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    Women’s Health Care: When Can I Quit Birth Control?

    Women’s Health Care: When Can I Quit Birth Control?

    As you reach 40s and 50s and enter perimenopause, you might be wondering if it’s time to stop your birth control. The best place to find the answer to that question is our women’s health care providers, who can talk to you about your individual circumstances like current symptoms and medical history. However, there are some general things you should know about taking birth control as you reach the average age for menopause. In this article, we’ll explore birth control during perimenopause and menopause so you know what to expect.

    Talk to Our Women’s Health Care Providers About Whether You Still Need Birth Control

    Woman on date who needs to talk to her women's health care provider about whether to continue birth control

    Talk to our women’s health care providers about birth control options in perimenopause.

    Any time you’re thinking about starting, stopping, or switching birth controls, you should talk to an experienced women’s health care provider like those at our clinics. We can provide you with the birth control counseling you need to make the right choice. This includes discussing risks, benefits, and different options that are available. Even if you think you’re in perimenopause or have reached menopause, talk to our providers about how to stay healthy and protect yourself against unplanned pregnancy.

    What Age to Stop Birth Control

    There is no exact age when women should stop birth control. Instead, most experts recommend using birth control until you reach menopause, which is when you have had 12 consecutive months without a period. The average age of menopause is 51 years old, with over 50% of women reaching menopause by this age. By the time you reach 55, 90% to 95% of women are menopausal. Therefore, our providers may recommend stopping birth control between ages 51 and 55 because you’re most likely to have reached menopause and no longer need birth control to prevent pregnancy.

    Yet, before this time, we may recommend changing birth control methods to manage your personal health risks and side effects, so you should be talking to our providers about birth control regularly to see what’s right for you. For instance, hormonal birth controls may not be a good idea for you personally anymore, so you might need to switch to a barrier method like condoms.

    Birth Control After 40: Pros and Cons

    Once you reach your 40s, you’re most likely in perimenopause, which is the lead up to menopause. During this time, you can still technically get pregnant, but it’s much less likely because your fertility naturally starts to decline. However, this is also a time of a lot of fluctuation in your hormone levels and menstrual cycle, making it hard to predict when you’re ovulating and when you’re not. These hormone changes can also cause a lot of the symptoms we typically associate with menopause like mood changes, hot flashes, and night sweats.

    There are many pros and cons to using birth control after 40 as you lead up to menopause. Birth control helps prevent pregnancy during this time, which comes with many health risks. Hormonal birth controls can also even relieve some of the symptoms you might experience during perimenopause. However, keep in mind that hormonal birth control methods also come with health risks that you need to discuss with our women’s health care providers.

    Birth Control Can Prevent Pregnancy During Perimenopause

    One reason to continue birth control during perimenopause is to prevent pregnancy. While you lose fertility pretty quickly after 40, it is still possible for you to become pregnant until you have reached menopause. Pregnancy at this age also comes with a lot of health risks, including:

    • Hemorrhage
    • Blood clots
    • Death
    • Fetal complications

    Therefore, using birth control during perimenopause can help you avoid unplanned pregnancies that can result in these serious complications.

    Birth Control Can Alleviate Some of the Symptoms of Perimenopause

    Not all birth control helps with your perimenopause symptoms. For instance, using condoms is a form of birth control that likely won’t relieve your symptoms. However, hormonal birth controls like the pill often do lessen perimenopause symptoms because they prevent wide hormone fluctuations and provide you with a steady amount of estrogen and progesterone. For some women, hormonal birth control can even mask the symptoms of menopause completely, making it hard to know whether you’ve reached menopause or not.

    Talk to Our Women’s Health Care Providers About Birth Control Risks

    Keep in mind that a lot of birth control options do come with risks, especially as we get older. Hormonal birth controls in particular can increase your risks for many health issues, including:

    • Stroke
    • Blood clots
    • Heart attacks
    • Breast cancer

    If you’re over 35, you shouldn’t take estrogen-based birth control like the pill if you smoke or have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, or diabetes, as the health risks are usually too great. Instead, our women’s health care providers may recommend a different form of birth control, like an IUD, a progesterone-based birth control, or a barrier method.

    Types of Birth Control Our Women’s Health Care Professionals May Recommend

    If you still need to take birth control, then visit our women’s health clinic to discuss your options. There are many different types of birth control you may be able to take safely before menopause. Some of the options include:

    • Oral contraceptives like the pill and the mini-pill
    • Patches
    • Shots
    • Implants
    • Vaginal rings
    • IUDs
    • Sterilization (getting your tubes tied)
    • Male or female condoms
    • Diaphragms
    • Sponges
    • Cervical caps

    The withdrawal method is not recommended as a stable form of birth control at any age because your partner can release sperm before ejaculation and you can become pregnant.

    Also, during perimenopause, the rhythm method, where you track your cycles and don’t have sex during your fertile window, isn’t recommended because your cycles can become irregular and unpredictable. Our women’s health care providers can help you decide which birth control method is right for you.

    How to Tell If You Have Reached Menopause While On Hormonal Birth Control?

    Once you reach menopause, you can stop using birth control to prevent pregnancy. However, it’s often hard to tell if you’ve reached menopause if you’re using a hormonal contraceptive like the pill. These birth control methods often mask symptoms and can cause withdrawal bleeding that mimic periods even if you’ve reached menopause. There are a few ways to tell if you have reached menopause while taking hormonal birth control, including pausing birth control and getting a blood test. Our women’s health care providers can recommend a course of action based on your personal situation.

    Our Women’s Health Care Providers May Recommend Stopping Birth Control to See if Your Periods Return

    If you and our women’s health care provider suspect that you might have reached menopause while taking hormonal birth control, they may recommend pausing birth control to see what your body does. This means going off the pill or any other hormonal method you’re currently using to see if your periods return within 12 months. If they don’t, you’ve reached menopause. However, keep in mind that you should still use another birth control method until you’ve confirmed that you are in fact menopausal. We may recommend using barrier methods during this time so you can prevent unplanned pregnancy in case you have not reached menopause.

    There are Some Tests That May Point to Menopause

    There is no definitive test for menopause except waiting until you’ve gone 12 months without a period. However, there are some blood tests that may point to you being menopausal. For instance, testing the amount of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in your body. FSH is a hormone that helps your body release eggs and produce estrogen. When your ovaries can’t produce the same level of estrogen due to menopause, the amount of FSH in your blood rises because there aren’t enough follicles to use the hormone. An FSH test can be an indicator of menopause, though it’s not absolutely certain.

    Our women’s health care providers may use this test in addition to other things like talking about your symptoms and looking at your menstrual history. Even still, you may want to stay on the safe side and use barrier method birth control even after a FSH test until you’ve gone 12 months without a period.

    HerKare: A Women’s Health Clinic That Cares

    Get quality care at every stage of life from HerKare. We are a clinic operated by women for women to help you feel your best and find compassionate health care solutions. Our team listens to you and helps you find solutions for improving your health. Whether you need to talk about birth control during perimenopause or you’re suffering from a health condition like diabetes, we are here for you. Make an appointment today to take the first step toward feeling better.

    Hormone Replacement Therapy Aids in Weight Loss

    Hormone Replacement Therapy Aids in Weight Loss

    It’s common for women to pack on a few pounds around the time of menopause, but there are several ways you can lose that weight and maintain a healthier weight during and after menopause. Hormone replacement therapy can help in many ways with your weight loss goals if you’re suffering from symptoms of menopause. Several studies have found that menopausal HRT can have a big impact not only on weight loss, but also how much fat your body stores and where. Let’s talk about how hormone replacement therapy can help you lose weight.

    What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause?

    woman working out and using hormone replacement therapy for weight loss

    Hormone replacement therapy can make it easier to lose weight during and after menopause.

    Menopause brings about a lot of changes that can lead to weight gain and higher fat content in your body. As hormones like estrogen and progesterone fluctuate and decline, you might notice it’s harder to keep the weight off. There are several reasons for menopausal weight gain, including:

    • Body Fat Distribution: With low estrogen levels during menopause comes changes in how your body distributes fat and muscle. It can lead to your body creating more fat and also increasing fat in your stomach area.
    • Age: Our metabolisms and energy levels tend to get lower with age. As you approach middle age, which is also the average time of menopause, it can be harder to keep your weight under control.
    • Hormone Imbalances Affect the Metabolism: Your metabolism controls how many calories you burn at rest and during activity. Slower metabolism means you burn fewer calories overall and, therefore, are more likely to store those extra calories instead of burning them. Low estrogen levels due to menopause may slow down your metabolism and lead to weight gain.
    • Menopause Symptoms: Symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood changes, and fatigue can all play a role in weight gain. These symptoms make it hard to engage in healthy habits like exercise and maintaining a balanced diet.

    Therefore, there are many reasons why you might notice you’ve gained extra weight during menopause. The good news is that you can typically lose it with the right strategies.

    Six Ways Hormone Replacement Therapy Can Help with Weight Loss

    Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment option for menopause. This essentially supplements your natural hormone levels during menopause to help ease many of the symptoms and health consequences of menopause, including weight gain. Here are six ways that hormone replacement therapy can help with weight loss:

    1. Hormone Replacement Therapy Improves Body Composition

    Because low hormone levels can cause changes in how your body stores and distributes fat, it can also lead to gaining extra weight. Hormone replacement therapy can prevent this issue by keeping your estrogen levels high enough to stop body composition changes.

    In fact, a recent study found that women who used HRT had one point lower on the BMI scale and also about three pounds less of body fat compared to women who didn’t use hormone replacement therapy. This is particularly important, as extra body fat, even if your weight stays about the same, is also associated with other metabolic changes like insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Not only does this increase your risk for becoming overweight or obese but can also lead to other health issues like heart problems and diabetes.

    2. Estrogen May Boost Your Metabolism

    Estrogen also plays an important role in your body’s metabolism. Metabolism is the rate that you burn calories at. There are many factors that affect your metabolism, including age and genetics. However, there is evidence that low estrogen levels can also slow down the metabolism, which can make it harder to lose weight. In these cases, the only option is to either exercise significantly more or to eat fewer calories to adjust for your slow metabolism. Basically, you either need to take in fewer or burn more calories.

    Hormone replacement therapy increases your body’s estrogen levels, which can prevent menopause related changes to your metabolism. This allows you to burn more calories both at rest and during exercise, so you don’t store them as extra pounds in your body.

    3. Menopause Treatment with HRT Can Increase Your Energy Levels

    Fatigue is a common symptom of menopause that can make it really difficult to lose weight. Feeling extra tired all the time can have you reaching for calorie-dense comfort foods in your body’s attempt to get more energy. Also, if you’re feeling fatigued, the last thing you want to do is go out and get a workout in. This often means you’re eating more calories while burning less, which can lead to weight gain.

    However, HRT is a menopause treatment that can help increase your energy levels. Most of your menopause symptoms are due to fluctuating and decreasing hormone levels. If you have fatigue due to menopause, hormone replacement therapy can help relieve your symptoms so you feel more energetic and can better manage your weight through diet and exercise.

    4. Hormone Replacement Therapy Alleviates Hot Flashes

    Hot flashes are another menopause symptom that can interfere with your weight loss plans. Hot flashes can strike at any time and often make it feel like your body is on fire. Naturally, that can make it difficult to go get a workout in. In fact, exercise can even be a trigger for hot flashes, since a good workout will increase your core temperature.

    Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most effective treatments for vasomotor symptoms, which is the medical term for hot flashes and night sweats. Therefore, taking HRT during menopause can relieve your hot flash symptoms and make it easier to burn that extra fat through a healthy exercise regimen.

    5. HRT Can Improve Mood Changes & Depression Symptoms

    During menopause, you might also be struggling with mood swings and even depression, both of which can make it hard to maintain healthy diet and exercise for weight loss. Depressive symptoms in particular can make it hard to get out of bed, let alone exercise. Depression can lead to overeating for many people, which can lead to weight gain.

    If your mood changes are due to hormonal changes during menopause, then hormone imbalance treatment with HRT can help. Keeping your hormones in check with hormone replacement therapy can also help stabilize and even boost your mood so you can eat healthy and workout for weight loss.

    6. Hormone Replacement Therapy Helps with Sleep Disturbances

    Another issue many women face during menopause is sleep changes, particularly sleep disturbances. You might experience insomnia, disturbances from night sweats, and other issues that make it almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep. This, in turn, can make it hard to lose weight.

    If you’re constantly tired because of sleep deprivation from menopause, your body is more likely to crave fast energy sources that also happen to have a lot of calories, like sugary foods and drinks. Also, if you’re tired and can’t sleep well at night, it’s significantly less likely you’ll hit the gym after work. Hormone replacement therapy can help solve many of these sleep issues during menopause, which can help you with weight loss by making it easier to make healthier diet and exercise choices.

    Hormone Imbalance Treatment from HerKare

    Our team at HerKare is here to help you feel your best during menopause. Our hormone replacement therapy solutions are personalized to you to help you feel your best and treat your symptoms. We work with you to improve your overall health, including maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, and ensuring that you get the preventative care you need. We help you take care of your body so you can take care of those you love. Contact us now to book an appointment and learn how our providers can make a difference for your health and life.

    Women’s Health Care: Get Enough Vitamin D During Menopause

    Women’s Health Care: Get Enough Vitamin D During Menopause

    Getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs is essential for your health and feeling your best. That’s why it’s important to discuss your whole health with our women’s health care team. We can help you identify vitamin deficiencies and find personalized ways to treat them. One common vitamin deficiency you might experience as you reach menopause is vitamin D deficiency. This is a serious issue because low vitamin D levels can seriously endanger your overall health and quality of life. Read on to learn about how you can get enough vitamin D during menopause.

    Why Talk to Our Women’s Health Care Providers About Vitamin D?

    Two women smiling after getting women's health care for low vitamin D

    Talk to our women’s health care providers about how to get enough vitamin D to stay healthy.

    Vitamin D deficiency is a common but treatable condition that many women experience. Unfortunately, many go without treatment and face serious consequences. We’ll get into some of the health risks of low vitamin D later in this article, but it’s important to note that vitamin D plays an important role in many parts of your body, including your bones, muscles, cardiovascular system, and immune system. Therefore, if you do have vitamin D deficiency, working with our women’s health care providers to get enough of this vitamin can help you protect yourself from many health risks.

    Up to 80% of Women Have a Vitamin D Deficiency

    Experts estimate anywhere between 20% and 80% of women have a vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, your risk for low vitamin D levels is quite high when you look at that statistic. What’s worse is that many people don’t realize they have low vitamin D.

    Vitamin D deficiencies may be increasing due to many factors. One is that people on average are spending less time outside in the sun than they did before. Sunlight helps your body produce its own vitamin D from cholesterol. Additionally, more widespread sunscreen use can actually block the sun rays needed for vitamin D production. Another potential contributing factor would be poorer overall diets, which means most of us get less vitamin D from the things we eat than our ancestors did.

    You May be More at Risk for Low Vitamin D During Menopause

    Menopausal women in particular may have a higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. This is because our bodies don’t absorb as much vitamin D as we get older. Therefore, as you reach your 50s and 60s, when most people experience menopause, your risk for low vitamin D increases. Along with menopause comes many other health risks, like for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to further or worse health risks as well. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your health with our women’s health care providers and see what you can do to stay healthy during and after menopause.

    Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency Without Treatment from Our Women’s Health Care Providers

    If you have untreated vitamin D deficiency, there are many potential health risks you might experience. Our women’s health care team can help you determine if you have low vitamin D levels and create a treatment plan to help you get enough vitamin D to reduce these risks. Here are some of the potential health effects of vitamin D deficiency:

    Vitamin D May Reduce the Risk for Pelvic Floor Disorders

    Many people are surprised to learn that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with a higher risk for pelvic floor disorders. Remember, vitamin D is important for keeping your muscles strong, and since the pelvic floor relies on strong muscles to support your organs, it makes sense that vitamin D can play a role in pelvic floor health. This is especially important for menopausal women to understand, as around this time your risk for both pelvic floor disorders and vitamin D deficiency increases.

    Why Pelvic Floor Disorders Need Women’s Health Care Solutions

    Pelvic floor disorders can cause a lot of different issues for your health and everyday life. Yet, many women don’t seek women’s health care treatment for them. Pelvic floor disorders commonly lead to pelvic pain and painful sex. In addition, weak pelvic floor muscles may increase your risk for urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. Some studies suggest that getting enough vitamin D can reduce your risk for these common but life-altering conditions. There may also be other things you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor to reduce these risks, so talk to your women’s health care providers about your individual circumstances.

    Vitamin D is Important for Healthy Bones

    Vitamin D is also necessary for keeping your bones strong and healthy and reducing the risk for osteoporosis. As we reach menopause, our risk for osteoporosis increases due to low hormone levels like estrogen and progesterone. However, making sure you get enough vitamins and nutrients can help protect your bones despite these risks. Vitamin D is a key vitamin for bone health because it helps your body absorb calcium. Additionally, vitamin D can help maintain muscle strength to reduce the risks for falls which can cause fractures if you have low bone mineral density or osteoporosis. Therefore, if you have vitamin D deficiency, talk to our team about how to get enough vitamin D.

    Other Health Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency

    Of course, there are many other potential risks of vitamin D deficiency. For instance, vitamin D may play an important role in your immune system, so you may be more likely to get sick or experience slow healing.

    Low vitamin D levels can also increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to higher blood pressure and increased risk for heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.

    Some studies have even found that low vitamin D can increase your risk of developing depression symptoms. In some cases, treating your vitamin D deficiency can improve your symptoms.

    Signs to Ask Our Women’s Health Care Team About Your Vitamin D Levels

    Often, vitamin deficiencies are undetectable without help from your women’s health care provider because they don’t cause symptoms. However, there are some symptoms that low vitamin D may cause.

    Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency to look out for include:

    • Low back pain
    • Muscle weakness
    • Muscle aches
    • Fatigue
    • Hair loss
    • Depression
    • Weak bones

    If you notice these symptoms, visit our women’s health clinic for diagnosis and treatment for vitamin D deficiency.

    Women’s Health Care Solutions for Low Vitamin D

    Treating vitamin D deficiency involves increasing the amount of vitamin D in your body. There are several ways to do this, so our women’s health care providers will recommend a treatment based on your specific circumstances and lifestyle. Some ways to increase vitamin D include:

    • Going outside in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes a day
    • Eating a vitamin D rich diet with foods like:
      • Seafood
      • Mushrooms
      • Egg yolks
      • Foods fortified with vitamin D:
        • Milk
        • Milk alternatives like soy and almond milk
        • Cereal
        • Some yogurts
        • Orange juice
        • Tofu

    In other cases, you may need a supplement to increase vitamin D levels in your body to healthy ranges. Our team can use a simple blood test to look at your vitamin D levels and suggest the right dose for you.

    Complete Health Care Solutions from HerKare – A Women’s Health Clinic Managed By Women for Women

    Our team at HerKare is dedicated to helping you improve your health as a whole. We make healthcare easy and affordable so you can take care of yourself and feel your best. Whether you want to learn how you can prevent common health risks as you reach menopause or are experiencing symptoms that interfere with your everyday life, we have solutions to help. Make an appointment today at a location near you to learn how we can help you feel better.

    Managing Hormone Replacement Therapy in Dallas

    Managing Hormone Replacement Therapy in Dallas

    Women in perimenopause and menopause may need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to alleviate symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. When you start hormone therapy, it’s important to work closely with doctors to manage your treatment and overall health. Therefore, you need to find a team to partner with to monitor your treatment. Our Dallas Fort Worth clinics offer comprehensive hormone replacement therapy management so you can feel your best.

    Why Visit Our Dallas-Area Clinics to Discuss Hormone Replacement Therapy

    Woman on hormone replacement therapy in Dallas smiling

    Our clinics in Dallas offer total hormone replacement therapy solutions for your menopause symptoms.

    Hormone therapy is an effective option for menopause treatment and can help with many symptoms that disrupt your life. It may even reduce some of the health risks associated with menopause. However, treatment for every person is different, so you need a team who can personalize your treatment plans and health care to your exact needs.

    Unfortunately, many women find that they’re never offered HRT even when their symptoms are really bothersome. Also, many women might be prescribed HRT by their OB/GYN and not get any follow up beyond maybe a quick question during their annual exam. When beginning a hormone replacement therapy regimen, it helps to have providers that really care and tailor treatment to you.

    If you’re considering starting hormone replacement therapy in Dallas, our team is here to help. We have locations throughout the Dallas area, including in Fort Worth, Mansfield, Southlake, and Frisco. Our clinics offer quality, customized care for your needs. Our teams can help you throughout menopause and beyond to stay healthy and feel great. We are there to help you determine if hormone therapy is right for you and offer ongoing monitoring and care throughout treatment. For truly comprehensive care, visit a HerKare location near you in Dallas.

    Our Treatment Providers in Dallas Help Diagnose Your Symptoms and Determine if Hormone Replacement Therapy is Right for You

    If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, visit our women’s health clinics in Dallas to learn what your options are. Our providers are here to help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your symptoms and help you find relief through treatment.

    Menopause symptoms are frequently caused by declining and fluctuating levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which is why many women use HRT to help with their symptoms. Our providers can help you decide if hormone therapy is right for you based on many individual factors. It starts with a comprehensive health assessment where we talk about the symptoms you’re experiencing and your medical history, complete a physical exam, and also run tests to identify underlying conditions. This helps us get a full picture of your health and the root cause of your symptoms. From there, we can help you weigh the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy based on your specific situation.

    Who is a Good Candidate for HRT?

    Not everyone is a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy. Like with any medicine, it may work well for some people and not for others. You might be a good candidate for hormone therapy if you’re in good overall health and experience menopause symptoms that disrupt everyday life. Hormone replacement therapy usually works best and with fewer risks if you start it within 10 years of menopause or when you’re under 60 years old.

    If you have certain conditions, hormone replacement therapy might not be a good idea. Some of these health issues include:

    • History of stroke
    • Breast cancer
    • Liver disease
    • Unexplained vaginal bleeding

    Symptoms Hormone Replacement Therapy May Alleviate

    Hormone replacement therapy can help with many of the symptoms of menopause, including:

    • Hot flashes
    • Night sweats
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Mood changes
    • Depression
    • Vaginal dryness

    In addition, hormone therapy during menopause may help with some of the health risks that increase at the time of menopause. While hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended unless you’re experiencing disruptive menopause symptoms, it can come with some additional benefits to your health. For instance, for many women HRT may strengthen your bones, reduce bad cholesterol, and increase good cholesterol. Some studies have even found a lower mortality rate for women who use hormone therapy during menopause.

    Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy

    All medications come with risks and benefits that you need to weigh with your doctor before starting treatment. Hormone replacement therapy is no different. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, our women’s health care providers in Dallas can help you understand the benefits and risks to help you make the decision whether to begin hormone therapy.

    For most women, hormone replacement therapy is a safe way to improve menopause symptoms. Hormone therapy can improve symptoms and overall quality of life for women in perimenopause and menopause. Just keep in mind it can also increase your risk for certain things, like blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer. Our clinics in Dallas can help you understand the benefits and the risks based on your individual circumstances so you can make an informed choice.

    If hormone therapy isn’t for you or you want to try other treatment options first, we’ll also discuss other ways you might be able to relieve your symptoms. For instance, many healthy lifestyle changes can help with your menopause symptoms. Getting plenty of exercise, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can certainly help with some menopause symptoms. We may also recommend reducing stress, quitting smoking, and cutting back on alcohol, as these all can be triggers for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.

    Our Dallas Team Helps You Decide Which Type of Hormone Replacement Therapy is Right For You

    Once you decide to start hormone replacement therapy, then you need to find the right kind for you. Our women’s health care providers in Dallas Fort Worth also help with this.

    There are several different choices when it comes to HRT for menopause. For instance, you can choose between systemic and local hormones. Local hormones are usually a cream or ring used only for vaginal symptoms like dryness. Systemic hormone replacement therapy gets into the bloodstream and is the most popular option because it can help with other symptoms like hot flashes.

    The type of hormones you take also depends on your health history. For instance, if you’ve had a hysterectomy, then estrogen replacement therapy is usually the better option. If you still have a uterus, however, then we generally recommend combined hormone therapy with estrogen and progesterone to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.

    For combined therapy, you can either take both estrogen and progesterone every day, or you can choose cyclic therapy. This is where you take estrogen every day and progesterone only on certain days, usually between 10 and 14 days a month. Our team helps you decide which one is right for you.

    We Help Find the Right Dose of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Menopause Treatment

    The providers at our Dallas clinics also help find the right dose for you to help you manage your menopause symptoms. Generally, we aim for the lowest dose possible that still offers symptom relief. In the past, many providers prescribed one dose for everyone. However, customize doses can help ensure you get enough hormones to reduce or stop your symptoms without taking more than you need.

    Our treatment providers tailor hormone replacement therapy to you, so we work hard to make sure you’re getting an appropriate dose for your symptoms and body. When you begin hormone therapy, our team may see you more often to talk about your symptoms and dial in your personalized dose.

    Our Providers in Dallas Offer Ongoing Monitoring for Your Symptoms and Health

    Even after we find the right dose for you, our teams at the HerKare locations in Dallas Fort Worth also provide ongoing monitoring and management for not only your treatment plan, but overall health. We want to make sure that your treatment is still working and monitor you for any changes in your menopause symptoms or your health as a whole. We even offer other health care services at our Dallas clinics to fill all your health care needs in one place. So, you can get preventative care, treat other health conditions, and get ongoing monitoring for hormone replacement therapy all in one place to help you feel good and stay healthy.

    We Help You Decide When, Whether, and How to Quit Hormone Replacement Therapy

    Many women do not take hormone replacement therapy for their entire lives for menopause symptoms. For most women, the symptoms do go away with time and allow you to quit hormone therapy. Our team is here to help you determine whether it’s a good idea and how to do it. For instance, we may recommend lowering your doses to see if your symptoms come back. If they don’t, then it might be time to stop HRT. Usually, we will recommend tapering off of the hormones to reduce the risk of your symptoms returning. If your symptoms do return, then we may recommend waiting to stop hormone therapy until you can do so comfortably and without reducing your quality of life.

    Get Top Quality Care from Our Dallas-Fort Worth Clinics

    For complete menopause care, choose our providers at HerKare. We are a women’s health clinic operated by women for women to help you improve your health and well-being. We have locations throughout Texas, including several in the Dallas Fort Worth area to help women with all their health care needs, from menopause treatment to diabetes management. Our teams truly care and understand what you need to provide the best quality care. Make an appointment today to learn how we can help you feel like the best version of yourself!

    Maintaining a Healthy Gut After Menopause

    Maintaining a Healthy Gut After Menopause

    As you go through menopause, there are many things to discuss with our women’s health care providers. You might be dealing with symptoms like hot flashes as well as changes to your body and health. One change that may have major impacts on your overall health is that your gut’s microbiome, also known as your gut flora, may change as you enter menopause. In this article, we’ll discuss why this is important to understand for your health as well as some ways our team may recommend maintaining your gut health after menopause.

    Talk to Our Women’s Health Care Providers About Keeping Your Gut Healthy

    Friends laughing after getting women's health care for menopause

    Talk to our women’s health care providers about what you can to do keep your gut healthy after menopause.

    Menopause comes with many changes, including different ways to manage your health going forward. Therefore, it helps to work closely with our women’s health care team to understand how to stay healthy. One thing to talk to our providers about is your gut health.

    The gut microbiome is a major part of your overall health. Your body is made up of trillions of good microorganisms, many of them helping your body with various processes. For instance, they help break down your food, assist with manufacturing certain vitamins (like vitamin K and some types of vitamin B), and even help maintain a healthy vaginal flora. Having a healthy gut is important for many different aspects of your health.

    Our team can look at your health as a whole and provide recommendations based on your specific circumstances. Our providers are a great resource for staying healthy before and after menopause. A few key things to know about your gut health is that menopause can change it and those changes can cause negative impacts on your health. However, there are ways to help improve your gut’s microbiome with guidance from our providers.

    Menopause May Reduce Diversity for Your Gut Flora

    Menopause causes many changes in your body, including changes to your gut. Several studies have found differences in women’s gut microbiome before and after menopause. Researchers believe this may be due to changes in your sex hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. Many good microorganisms in your gut’s microbiome help metabolize estrogen and progesterone, so as those decline, those bacteria and other microorganisms might also, leading to less diversity and potential imbalances in your gut.

    One recent study from this year looked at a large group of people to understand what kinds of changes happen to the gut microbiome during menopause. They looked at the microbiome of premenopausal women, post-menopausal women, as well as men to understand the changes. What they found is that post-menopausal women had significantly less diversity in their gut flora than premenopausal women. Instead, their microbiome more closely resembled men’s.

    In this study, they also found that these changes in gut flora also were associated with several health issues, specifically cardiometabolic risks. Cardiometabolic risks can include things like high cholesterol, weight gain, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure, all of which can cause serious health conditions. Therefore, it’s important to discuss menopause, your gut’s microbiome, and your general health with our women’s health care team.

    Why is a Healthy Gut Important for Women’s Health Care?

    When you think of the gut microbiome, you might immediately associate it with digestive health. This is certainly an important part of your overall health, and the gut microbiome does play a role in digestion and your gastrointestinal tract. However, many people don’t know about the other effects of your gut’s microbiome that can impact your health. Here are just some of the reasons it’s important to work with our women’s health clinic to learn how to keep your gut’s flora in check:

    Gut Changes Associated with Menopause are Associated with Higher Cardiometabolic Risks

    As we mentioned in an earlier section, an unhealthy gut can increase the risk for cardiovascular and metabolic conditions. For instance, changes in your gut microbiome during menopause may increase your risk for things like:

    • Heart disease
    • Obesity
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Metabolic syndrome

    As you can see, maintaining a healthy gut during menopause may be critical for your health.

    Diversity in the Gut Microbiome May Help Keep Your Hormones in Check

    While you may not realize it, there’s a pretty strong relationship between your hormones and your gut’s microbiome. Hormones like estrogen and progesterone can affect your gut’s diversity, but your gut’s microbiome can also help regulate and metabolize your hormones. The estrobolome is a part of your gut’s flora that can help maintain hormonal balance, particularly for estrogen in your body. Declining and fluctuating estrogen is often the cause of menopause symptoms like vaginal dryness and mood changes, so keeping it in balance may reduce your risk for these symptoms.

    Your Gut Flora May Affect Your Weight

    Another reason to work with our women’s health care team to keep your gut microbiome healthy is because it can affect your weight. An unhealthy gut is associated with obesity and can make managing your weight more difficult. Some studies have even found that a healthy, diverse gut microbiome can assist with weight loss, which many women in menopause struggle with. The bacteria and other microorganisms in your gut help you digest food, absorb nutrients, and store energy properly. If your gut flora is out of balance, it may increase your risk for weight gain as well as difficulty losing weight.

    Keeping Your Gut Healthy May Help Keep Your Brain Healthy

    Additionally, having a well-balanced gut microbiome may even help your brain. A lot of neurotransmitters are actually controlled and produced by the bacteria in your gut. Serotonin is a major one, which is also known as the “happy chemical.” About 95% of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut by the bacteria that live there. Therefore, working with our women’s health care providers to keep your gut healthy may also have a positive effect on your brain and mood.

    Ask Our Women’s Health Care Team How to Promote a Healthy Gut During Menopause

    There are many strategies for keeping your gut healthy after menopause. Our women’s health care providers can help you develop a strategy based on your specific concerns and your health history. Here are some things we may recommend for maintaining a balanced, healthy gut microbiome:

    Eat a Diet High in Probiotics

    What you eat can have a big impact on your gut’s health. There are several foods that are high in the good bacteria and microorganisms you need to keep your gut flora healthy. For instance, some common foods that contain probiotics include:

    • Yogurt
    • Kefir
    • Sauerkraut
    • Kimchi
    • Fermented veggies

    Prebiotics may also be important for your diet to maintain a balanced gut microbiome. Prebiotics are what feed the good microorganisms in your gut. Some prebiotic foods include foods that are high in fiber, such as:

    • Oats
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Asparagus

    It also helps to eat a diverse diet with a variety of different foods and limit artificial sweeteners to promote gut health.

    Consider Probiotic Supplements

    In some cases, you might need a probiotic supplement during menopause to keep your gut healthy. These are supplements that contain some of the microorganisms necessary for keeping your gut microbiome diverse and well balanced. If you can’t get all your probiotics from your diet, then our women’s health care professionals may recommend a supplement to help.

    Estrogen May Help You Maintain Some Gut Diversity After Menopause

    Estrogen replacement therapy is a common option for menopause treatment because it helps relieve many symptoms of menopause. Evidence suggests that it may also help you maintain a healthy gut microbiome after menopause. While menopause causes changes to the gut microbiome, studies have shown that estrogen therapy after menopause can correct some of these changes to your gut flora.

    Get Quality Women’s Health Care from HerKare

    Our team at HerKare is here to help you stay healthy at every stage of your life. We offer personalized women’s health care solutions to help you take care of yourself and feel your best. We take time to listen and understand you so we can help you feel better. Make an appointment now with our team to experience the HerKare difference.

    Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Improve Sleep Quality

    Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Improve Sleep Quality

    Sleep is an essential part of being healthy and feeling like your best self. Yet, many of us struggle to get enough sleep at night. If you feel like you’re sleeping even worse after menopause, you might be right. Hormone changes can negatively affect sleep in many ways. However, estrogen replacement therapy may improve sleep quality for menopausal women. In this article, we’ll explore some of the evidence and why it’s important to address your sleep problems with our team of healthcare providers.

    Studies Show Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Improve Your Sleep

    Happy woman after improving her sleep with estrogen replacement therapy during menopause

    Estrogen replacement therapy may improve your menopause-related sleep problems.

    We have long known that sleep problems can increase after menopause. Women are already predisposed to insomnia compared to men, but after menopause, risks increase. For instance, sleep complaints shoot up from 12% in premenopausal women to approximately 40% for women of menopausal age, according to the Sleep Foundation.

    Many women experience insomnia during menopause. Frequent daytime fatigue is also another common symptom. In addition, menopause can increase your risk for many sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome (RLS). Many women also experience poor REM sleep.

    A lot of these issues may be due to hormone changes during menopause, particularly low estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, many scientists have looked at the effects of estrogen replacement therapy on sleep and whether it can help menopausal women sleep better.

    Much of the evidence suggests that hormone replacement therapy can improve sleep. For instance, one 2017 study published in the North American Menopause Society’s journal, Menopause, found that low dose hormones during menopause improved sleep quality for women who recently entered menopause.

    We’ll look at some other studies later in this article that suggest that estrogen may improve sleep after menopause as well. However, these results are promising that estrogen replacement therapy may be able to reduce many sleep symptoms associated with menopause.

    How Low Estrogen & Progesterone Affect Sleep for Menopausal Women

    Why might estrogen replacement therapy be so beneficial for sleep quality after menopause? To understand this, it’s important to know how menopause affects sleep, especially through two hormones: estrogen and progesterone.

    Estrogen and progesterone are key hormones that control menstruation and pregnancy. During menopause, these hormones start to fluctuate and decline until you stop having a period. This causes many symptoms, including things like hot flashes, mood changes, and vaginal dryness. Hormone levels during menopause can also interfere with your sleep.

    Hormones May Affect Your Circadian Rhythm & REM Sleep

    Researchers are still studying how and why low estrogen and progesterone may interfere with good quality sleep. However, it may be due to changes in your circadian rhythm and REM sleep. These are both essential for good quality sleep.

    Circadian rhythm is like your body’s internal clock. It tells you when you should sleep and when you should be awake in a 24-hour period. Many things can influence your circadian rhythm, including light. Your hormones may also affect your circadian rhythm, such as how estrogen and progesterone control menstruation.

    Some studies have even found that estrogen can affect REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement and is one of the deeper stages of sleep. REM sleep stimulates areas of the brain necessary for dreaming, memory retention, emotional processing, and learning. One study from 2013 found that estrogen may play an important role in REM and non-REM sleep in rats.

    Therefore, estrogen and progesterone themselves may influence the processes in your body responsible for quality sleep.

    Menopause Symptoms May Disrupt Sleep

    In addition, many menopause symptoms can also interfere with sleep, further compounding the problem. Menopause can come with many distressing symptoms, including:

    • Hot flashes
    • Night sweats
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Frequent urination

    All these symptoms can also disrupt sleep. Hot flashes and night sweats can make it hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. Anxiety may have your mind racing, or even cause fast breathing and heart rate that make it feel impossible to sleep. Depression often causes insomnia. Frequent urination can cause you to get up multiple times at night to use the bathroom, fragmenting your sleep and often making it hard to fall back asleep.

    As you can see, many of the symptoms can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep during menopause.

    Why is Sleep Quality Important?

    You’ve been told sleep is important for your health, but it’s important to understand exactly why. Sleep helps repair your body and mind so it can function properly. Sleep quality is basically whether you’re getting enough restful sleep.

    Poor sleep quality can cause many short- and long-term effects. In the short-term, it can cause mood changes like:

    • Irritability
    • Memory problems
    • Difficulty staying alert
    • Higher risk for accidents
    • Poor quality of life

    If you’ve ever had a bad night’s sleep, then you likely already know just how bad it can affect you and your entire day.

    The long-term effects of poor sleep quality on your health. Some of these include an increased risk for:

    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Heart attack
    • Heart failure
    • Stroke
    • Obesity
    • Depression

    In addition to these increased health risks, poor sleep can also seriously affect your appearance. Poor sleep can reduce the amount of collagen in your skin, which can lead to premature wrinkles. Poor sleep quality can also lead to permanent dark circles under the eyes. Both wrinkles and dark circles under the eye can make you look older and cause many people to feel self-conscious.

    Therefore, it’s important for adults to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Also, if you frequently wake up feeling unrested, find yourself unable to sleep, or wake up frequently throughout the night, talk to our providers. We can help determine causes of your sleep problems and provide treatments to help you sleep better for your health and overall well-being.

    How Estrogen Replacement Therapy Can Help Improve Sleep

    If you’re having a hard time getting good quality sleep during menopause, it may be time to talk to our hormone doctor for help. Many studies have found that hormone therapy during menopause can improve many sleep symptoms you might be experiencing.

    Estrogen Replacement Therapy May Increase Sleep Quality

    As we’ve mentioned, many studies have looked at the effects of hormone therapy on sleep quality with positive results. In addition to the 2017 study where low dose estrogen replacement therapy helped improve sleep, there are many other studies that seem to confirm this.

    For instance, one 2019 study also found that hormone therapy can help with sleep quality. In the study, the women received combination hormone therapy, which includes both estrogen and progesterone. Compared to the placebo group, the women using hormones saw a significant increase in self-reported sleep quality. The results were immediate and long-lasting, with the women seeing sleep improvements in just one month.

    Estrogen Replacement Therapy Can Alleviate Menopause Symptoms

    If it’s your menopause symptoms keeping you up at night, estrogen replacement therapy can help with that, too. Estrogen is one of the most effective treatments today for hot flashes and night sweats, which often lead to poor sleep. Hormone therapy can also help with many of the other symptoms that interfere not only with sleep, but your everyday life.

    Research from 2008 found that hormone therapy during menopause has many positive effects on sleep, menopause symptoms, and even joint pain. In the study, the women who used hormone therapy were less likely to experience sleeplessness, hot flashes, night sweats, and joint pain, all of which can negatively impact sleep quality.

    Therefore, estrogen replacement therapy might be the right choice for you if you’re sleeping poorly during menopause.

    Find Solutions for Your Sleep at HerKare

    Our team at HerKare is here to help you improve your overall health. If you’re going through menopause and dealing with unwanted symptoms like insomnia, poor sleep quality, hot flushes, and mood changes, get in touch with our healthcare team. We identify and treat underlying causes of your symptoms to help you feel your best. Whether you need estrogen replacement therapy for menopause sleep issues or need CPAP therapy for sleep apnea, we are here to help you get a good night’s sleep. Make an appointment now at one of our convenient clinic locations to learn how we can help you start feeling better.