8 Signs You Need Hormone Replacement Therapy
Menopause is a natural, biological transition in a woman’s life that marks the end of her childbearing years. In the United States, the average age of onset is 51 although it can happen in a woman’s 40s.
While some women have no symptoms when they enter menopause, others may experience issues such as hot flashes and night sweats. Often, these can be relieved by hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
But what is hormone replacement therapy and is it the right choice for you? We’ll explore the answers and give you the information you need.
What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
When you enter menopause, your body stops producing estrogen. This reduction in estrogen causes many of the signs and symptoms of menopause.
During hormone replacement therapy, we may prescribe medication that contains these female hormones. Taken daily, this treatment can relieve you of troublesome menopausal symptoms.
Hormone therapy also has some additional benefits; it prevents bone loss and reduces the chances of getting a fracture.
What Are the Signs that You Need Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Some women enter menopause with no symptoms or very mild symptoms. However, if your symptoms are making daily life challenging, you should speak with us.
Following are 8 signs that you need hormone replacement therapy:
1. Low sex drive
The lack of estrogen can cause changes in your libido, and some women may find it more difficult to become sexually aroused. Menopause often leads to vaginal dryness and thinning vaginal tissues, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
This isn’t always the case, however. Some women report a satisfying sex life after menopause.
As internal medicine physicians in Cary, our expertise on how all your body’s systems interact together can help you regain your libido. Please do not be embarrassed to ask us any questions, and this includes concerns about your sexual health. We are here to help and we pledge to always take time to answer any of your questions.
2. Chronic Vaginal Itching and Burning
First, there are a lot of potential causes of vaginal itching and burning, including everything from a yeast infection to a sexually transmitted disease. So if you’re experiencing any chronic vaginal discomfort, you should schedule an appointment.
Estrogen is responsible for helping your vagina naturally lubricate. It also helps maintain your vagina’s thickness and elasticity.
Low estrogen levels can cause vaginal inflammation and thinning, resulting in a condition called vaginal atrophy. This can cause itching and burning.
3. Night Sweats
Hormone levels can affect your body’s internal “temperature control.” As a result, your blood vessels can expand, creating a wave of heat that results in sweating and red skin. Night sweats are also common in women in perimenopause, or the years leading up to menopause.
4. Mood Swings
Everyone experiences mood swings from time to time, but during menopause, hormonal changes may make these occur more often. The intensity of the mood swings can make it difficult to complete daily activities.
Often, you can find relief through exercise, eating nutritious food and practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation.
However, sometimes these methods aren’t enough. In these cases, you should make an appointment with one of our doctors in Cary to discuss your options.
5. Chronic Insomnia
It’s no secret that Americans as a whole are sleep-deprived, but what may surprise you is that menopause can cause difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep.
Lack of sleep can lead to:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- A higher risk of accidents while driving
- Depression and/or anxiety
- An increased risk of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or heart disease
6. Hot Flashes
This is one of the most common complaints among menopausal women. A hot flash occurs when a lack of estrogen affects your body’s internal “thermostat” (called the hypothalamus) to be more sensitive to even the slightest changes in body temperature. As a result, your hypothalamus can misjudge how hot or cold you really are, starting a chain of events that lead to a hot flash.
7. Hair Loss
When estrogen is lost during menopause, women may experience thinning hair. Of course, there can be other causes for hair loss, including genetics, age, illness and nutritional deficiencies.
If you believe menopause is causing your hair loss, please contact us for an appointment so we can discuss whether or not hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
8. Urinary Problems
The lower estrogen levels women experience during menopause can weaken the urethra. The urethra is the narrow tube that allows urine from your kidneys to pass out of your body.
As a result, some women may find it difficult to get to the bathroom in time. It’s also not unusual for urine to leak when coughing, sneezing or laughing (known as urinary stress incontinence).
What Type of Hormone Replacement Therapy is Right for You?
When it comes to estrogen replacement, we know that there is no one solution that works for every patient. That’s why we evaluate your individual situation and work closely with you to formulate a solution
Not Sure If You Need Hormone Replacement Therapy? Schedule an Appointment with Cary Medical Group Today
Our internal medicine doctors in Cary specialize in women’s health and care for you throughout your life. As part of our women’s wellness services, we also offer:
- Annual physicals
- Pap smears
- Treatment for urinary tract infections
- Pelvic exams
- STD testing
- Birth control consultation
See why our dedication to excellence has made us the region’s leading internal medicine doctors in Cary. Contact us for an appointment.