Our bodies are continually changing from the moment we’re born. Although we all grow and develop at different times and in various ways; woman all go through certain life stages which revolve around the reproductive cycle. This starts with puberty when a girl’s body goes through changes which are controlled by hormones. Once this period of puberty has passed, the female will be reproductively mature, meaning she can conceive children. The final stage of a woman’s cycle is the menopause.
What Is the Menopause?
The menopause occurs when a woman no longer has periods and cannot naturally become pregnant. Although periods can stop suddenly, they will usually slow down and become less regular over time before eventually ending. The menopause happens typically to women between the ages of 45 and 55; however, occasionally a female may experience premature menopause even before she’s 40.
The Cause of These Changes
A hormone called estrogen is the primary cause of menopause. As women age, this hormone—which is essential to the monthly reproductive cycle—becomes less and less prevalent in the body as the production of estrogen slows down before ultimately stopping. This is a slow process, and it can take years for the hormone’s level to drop low enough to affect an individual.
How This Change in Hormone Level Affects Women
The menopause can have an immense impact on the life of the person going through it. A drop in estrogen could affect emotions, muscles, skin, as well as the brain. A whole host of symptoms will be experienced, causing various intensities of discomfort. These manifestations can present themselves even before the final period.
Some of the more common symptoms women will go through at this time include trouble sleeping, sweating at night, hot flushes, vaginal dryness, anxiety, bladder troubles, and a downcast mood. Cessation of estrogen production can also harm your bones and heart, making it more likely for you to suffer fractures and putting you at a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.
What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy and Can It Help?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a form of remedy used to ease and control the symptoms caused by menopause. It restores the female hormones which the body has stopped producing or is producing at a low level.
Although progesterone and testosterone are affected by menopause, it is the low quantity of estrogen which causes most of the symptoms. This hormone aids in the discharge of eggs from the ovaries, controls periods, and is vital for conceiving. Estrogen has other significant roles concerning moisture of the vagina, skin temperature, and bone mass.
How to Take HRT
There are various combinations of HRT, and it’s therefore important to receive the correct mix. Speaking to your doctor will be the best place to start. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of menopause, there are many ways HRT can be taken. These include orally ingestible tablets, patches placed on the skin, implants of estrogen under the skin, or gel which is absorbed through the skin when applied.
Benefits of HRT
Years of study have shown the significant gains to be had from taking HRT. Foremost is the fact that hormone replacement therapy is an enormously successful way of regulating hormones which are affected by menopause, and is therefore excellent in controlling the symptoms. This is central to a woman’s health and well-being at a time which can be distressing to many.
This form of treatment also helps diminish the likelihood of women developing colon or rectal cancer, while also lessening the chances of getting osteoporosis.
As long as HRT is used only in the short term, for five years or less, the benefits are clear to see.