Starting at the age of 40, women develop an imbalance between estrogens and progesterone. These hormones are produced in the ovaries and are responsible for female wellbeing, the menstrual cycles and fertility. Around the age of 50 most women experience amenorrhea and growing impairment of wellbeing. This period is called the peri-menopause.
Many women over 50 often experience this transition as very disturbing. Not only the empty nest syndrome, when the kids have left home, but several growing symptoms can make life hard to cope with and quality of life decrease rapidly.
Estrogen therapy during the menopause is an established, albeit still controversial, form of treatment. The findings of several international studies (HERS / USA 1998; WHI / USA 2002; MWS / GB 2003), however, gave rise to a paradigm shift a number of years ago. Although until recently, lifelong estrogen replacement therapy was regarded as the best treatment for women during and after the menopause, the modern-day approach is more cautious. It has been shown that this treatment not only increases the risk of breast cancer and blood clots, but the benefit of the treatment has been over-estimated, especially in relation to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Women going through the menopause therefore need to ask themselves: "What should I do?" This issue has been discussed for many years not just by women going through the menopause, but also by experts in the field.
But in order not to overreact, it is very important to explore the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy with the patient. For severe menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, sweats and disturbed sleep, which still affect more than 60% of women, there is frequently no real alternative to estrogen treatment. Used responsibly, it can eliminate many of the unpleasant side effects of the menopause and therefore considerably improve the individual's quality of life. It also helps to prevent potential later consequences of estrogen deficiency. If the uterus is still present, estrogens should be always be given combined with natural progesterone.
We need to note that lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol, being overweight and a lack of exercise can also influence the development of breast cancer and can actually present a higher risk than the administration of estrogen! We all have the ability to influence our own personal risk of disease!
Between the ages of 45 and 60, men can also develop symptoms that are similar to those experienced by women going through the menopause. However these do not occur suddenly, but rather develop slowly over a period of months to years, making them harder to detect. The causes of these problems can be many and varied, however often they are signs of the dwindling production of male hormones, known as androgens, and especially testosterone. Through treatment with testosterone, these hormone deficit symptoms and their negative consequences can be successfully treated for the whole body, and with professional medical supervision, the risks are minimal.
In addition to these known substances, there are hormones that, when administered for demonstrated deficiencies, can achieve an improvement in quality of life and often a slowing of the aging process. I would like to tell you about three of the most important ones here: