The passage through menopause differs from one woman to the next. Some sail through with ease, while others are plagued with life-altering side effects. Most women fall somewhere in between, with nearly half of postmenopausal women between the ages of 51 and 60 reporting problems with vaginal dryness. This unfortunate change in sexual health is a direct result of the loss of hormones, which is where bioidentical hormones are making a difference.
At our practice, with Dr. Samuel D. Van Kirk at the helm, we pride ourselves on helping women in Redding, California, navigate each stage of life, from pregnancy on through to the postreproductive years. To ensure that our patients receive the best care possible, we provide a number of effective tools that help women safeguard their health, sexual and otherwise. And for many postmenopausal women, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a game changer, allowing them to enjoy a happy and active sex life long into the future.
If you’re struggling with painful sex after menopause, here’s a look at how bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help.
The role of hormones
A woman’s passage through menopause begins when her ovaries start to shut down, releasing fewer and fewer eggs, and then none. Powering this change is the precipitous drop in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Unfortunately, the drop in hormones affects far more than your ovaries, as estrogen and progesterone govern your sexual health in myriad ways. For example, estrogen regulates your vaginal health, ensuring that the tissue is strong, elastic, and well-lubricated to facilitate intercourse and delivery. When your hormones dry up, so do your vaginal walls, which leads to vaginal dryness and painful sex.
Finding an alternative
While men have long benefitted from little blue pills that help them enjoy active sex lives at any age, women were left with few resources when it came to declining sexual health.
Now we have another solution that not only addresses painful sex by remedying vaginal dryness, but it also alleviates the many other symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, urinary incontinence, and weight gain. Called bioidentical hormones, this replacement therapy relies on hormones that are identical in structure to those you produce in your own body.
At the heart of this therapy is a chemical extract from soy and yams, which is synthesized to create hormones that are identical to your 17 beta-estradiol, estrone, and estriol estrogens.
Putting bioidentical hormones into practice
When you first come in, we’ll review your symptoms and come up with a plan that we think will reverse the more troublesome side effects of menopause. First, we determine your hormone levels before you embark on this treatment so we have a baseline. Then we prescribe the bioidentical hormones, along with progestin if needed, checking your progress and hormone levels along the way so that we can make any necessary tweaks.
While it may take a little time for this hormone replacement therapy to take effect, you may realize results fairly quickly (within weeks) that will surprise and delight you. And as we mentioned, if you’re not reaching your goals, we can adjust the therapy to garner the results you want.
If you’re tired of dealing with painful sex after menopause, please give us a call. Or you can use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.