As you age, many aspects of your body change. Bodies change differently for each gender. However, one thing remains constant; aging negatively affects the functioning of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is the sole system for the production and secretion of hormones in the body. These hormones, in turn, help with the proper functioning of your body. Some hormones affected due to aging are reproductive hormones. Both males and females will experience changes in reproductive hormones.
This starts happening when you reach the age of 40 or 45 years in some people. For women, the reproductive hormones that decrease are estrogen and progesterone. On the other hand, levels of testosterone are affected in men. The deviation in the levels of these hormones from the normal has several consequences for both genders. The health consequences are, however, gender-specific. Men undergo problems like hair loss, mood swings, reduced libido, decreased lean muscle mass, et cetera.
The changes in reproductive hormone levels in women mark an end to their menstrual cycle. This is known as menopause. You are diagnosed with menopause when you fail to receive your periods for at least 12 months. However, it is not only caused by aging. Other factors can also cause a decline in your reproductive hormones and make you menopausal. They include:
- Cancer treatment
Two types of cancer treatment options can trigger menopause; chemotherapy and radiotherapy. With radiotherapy, it will only trigger menopause if your ovaries are exposed to radiation. This is because the ovaries are responsible for releasing reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone. However, radiation exposure of parts like the breasts will not trigger menopause. As such, women with cervical and ovarian cancer are more likely to experience menopause due to radiotherapy. With chemotherapy, you can still get your menstrual cycles once the treatment is complete. Therefore, you should take caution by using birth control pills if necessary.
This is a term that describes the surgical removal of the ovaries. The ovaries can be removed to prevent conditions like endometriosis and cancer. Since the ovaries release reproductive hormones, their removal reduces the levels of the hormones in your body. The surgery instantly causes menopause. You will start to experience signs of menopause, such as hot flashes, almost immediately. Additionally, the signs increase in severity over the years.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency.
Some women younger than 40 may experience premature menopause. This happens when your ovaries become insufficiently capable of releasing adequate levels of the hormone. There are several contributing factors to this; autoimmune diseases and genes.
When is it time to talk to your doctor about menopause hormone therapy?
The signs and symptoms of menopause indicate you should talk to your doctor about menopause hormone therapy. If possible, seek treatment as soon as you notice the signs. The signs and symptoms include night flashes, vaginal dryness, mood changes, hair thinning, dry skin, night sweats, weight gain, irregular periods, sleep problems, et cetera. Early treatment is necessary because untreated menopause worsens over time and increases the severity of the symptoms. Additionally, you are at risk of developing certain complications when you fail to talk to your doctor about treatment. The complications of menopause include:
Estrogen is essential for healthy bones because it maintains the density and strength of bones. Low estrogen levels make your bones brittle and easy to fractures.
- Heart disease
Estrogen is good for the heart. It increases the levels of high-density lipoproteins, which are cardioprotective. It also decreases the levels of low-density lipoproteins. When the hormone levels fall, the high amounts of low-density lipoproteins can accumulate in arteries and hinder blood flow.
- Urinary incontinence
Tissues of the vagina and urethra lose their elasticity with menopause. The consequence of this is that you will involuntarily pass urine when you get a sudden urge to pass urine. Corrective measures are taken during menopause treatment. This means that your doctor will set a therapeutic goal of raising the levels of the hormones. This is known as hormone replacement therapy. Increasing the levels of reproductive hormones improves the signs and symptoms of menopause.
The hormones are increased through exogenous supply in the form of pills or injections. Vital Force clinic specializes in several therapies, including hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women. Menopause can significantly decrease your life quality when you do not do something about it in due time. This is why we urge anyone within Birmingham, Alabama, living with menopause to step into our clinic for treatment. You can also reach us at 205-352-9141 for your appointment.