- For many women, postmenopause can be a confusing and frustrating time of life. Just when you think you should be finished with menopausal symptoms, you’re surprised that you still have to deal with common discomforts, such as hot flashes and vaginal irritation. If you’re a postmenopausal woman, here’s what you need to know about possible ongoing postmenopausal symptoms and how hormone therapy can help you.
What is Post Menopause?
Postmenopause is the term used for when a woman has stopped having menstrual cycles for 12 successive months. In other words, it’s the period following menopause. The average age that the menopause starts is 52, with symptoms continuing from two to five years. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for other women, who can struggle with symptoms for much longer. With some women, the symptoms subside only to return considerably later.
Causes of Postmenopause
It’s the same hormonal changes that prompt menopause that also play a significant part during postmenopause. Although this is a natural process that all females must undergo, it can still seem complicated for many women. The causes of postmenopause involve both internal and external factors.
The internal factors, which entail hormonal changes, such as estrogen and progesterone, take place naturally, but external factors are less common. One of the main external factors is lifestyle. For example, women who are heavy smokers or drinkers can cause menopause and postmenopause to develop early. Other external factors that can lead to an early onset include those, such as radiation, chemotherapy or surgery.
Common Symptoms of Postmenopause
While hot flashes and night sweats were once thought to a temporary symptom of menopause, recent studies have found that they can continue for years or even decades. Besides being uncomfortable, hot flashes can also compromise your productivity as well as your social life. As night sweats can disrupt your quality of sleep, it can be hard to function properly during the day. Most postmenopausalwomen fail to seek treatment.
Vaginal dryness is another common symptom that affects more than half of postmenopausal women between the ages of 51 and 60. Because there’s less lubrication in the vaginal area, sex can be painful. Besides causing pain during sexual intercourse, vaginal dryness can also create discomfort when even sitting, standing, urinating and exercising. Again, because many women feel embarrassed to discuss this problem, they don’t get help.
Some postmenopausal women experience a condition known as pruritus vulvae or “itching of the vulva.” This problem is especially distressing at night and can lead to insomnia. Although it’s common during post menopause, it can affect a woman at any age.
The Benefits of Hormone Therapy
Many women find relief from hormone therapy. This treatment involves taking medications that contain female hormones used for replacing those hormones that your body can longer produce following menopause. While hormone treatment was once thought to berisky, it’s now considered safe to continue taking it for several years following menopause. After substantial research, studies have shown that hormone therapy is not only harmless, but it’s one of the most effective treatments for managing symptoms.
Hormone therapy offers many benefits for postmenopausal women, including a reduction of hot flashes, better sleep, less muscle aches, mood enhancement, reduced vaginal dryness and improvements with other symptoms linked with vaginal atrophy. Furthermore, hormone therapy can strengthen your bones and improve collagen. It can also help with migraine symptoms. Additionally, it can bebeneficial to your skin, making it thicker, hydrated and more elastic.
Regular HRT vs BHRT
One big difference between regular HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy) is that with regular hormone replacement therapy, side effects are much more frequent, as the chemical makeup of the hormones used are not the same as your natural hormones. However, unwanted side effects are much rarer with biodentical hormone replacement therapy.
Regular HRT usually doesn’t consider a patient’s unique health needs, but BHRT is tailored to a woman’s special health requirements. Also, because the hormones that are used in BHRT have the same chemical makeup as those that your body naturally produces, there’s less risk to your health.
Considerations and Warnings
- Some postmenopausal women deal with vaginal bleeding when taking hormone therapy. As postmenopausal bleeding per se can be a sign of something serious going on, it is important to see a doctor or medical professional if this occurs, even if it settles quickly.
- You should set up an appointment for a bone density test for determining the calcium level in your bones so that you can take steps to prevent osteoporosis, which is linked to post menopause.
- As a postmenopausal woman, you’re more likely to develop hypertension (high blood pressure), urinary tract infections and weight gain.
- Because dehydration can result from sweating and elevated body heat, it’s important to stay hydrated.
- To reduce night sweats, avoid alcoholic drinks and spicy foods. Also, take a cool shower before you go to bed and sleep in a cool environment.
Are you a postmenopausal woman who still struggles with symptoms? Call the professionals at Dr. Allie’s Vitality Clinics. We specialize in helping busy women take back control of their health and lives by balancing their hormones. It’s our passion to help women, especially those in the 30s through 50s, manage stress naturally by using bioidentical hormones. Please contact us.
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