Who’s afraid of menopause?
Lots of women, apparently. And it’s not hard to understand why. The onset of menopause is marked by a host of changes, both physical and emotional. Unfortunately, most of these changes are rather unpleasant, to put it mildly (hot flashes in the middle of summer, anyone?).
Thankfully, science and medicine now allow women access to treatments that can help ease some of the more adverse effects of menopause, including a marked decrease in hormone levels.
One popular treatment option is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). When women hear “bioidentical hormone replacement therapy” — or hormone replacement therapy, in general—alongside menopause, they usually think it’s just to get estrogen levels back to normal. However, there’s another hormone — progesterone — that is proving beneficial in improving the functionality and quality of life of menopausal women.
Let’s go back to when you were younger. Each month — specifically, in the period following ovulation — your body experiences a surge in progesterone levels. This increase is your body’s way of readying itself for pregnancy; by preparing the uterine lining for implantation, progesterone supports the development of an embryo.
But progesterone’s benefits do not stop with fertility. You know when people say that a woman is at her most desirable when she’s fertile or ovulating? That’s partly due to an increase in progesterone.
Progesterone is nature’s “miracle in a bottle,” and then some: it makes your skin glow, improves your mood, assists in good sleep, and increases your libido. As an added bonus, it keeps your thyroid in check too.
It’s not surprising then that the sudden decline in progesterone you experience during menopause can leave your body feeling out of whack—even looking less than stellar. Here’s where bioidentical progesterone can come to your rescue.
What’s makes bioidentical progesterone different from the conventional (and synthetic) progestin used in hormone replacement therapy? Bioidentical progesterone is the closest thing to natural progesterone—which unfortunately, the body doesn’t produce enough of during menopause. That’s good news for any menopausal woman who needs relief from those annoying and uncomfortable episodes of hot flashes, night sweats, and interrupted sleep. Even better, it also helps promote women’s overall brain health and boosts collagen production. For women undergoing estrogen therapy, progesterone has been shown to decrease uterine cancer risk too.
Progesterone: Your Brain’s Best Friend
You’re familiar with the more physical symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and sweats. However, having low progesterone levels also has a negative impact on brain health. Scientists are aware of the role that progesterone plays in mood regulation, cognition, and nerve development, so they are especially concerned at the impact low progesterone has post-menopause, including problems with remembering, reasoning, and thinking, as well as emotional instability.
Menopause, just like aging, is a fact of life. However, women need not suffer from the side effects of having low progesterone levels, as those who have undergone BHRT can attest. More importantly, maintaining healthy hormone levels with bioidentical progesterone can help protect your brain against neural decay and its adverse consequences, like dementia.
Nature’s Miracle in a Bottle?
The best time to start your skin-care routine is in your twenties, skin experts say. Those who don’t religiously put on sunscreen and moisturize will start to see the consequences of their neglect at around the time menopause starts too, usually in the form of sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
You may say that those extra lines and wrinkles are just age catching up with you. But brace yourself, ladies — skin elasticity rapidly deteriorates after menopause. Again, it’s due to your body producing less progesterone. Progesterone is a key contributor to your body’s ability to produce collagen. Naturally, it follows that if you have lower levels of progesterone, your body will experience a drop in collagen levels as well, leading to more wrinkling and sagging.
To get back some of the elasticity your skin has lost, you could get collagen treatments or take oral collagen supplements. Or you could go to a more molecular level through bioidentical progesterone therapy. Keeping progesterone levels at optimal levels stimulates your body to produce collagen, keeping the effects of aging on your skin at bay.
Balancing Estrogen and Progesterone: The Key to Protect Uterine Health
For those considering estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy, here’s a little caveat: While estrogen therapy is a common hormone replacement therapy option for treating menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, bone density loss, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido, it also ups your risk of getting endometrial cancer.
The good news? Progesterone can help negate this cancer risk.
That said, progesterone’s benefits are two-fold. Aside from the chemical mechanisms that benefit the body from getting more progesterone, combining bioidentical progesterone with estrogen hormone replacement therapy is a safer and more effective alternative versus estrogen alone.
Getting the Right Help for Menopausal Woes
So, do you still dread menopause? With bioidentical progesterone, getting relief for menopausal symptoms doesn’t have to mean compromising your health.
Does this treatment suit everyone? The answer to that depends on a woman’s needs and preferences, of course. Take time to sit down with a practitioner, who can discuss the best options available and help develop a treatment plan that’s tailored specifically for you.
Have a question about bioidentical progesterone? We can help. To get started, click here to schedule your free phone consultation.