Hormone replacement therapy is often described as a brief ‘fix-it’ for hot flashes and vaginal dryness during menopause. Menopause is dismissed as something of little consequence in the average woman’s life. In fact, the advent of menopause is significant and has far-reaching consequences, of which hot flashes and dryness only scratch the surface.
Menopause signals the end of reproductive years. Biology of all mammalian life suggests that the end of reproductive viability indicates the end of life. In fact, even though the human female now lives many years beyond menopause, the same premise still exists. The female body begins a sharp decline towards old age with the onset of menopause.
Menopause is a biologically-timed event similar to the onset of the menses and its surge of hormonal activity. With menopause, the amount of natural estrogen and progesterone that the ovaries produce declines sharply. Usually, hot flashes are the first indication of discomfort.
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What is the reason for hot flashes?
Lowered reproductive hormones trigger a reaction in the body’s hypothalamus, which is the controlling thermostat of temperatures. Women who are obese or who smoke may have more problems with hot flashes, and emotional stress adds to the frequency of hot flashes. Eighty percent of menopausal women experience flashes.
Other menopause-related symptoms are a reduction in breast tissue, short-term memory problems, increase in urinary tract infections and loss of tone in pubic muscles, resulting in bladder or uterine prolapse.
An important factor in menopause is diminished sexual desire due to lack of testosterone, as well as loss of muscle mass due to lowered testosterone. Even though men produce much more of this important hormone, it has a very significant effect upon women’s health and vitality, as well.
To be perfectly honest, menopause is a natural process, but it is not conducive to normalcy. In fact, menopause can be the beginning of age-related diseases like osteoporosis.
How does menopause impact bone mass?
Bone mass in women and men is affected by testosterone production, because muscle mass, a known response to testosterone, creates pressure on bones. Bone mass increases through pressure.
Loss of estrogen leads to progressive thinning of bones through resorption of calcium. In some women, the disease of osteoporosis is the result. Osteoporosis is characterized by thinning of the bones and, surprisingly, a corresponding thinning of the skin. This is because collagen and bone mass are known to parallel each other with a very high probability of bone loss if thin skin is evident.
Osteoporosis is a very painful disease typified by unexpected fractures in limbs and the spinal vertebrae.
Can osteoporosis be prevented?
Women treated with bio-identical hormone pellets of estrogen and testosterone demonstrated increased bone density. In one year, 16 women past menopause were treated with hormone pellet insertion. Their bone density improved with a compelling 11.5 percent at the spine and 4.34 percent at the hip. Bone biopsies revealed a corresponding increase in collagen production.
Bio-identical hormone pellets provided an increase in bone mass for women previously taking oral hormone replacement therapy, as well. After a year using the bio-identical therapy with inserted pellet, Dexa scans (bone scans) revealed density increases of 5.2 percent at the hip and 5.7 percent in the spine.
Bio-identical hormone pellets are a preferred method of therapy for those with thinning of the bones or osteoporosis. A constant elevation of hormonal levels is achieved through bio-identical pellet therapy, which alleviates the physical decline of menopause and increases bone mass.