Menopause can be a challenging time. Women in the midst of menopause may find themselves unable to sleep deeply or to manage stress as well as they had previously. In addition, menopausal women are often in a stage of life that includes more stress, including professional pressure, caring for aging loved ones, adolescent children, and a changing relationship with their spouse.
HRT can reduce the severity of your symptoms. Unless you have conditions that make hormone replacement dangerous, including a personal or family history of
- heart disease
- blood clotting, or
Once you start HRT, you should not expect to use the treatment for more than two years. It’s important to note that this treatment is not without risks. The increased risk of heart attack and stroke should not be taken lightly. Unless your menopausal symptoms are seriously impacting your health, talk to your doctor about keeping your HRT therapy as short as is safely possible.
When Will I Feel Normal?
You will need detailed testing to determine your current hormone levels. If you’re struggling with hot flashes that are preventing you from sleeping, your estrogen levels have likely dropped quickly, so supplemental replacement to a level that keeps you comfortable will take time to get right. Be kind to yourself as your body adjusts to the addition of replacement hormones.
Many women start to feel more like themselves after just a few doses, while others can take weeks to return to their previous level of health, energy and positivity. Again, give yourself time. Consider keeping a journal to track your experience. It may be helpful at the end of your HRT therapy process.
As your body adjusts to these replacements, be ready for some side effects. While the side effects will likely be less troubling than the symptoms of menopause, you may be surprised to experience
- breast tenderness
- aggression and moodiness, or
- increased irritability
Be ready to step away from situations that cause you distress. If you notice unusual bleeding or gall bladder discomfort, contact your doctor immediately. Some women using HRT suffer from leg cramps early in the process, but find that gentle stretching and regular exercise can help. If you notice leg pain, localized redness, swelling in your leg or pain that increases when you flex your foot, you may have developed a blood clot. Again, contact your doctor.
During your time on HRT, it’s important to put effort into reducing stress and increasing self-care. Since you are only allowed to be on HRT for a limited amount of time, consider this your deadline to build better a better structure in your life.
Carefully review your diet. Make sure that you’re eating enough fiber to reduce the risk of sluggish digestion. Bloating and gaining abdominal fat is a common experience of women in menopause, so keeping your diet healthy is critical to maintaining a healthy weight. If you smoke, connect with your physician about medications that can help you stop.
Block out time for things that are good for you, like exercise, and give yourself some quiet time at the beginning of each day to meditate or pray and center your mind and heart. If you’re a caregiver for children or an ailing elderly loved one, seek out assistance to make sure that you get a break.
Protect yourself from the risks that elderly women face. Engage in weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, to keep your bones strong. Start a course of supplements that can protect your bones and your connective tissues. Consider finding a yoga class or learning to do it on your own at home to build flexibility and core strength, which will protect you from developing back problems as you age.
Get your brain engaged as well. Take a class or take up word and number puzzles. Take music lessons, or start some new, heathy habits. Our brains need exercise just as our bodies do. By training your brain to build new neural pathways, you can delay the onset of age-related memory challenges.
HRT is a time-limited program to help you overcome the physical and emotional stress of menopause. With the right levels of hormone replacement, you can more easily manage the changes of menopause. We can help, call now (205) 352-9141 for an initial consultation.