6 Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Despite the fact that about two million women enter menopause ever single year in the United States, few doctors talk to them about what’s going to happen during that stage of their lives. Few women are prepared for it.

Menopause and the changes it brings to your hormonal balance starts to affect you around 10 years before your periods finally cease. During that phase — known as perimenopause — you may start to notice some of the symptoms that are usually associated with menopause, such as:

Because there’s been such a lack of information about how hormones affect women as they age, you may not associate these symptoms with perimenopause or menopause. When you start to think about how to remedy them, turning to your hormones might not even be on your radar.

At Mian OB/GYN & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, Dr. Rafiq Mian and our team want you to feel energized, confident, and clear-minded throughout your life cycle. If you struggle with the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, we may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to resolve them.

In addition to being safe and effective, even when used in the long term, HRT has benefits beyond controlling hot flashes. Here are six of them.

1. HRT helps you sleep

One of the most troubling symptoms of perimenopause and menopause is insomnia. You can have insomnia even if you don’t spend hours tossing and turning, trying (unsuccessfully) to sleep. Insomnia is any type of sleep disruption, which could include:

Hormones influence your body’s systems, including your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. Once your hormones are back in balance with HRT, your sleep issues resolve. It also helps resolve incontinence issues, including frequent awakenings due to the need to urinate.

2. HRT may reduce your risk for heart disease

Ironically, some of the earliest studies with HRT (which was a different formulation than is used now), associated the treatment with an increased risk of heart attack. However, those initial studies were done in unhealthy populations. Subsequent research has shown that HRT not only does not raise your risk for heart disease, it may actually lower your risk.

When you start HRT between the ages of 50-59, or within 10 years of menopause, HRT with estrogen alone confers either no risk or reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Women who start after age 60 or 10 years post-menopause have no increased risk with HRT. Using HRT also tends to improve lipid profiles.

3. HRT protects your bones

When you lose estrogen and testosterone to menopausal decreases in sex hormones, your bones suffer. Your bones need sex hormones to create new bone cells that replace those that are old, dying, or dead.

In fact, it’s the drop in hormones that raises the risk of osteoporosis for postmenopausal women and for men whose testosterone levels have dropped with age. One study showed 23 fewer fragility fractures per 1000 women in those who used HRT. 

4. HRT keeps your brain sharp

When your hormones are disrupted, you can’t sleep well enough to restore your brain. However, even when awake, your brain relies on the signals that hormones send to stay sharp and swift.

Some of the most troubling aspects of menopause have to do with your mood and cognition. Many women complain of “brain fog,” depression, and anxiety. In fact, women in menopause are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed. With HRT, your mood and memory should both improve. 

5. HRT helps you look younger

When your sex hormones plummet, your organs don’t have all of the ingredients they need to renew cells and rebuild tissues. Troubling symptoms of menopause that affect your appearance include:

By replenishing your hormones, HRT lets your body replenish and rejuvenate itself, too. You look and feel younger with HRT.

6. HRT preserves your sex life

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, sexual activity (including masturbation) is a key ingredient to a happy, healthy body and mind. However, during menopause, the downshift in hormones also causes a downshift in your libido.

Even when you do manage to be “in the mood,” you may have an unpleasant experience. Unbalanced hormones lead to drier, thinner vaginal walls that could make sexual intercourse excruciating. 

You may also take longer to climax, not climax at all, or have weaker climaxes. Once your body adjusts to HRT, your vagina becomes stronger and is able to lubricate itself once again. Your libido increases, as does your ability to orgasm.

If you’re ready to balance your hormones and life with HRT, call us or use our online form to book an appointment today.

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