Classes & Events News Get

Recognizing Hormonal Imbalances After Menopause

May 13, 2024

Thoughtful-looking woman sitting on the floor near sofa, embracing her knees

Around age 50 when a woman reaches menopause, her ovaries stop producing two reproductive hormones — estrogen and progesterone. Without these, a woman’s menstrual cycle and any chance of pregnancy gradually come to an end. But it also can be the start of some very intrusive side effects, too.

“Menopause treatment is not something most women know about, but it can help alleviate the debilitating symptoms brought on by this hormonal transition,” says Neha Verma, MD, an endocrinologist at Atlantic Health System. “After menopause, women’s estrogen levels drop to zero, which disrupt the body’s receptors. Most women think they have to live with these changes, but they don’t.”

Common Symptoms of Menopause

  • Hot flashes
  • Brain fog
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular periods
  • Bone loss
  • Mood changes
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Night sweats
  • Thinning hair
  • Dry skin
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Headaches

Hormone Treatment Options

One of the ways Dr. Verma helps women deal with the symptoms of menopause is through low doses of estrogen and progestin, the human-made form of progesterone. This is known as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Treatment can be administered through a patch or a pill, depending on a woman’s preferences and health history.

Women are high-efficiency human beings,” says Dr. Verma, “but when they transition through menopause and their estrogen levels plummet, it can affect their cognition, sleep and energy. Rebalancing the reproductive hormones brings women significant relief.”

Balancing Three Key Hormones

Estrogen is the female sex hormone responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle. It plays a role in bone density, mood regulation and cardiovascular health.

Progesterone regulates menstruation and is crucial for fertility. It helps prepare the uterine lining for a fertilized egg during pregnancy.

Testosterone is present in women, but in much smaller amounts than men. It contributes to a woman’s sex drive, muscle mass, bone density and energy level.

A Personalized Approach

Dr. Verma explains that hormone therapy is a personal decision based on a woman’s symptoms, goals, health history and risk factors. Although she acknowledges that, historically, HRT may have been associated with various health risks, today’s low-dose options and regular monitoring make for safe and effective menopause treatment.

“Women come in saying they can’t sleep, or their heart is racing, or they have brain fog. They’re often not looking for treatment, because they don’t connect their symptoms to menopause. But when we peel away the layers, we find that it often all started with menopause,” says Dr. Verma, “and then we take a new approach.”

Be Proactive About Your Health

To stay safe and healthy, it's good to have a primary care provider who knows and understands your health history and wellness goals.

  • Women's Health