The changes women face during menopause and how to balance hormones

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Article by Dr Marion Gluck, Hormone Specialist and Founder of The Marion Gluck Clinic

Menopause medically speaking, is characterised by the decline in testosterone and estrogen which together with progesterone controls many elements of a women’s life such as menstruation, sexual activity, mood and weight fluctuations.

Although menopause is a natural process associated with ageing, the force of its symptoms can result in hormonal imbalance. This imbalance can cause a variety of symptoms which often take many women by surprise and can sometimes be tricky to navigate without guidance.

Side effects of the menopause can include:

  1. Lower libido

While some wrongly claim that entering menopause equals a definite end to their sex life, a decrease in sex drive can be a common menopause side effect. Lower libido is the result of the decline of estrogen and testosterone hormones. Many women notice that a reduction in those hormones can also lead to vaginal dryness, however help is at hand and doctors can prescribe a vaginal cream or tablet which releases a small dose of estrogen, making sexual intercourse less uncomfortable. 

  1. Weight gain

Due to the drop in estrogen levels which regulates fat distribution, many women can also experience excessive fat storage around the abdomen, despite carrying on with their regular lifestyle. While women of childbearing age would usually have more fat stored in the lower body parts, where its function is to protect the organs of the reproductive system, during menopause women’s bodies no longer are being prepared for pregnancy thus redirect the fat storage into more central body parts. 

  1. Changes in bone density

Estrogen influences how women’s bodies absorb and use calcium. During menopause estrogen levels decrease, and as a result women are more prone to osteoporosis. Many doctors can prescribe vitamin D supplements as a preventative to injury and advise women to build muscle mass to help protect bones.

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  1. Night sweats and sleeping problems

Sleeping problems during menopause are often associated with hot flushes and night sweats, causing frequent night-time awakenings. They occur due to the changing hormone levels, effecting the bodies temperature control. Some women may find that lifestyle changes can help, whereas others move to taking medications to control it.

  1. Mood changes

Remember the irritation during the few days before your period came? Women feel like that on those days because of the much lower levels of estrogen compared to progesterone. During the menopause women often feel as if they are constantly experiencing PMS with irritability, feelings of sadness, fatigue and tension or even reduced motivation and concentration. To overcome these mood changes it is advised that women carry out an active lifestyle, get outdoors in nature and engage in creative activities. During this time, personal relationships are important, and women should connect with friends and family who can support them in this transition. 

How to balance the hormones during the menopause?

Despite the inevitable changes happening to the hormonal system during menopause, there are natural and medical ways to minimise its symptoms. Regular exercising and keeping a healthy diet can level off your adrenaline and cortisol levels and decrease the frequency of rapid mood swings and depression episodes. Meditation, yoga, breath work and calming exercises are also known to stabilise the stress hormone levels and decrease the sensation of general anxiety.

While diet, exercise, reducing stress and holistic lifestyle changes can all work to reduce symptoms, sometime women will also need medical treatment too. Due to the individuality of each and every woman as they go through the menopause, a “one size fits all” medication is not always optimal. The symptoms and severity of the menopause will differ from woman to woman and the ways in which symptoms can be eased will vary too.

Bio-identical HRT (BHRT) with specific hormone balancing is personalised by testing the blood to ensure the treatment is unique to each deficiency. For the individual patient this can be life changing, reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. Bioidentical hormone treatments are 100% identical to human hormones produced in the ovaries and adrenal gland. BHRT can be offered in a variety of applications including transdermal creams, lozenges, tablets and vaginal creams according to individual needs and preference. Adjustments to the doses of each hormone may be made over time and through regular follow up, and the treatment can be compounded to achieve the best possible outcomes.

About The Marion Gluck Clinic

The Marion Gluck Clinic is the UK’s leading medical clinic that pioneered the use of bioidentical hormones to treat menopause, perimenopause and other hormone related issues. Headed up by Dr. Marion Gluck herself, the clinic uses her method of bioidentical hormonal treatment to rebalance hormones to improve wellbeing, quality of life and to slow down ageing. 

Dr Marion Gluck
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