’s easy to understand why you might have a hard time going to the gym when you’re experiencing such troublesome symptoms. Working up a sweat can be anxiety-inducing if you’re already suffering from frequent and severe hot flashes. Insomnia and fatigue can leave you feeling worn out, making a workout sound plain exhausting. Menopause depression can zap your motivation for getting your heart pumping with a quick exercise routine. This is one theory behind why lower activity levels tend to coincide with declining estrogen levels during menopause.
The good news is hormone replacement therapy relieves many women’s menopause symptoms. Hormone therapy helps replace some of the hormones lost during menopause, which may improve your symptoms. As menopause symptoms improve, many people find it easier to take part in regular exercise for your health and well-being. This may be one explanation behind why menopausal women who use estrogen replacement therapy tend to be more active than those who don’t according to research.
Hormone Replacement Therapy with Estrogen May Act on the Brain to Increase Exercise Motivation
However, there are other theories behind how hormones affect exercise after menopause. Some believe estrogen may have a more direct effect on exercise. A new study suggests estrogen may act on the brain to improve motivation for exercise. The study looked at estrogen levels and physical activity levels in female mice to determine if hormones play a role in exercise.
The urge to exercise begins in the brain. You feel motivated to exercise, so you act on that motivation. There are also many estrogen receptors in the brain, which may affect your impulse to work out. The study looked at how estrogen affected brain processes through a specific gene. Melanocortin-4 receptor gene (Mc4r), is a gene that plays an important role in energy regulation, food intake, body weight, and the motivation for physical activity. Estrogen binds to the Mc4r receptor and can help activate it. With higher estrogen levels, Mc4r caused increased protein production for the mice in the study. Those mice with higher estrogen levels tended to be more physically active than the mice with lower estrogen.
Researchers are still studying the effects of estrogen on the brain. However, the scientists in the study believe this may offer some evidence that estrogen is important for exercise motivation. The researchers noted that while the study involved mice, humans have similar anatomies, physiologies, and genetics. Therefore, they believe estrogen in humans may have similar effects on exercise and physical activities. They noted that their research may suggest that estrogen replacement therapy may help improve motivation levels for exercise for menopausal women.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy Can Increase Exercise Capacity
Menopause can also affect how difficult exercise is, which may explain why many women are less active after menopause. Research shows that menopause may reduce exercise tolerance and oxygen consumption during exercise. This can make it feel harder to exercise, often leading to feeling more breathless, feeling muscle weakness, and other symptoms of low exercise tolerance, which can be discouraging and lead many women to exercise less than before menopause.
One study looked at exercise capacity for women before and after menopause. The researchers looked at many different factors to determine exercise capacity, which is the maximum amount of activity you can keep up. Some of the factors included the dilation of blood vessels, maximum workload, and peak oxygen consumption. Some of the group received estrogen replacement therapy for three months. The study found that estrogen significantly increased exercise capacity based on the factors they measured. The HRT group even achieved similar results to the pre-menopausal women in the study after just three months of hormone therapy. Therefore, this is just one other way estrogen may help with exercise after menopause.
Hormone Imbalance Treatment and Menopause Care at HerKare
Our team at HerKare is committed to providing quality healthcare for women at all stages of life. We help with everything from hormone imbalance treatment to well woman care for patients of all ages. We believe in empowering women to take an active role in their health. Our clinic is owned and managed by women for women. We understand the need for convenient care from healthcare professionals that listen to you and take time to understand. Let us help you feel like yourself and feel good again. Book an appointment at one of our clinic locations to get started with the HerKare process.
by Phoebee Johnson | Nov 5, 2021 | Hormone Replacement Therapy, Menopause
Many women notice that their sex drive starts to decline over time, particularly after menopause. In some cases, this may be due to lower testosterone levels. Testosterone is an important hormone in your body that plays a key role in libido. Some studies suggest that testosterone replacement therapy may help women improve low sex drive due to testosterone deficiency.
Testosterone replacement therapy may help increase your sex drive if you’re suffering from testosterone deficiency.
As we age, sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone start to decline. Testosterone is mostly made in your ovaries, though your adrenal glands, fat cells, and skin cells may also produce some testosterone. While women produce a lot less testosterone compared to men (about 1/10 to 1/20 the amount), low testosterone levels for women can still impact your health and your sex life.
Testosterone in Women
While we commonly think of testosterone as a male hormone, women also need testosterone for many reasons. Testosterone is necessary for producing red blood cells, maintaining bone density, and also plays an important role in sex drive. When it comes to libido, the hormone testosterone can act on our brains to increase sexual thoughts and desires. It can also increase blood flow to the genitals to enhance sensitivity in the vagina and clitoris. This may also affect libido as well as sexual satisfaction.
However, testosterone levels begin to decline as we age, particularly as we reach the perimenopause state in the late 30s and 40s. During this time, the ovaries start to slow down hormone production for testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. This can cause hormone levels to fluctuate and gradually decline leading up to menopause. With lower testosterone levels in your body, you might experience symptoms like low libido. Researchers have found a connection between low testosterone in women and lower sex drive. Studies have even found that women with low testosterone may have less sex on average than those with normal testosterone levels. Because of this connection, many women’s hormone care programs include testosterone to help improve sex drive and overall quality of life.
How Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Affect Sex Drive?
Low libido due to testosterone deficiency can be distressing for many women. Some people experience stress and even relationship problems because of libido changes. Therefore, decreased sex drive can affect your quality of life in many ways. Many people mistakenly believe that low sex drive is a normal part of aging, but this isn’t necessarily true. Low sex drive can be caused by treatable conditions, like hormone changes during menopause. For instance, testosterone replacement therapy may help improve your symptoms.
Researchers are still studying the effects of testosterone replacement therapy for women. However, several studies have examined the link between testosterone and sex drive in women with interesting results. Studies have found that testosterone replacement therapy can increase several factors of sex drive and sexual satisfaction for postmenopausal women with low testosterone. Research suggests that testosterone can increase sexual desire, arousal, orgasmic response, pleasure, and even self-image based on interview responses. After beginning testosterone, many study participants also feel less distressed about their sexual function. Therefore, the evidence suggests testosterone therapy may help women who experience severely low sex drive after menopause.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) recognizes that testosterone replacement therapy for women may help some women improve sexual function. While testosterone for women is an off-label use, doctors may prescribe it to help with sex drive and sexual function. If you begin using testosterone therapy, NAMS recommends using the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time to help with symptoms. They also recommend discussing the risks and benefits thoroughly with a medical provider. After discussing the particulars, you and our doctors may determine to use testosterone therapy for better sex drive during and after menopause.
How Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Low Libido in Women Work?
If you’re experiencing low sex drive, there may be many different factors at play. Sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction are all very complex. Therefore, pinpointing the cause of low sex drive can be difficult. There may even be several different causes of your low libido. It’s also necessary to note that libido can change for many reasons and a lower sex drive occasionally isn’t necessarily abnormal. For instance, if you have a lower libido during a stressful project at work, but your symptoms improve after you complete the project, then you may have nothing to worry about. However, if you have persistent low libido that worries you or interferes with your quality of life, you should talk to one of our providers about your symptoms.
If you’re suffering from low libido, one of the first steps most doctors recommend is ruling out other causes. For instance, some other reasons you might experience low sex drive that aren’t related to testosterone include:
- Low estrogen
- Low progesterone
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex
- Relationship problems
- Some medications
- Other health problems like diabetes or hypothyroid
It’s important to identify underlying causes of low libido symptoms to find treatment solutions personalized to you. Some other treatments for severely low sex drive might include lifestyle changes, treating other health conditions, mental health treatments, or even couple’s counseling for relationship problems. For libido changes and other symptoms after menopause, our doctors may recommend beginning estrogen replacement therapy. If other treatments don’t work, or if no other explanation is found for your low sex drive, then it may be due to low testosterone levels. In these cases, you may benefit from testosterone replacement therapy.
Beginning Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Low Sex Drive
While considering potential causes of low sex drive, our providers may recommend performing a blood test to determine how much testosterone is in your blood. Normal testosterone levels for women are between 15 and 75 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). If you have low testosterone levels in your blood and you’re experiencing low sex drive that interferes with your life or causes you distress, our providers may recommend beginning testosterone replacement therapy.
The goal of testosterone replacement therapy is to bring testosterone levels to normal ranges. Because hormones like estrogen and testosterone hold each other in balance, it’s common to pair testosterone with estrogen replacement therapy as well to help prevent testosterone dominance. Therefore, in most cases your treatment program will include both estrogen and testosterone bioidentical hormones.
While taking testosterone treatments for sex drive, our team monitors your health to help optimize your treatment. We may track your symptoms, take blood draws to evaluate your testosterone levels, and assess other health markers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Our team also monitors you for common side effects of testosterone replacement therapy, such as increased facial and body hair, increased LDL cholesterol, or mild acne. Our goal is to help you feel your best and find treatment solutions that work for you and your lifestyle.
Quality Women’s Hormone Care at HerKare
Our team at HerKare offers quality health care for every stage of your life. After menopause, we understand that many of the symptoms can interfere with daily life. We offer personalized hormone care to help alleviate your symptoms so you can feel your best. Our clinics are owned and managed by women for women, and we believe in empowering you to address your health. We listen to you and work with you to get to the bottom of your symptoms. If you’re suffering from low sex drive or other menopause symptoms, help is available at our clinics. Make an appointment today to start the path toward feeling better.