Should a woman take hormones during menopause?


Twenty years ago, gynecologists thought it would be a mistake not to give hormones to menopausal women. After all, they would miss them during this time. A red face or a sweaty blouse, whenever it doesn't fit at all. Any woman in a situation like that would have gone to her doctor and gotten a prescription for hormones. She was able to do that, too, until 2002, when it became known that hormones against menopausal symptoms can drastically increase the risk of breast cancer or a heart attack. From then on, the doctor's prescriptions dropped and it stayed that way, until 2012 only every 5th woman was prescribed hormones during the menopause. But what can a woman do when the symptoms are so great that they have a drastic effect on her life?

Hormone administration yes or no?

Today we can be happy that a Danish study found that hormones are not as bad as they are made out to be. They conducted a study in which women over the age of 50 took a hormonal drug for 10 years. It was found that the risk of breast cancer in these women was no higher, perhaps lower, than in women who had not been given hormones. Now the doctors were up in arms because they had always believed that hormone administration was not as harmful as everyone believed. But you can't lump all women together. Hormone therapy must be weighed very carefully from woman to woman. First she has to undergo a thorough pelvic exam and consultation, and then the doctor weighs up whether hormones should be given or not. However, everyone agrees on the timeframe and amount of the award. They should not be prescribed for long periods of time, and then only in very small doses.

The fear of the menopause!

Especially the women who are in the middle of their lives are often challenged today. For some, the career ladder is still steep, for others caring for their parents is essential. So what to do when hot flashes, depression and crying cramps are part of the daily routine? This question brought the doctors full waiting rooms and the pharmaceutical industry ample income. The hormonal changes in a woman going through menopause have been researched a lot, but no one is really sure. Hormones yes or rather not!

What to do when menopause begins

At the beginning of her menopause, which, by the way, every woman perceives differently, some rules should be observed, for this it is only necessary to change a few habits. For example, not drinking two cups of coffee, just one, going to the sauna with your girlfriend once or twice. Getting up earlier and going to bed later instead of tossing and waiting for the next heat wave. Even trivial things like this make the first part of the menopause a little easier. Those among the women who have no or hardly any symptoms can also see the good side of menopause. Especially women around the age of 50 like to fall in love all over again. For them, completely different things are the focus when it comes to menopause. "Finally no longer having to use contraception, finally no more period pains and finally no longer being exposed to mood swings every four weeks". But to all those who suffer so badly from the menopause, with all its negative sides, such as hair loss, vaginal thrush, hot flashes, crying cramps , restlessness and sweating should not be afraid to ask your doctor about hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy also has its positive sides!

When a woman's hormonal balance changes, it usually doesn't leave her hair and skin unaffected. Skin becomes drier, wrinkles increase, and when you get injured, it takes a lot longer to heal than before. Hormones can not only reduce hot flashes and sweating, but also reduce wrinkling and make the hair more stable. When it comes to a woman's menopause, the hormone progesterone often plays a major role. Complaints during the menopause arise not only because of a lack of estrogens, but also because of the decrease in progesterone. This tends to decrease in the body, like estrogen, which is why there is an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen even before the actual menopause. The corpus luteum hormone, progesterone, is produced during ovulation and prepares the woman's body for pregnancy. If this does not happen, however, production will be stopped again. Since ovulation no longer occurs every month during the menopause, this hormone is increasingly absent. The consequences are altered cycles, tension in the breasts, weight gain, water retention and sleep disorders.

Progesterone can be replaced!

Replacing the hormone progesterone now can alleviate many of a woman's ailments during menopause, and progesterone also has a positive effect on bone structure and skin aging. Women who decide to undergo hormone therapy usually receive a mixture of natural progesterone and estrogens or progestins. Different forms of delivery such as "natural" and "synthetic" are now available for the active ingredients, so the gynecologist can prescribe the right hormone therapy. Here it is primarily up to the doctor to choose the right one, because hormone administration can be a blessing for some women and a burden for others. The doctor needs a lot of sensitivity and empathy, if he does not have this, it can happen that it becomes more of a torture for a woman to take the hormones. Undesirable side effects can occur, such as water retention in the tissues, loss of appetite or excessive hunger, irritability, restlessness, dizziness, high blood pressure and migraines. In the worst case, damage to the liver is possible.

The liver does most of the work!

Medications put a lot of strain on the liver because it is the liver that has to break down the active ingredients again. The first signs that something is wrong are declining performance and constant tiredness. In these cases, the women concerned should consult their doctor under all circumstances. While not so long ago hormones were considered to be absolutely cancer-promoting, science has now backtracked quite a bit. More and more recent studies have found that a replacement estrogen is more likely to protect women from a heart attack and the risk of cancer is not nearly as high as assumed. On the other hand, it also seems to be the case that hormone patches or hormone gels are more tolerable for many women than taking them.

Do all women have to resort to hormones?

Major discomfort only occurs in 30 to 40% of women going through menopause, so they need to be treated with hormones. If you give hormones, the body gets back what the ovaries can no longer produce on their own. If women are not suffering so much, the body does not need any addition of hormones. Here it is usually sufficient to accept small restrictions in diet and habits. This is already helpful for most women and the release of hormones no longer needs to be considered.

Viet Trinh

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