How Your (Lack Of) Hormones Make Menopause Worse
By Judy Couch, FNP-C
Menopause is one of the most important “seasons of life” for women. Unlike 50-100 years ago when the average life expectancy for women was 54 years, menopause can now last between 20-30 years. Many women highly underestimate how long it can last, and therefore often don’t take steps to ease their transition.
Unfortunately, women entering menopause can expect a wide variety of physical, mental, and emotional changes. All of these can be mildly bothersome to life-altering, depending on how each woman tolerates the decline of her hormones.
Why is menopause an issue?
The term menopause is used to describe the time period when a female’s body is producing the lowest amount of sex steroid hormones in her life. This decreased production of hormones creates an imbalance in our systems that can cause both physical and mental changes, not all of which are positive or easy to live with.
An important thing to realize is that menopause doesn’t have to start at age 50 (that’s a total menopause myth!). Symptoms can actually begin to show as early as your 30’s or as late as your 60’s!
What physical changes can I expect?
Physically, we first notice changes in our skin, including more wrinkles, loss of elasticity, drooping breasts, and thinner appearance and feeling. These effects on the skin can be felt especially in the vaginal tissue, where dryness and atrophy can lead to urinary tract infections, painful intercourse, and urinary incontinence.
We also experience hair thinning on the scalp and hair growth on the face, as well as weakened bones (making a fall a potentially life-threatening situation).
What mental changes can I expect?
Mentally, the decline of hormones can affect us and resemble depression. Feelings from hormonal imbalance can be hard to distinguish from situational depression (loss of a loved one or job, financial stress), but it is important to look at the causes of your symptoms.
If you are feeling depressed, overwhelmingly sad, or even apathetic when you have many reasons to be happy, it is possible that hormone imbalance is the cause. Symptoms include:
- Fatigue or lack of motivation
- Low libido
- Difficulty concentrating
Why do my low hormones make menopause worse?
When you are younger, your body produces hormones that keep your health balanced and optimized. Without these vital hormones, your body begins to experience the above symptoms. The longer these hormones are unchecked and left to deplete, the worse your symptoms can become over time.
Fortunately, the best solution is an easy one: hormone replacement.
How can I get my hormones back?
While we can optimize your current hormones, it is unlikely that your body will ever produce in the same capacity as it used to. Therefore, it is more efficient to use natural hormone replacement with hormones that are identical to what your body used to produce.
If any of the above symptoms and feelings are impacting your health and wellbeing, I highly encourage you to reach out to us at 513-791-9474 to have your hormone levels evaluated. Depending on your health, treatment could be life-changing and life-saving. Call us today to schedule your blood draw!