Estrogen is an essential hormone that maintains the foundation for female vitality and well-being. Estrogen is critical in proper brain function, bone density, and reproduction. Estrogen is also responsible for the stability of many things like heart, brain, bones and metabolism. Too much or not enough estrogen can result in metabolic imbalances and other health issues. One reason that estrogen levels decrease is due to the beginning of menopause or even perimenopause. Many people are surprised to learn that estrogen levels are often affected by burning fat, whether it be excessive working out or by extreme dieting. 

Menopause begins with the ovaries’ reduction in the amount of estrogen produced and eventually stops production altogether. Low estrogen levels cause a plethora of symptoms. The most common symptoms are hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, weight gain and difficulty sleeping. Fluid retention and low sex drive are also commonly mentioned. Estrogen increases levels of good cholesterol, which ultimately protects the heart. Women who have a genetic predisposition to cardiovascular issues could be at an increased risk when estrogen becomes significantly depleted. 

Bone density is also affected by low estrogen levels. Replacing estrogen can slow the loss of calcium. Women will begin an estrogen decline as early as their 30’s even though they feel no symptoms and have a normal menstrual cycle. Lower estrogen levels can result in bone loss and increased risks to bone fractures. 

Many women notice that they leak urine when laughing or exercising. This is a common occurrence and also due to estrogen decline. The muscles can lose tone that supports the urethra. This can result in stress incontinence. 

The brain is dependent on hormone balance to function properly. Memory, ability to focus and concentration can be affected with declining hormones. Many women describe it as ‘brain fog,’ easily forgetting things can be frustrating. 

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can help to balance multiple hormones if needed and restore the vitality that is common when we are young. Synthetic hormones are often prescribed to menopausal women but are known to have serious side effects and risks. These hormones are made from chemicals containing estrogenic steroids derived from the urine of pregnant mares. 

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can effectively and safely balance hormones and decrease or even eliminate the daunting symptoms of menopause for many women. Bioidentical hormones are plant-derived and are molecularly similar to what our body produces naturally. Proper treatment of menopausal symptoms and hormone replacement should be done by a practitioner that is an expert in the field of BHRT. Careful evaluation of lab work and discussion of symptoms at regular visits are essential to balancing hormones properly and effectively. 

While the FDA does not differentiate between the risks that are associated with synthetic hormones and the use of bio-identical hormones, there are numerous studies that support the safety and efficacy of bio-identical hormones over their synthetic counterparts.