Ovarian failure, when the ovaries finally stop secreting estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, may begin as early as the 3rd decade of life.  The earliest symptom may be insomnia and awakening feeling suddenly very warm in the middle of the night.  Progesterone, the first hormone to decline, is responsible for regular periods, calmness of mind, and peaceful sleep.  Lack of testosterone may present as complete disdain for sex, lack of motivation and sometimes as indifference to life.  “I just don’t care about anything, certainly not sex,” said one patient.  As estradiol levels begin to wane, vaginal dryness develops into atrophy, shrinkage of the vagina to a tight, dry opening prone to itching.  “It feels like I am being torn,” one patient’s description of previously joyous marital relations.

Many times a woman may visit her doctor, even a gynecologist, who will prescribe an antidepressant along with a sleeping pill.   Now the woman has a new diagnosis, “Depression,” and maybe in her own mind, “crazy”.  The dryness of the vagina may be treated by a tiny amount of a cream derived from pregnant mare’s urine. Hard to believe, I know, but this is the pharmaceutical hormone cream commonly prescribed. I have seen this type of patient at the free 15 minute consult:  “I don’t know if you can help me”.  With sad face and much sighing, she describes loss of interest, insomnia, hot flashes, and moodiness.  “My doctor said it will all be better in about 2-3 years, but I can’t live like this!”
Hot flashes and night sweats in some women last into their 8th decade.
I touched her hand, “I can help you!”  I explained that some researchers believe that any hormones, synthetic or bio-identical, could lead to cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovaries.  I told her that some published articles also noted possible blood clot problems which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
And yes, not all women require hormones, but for the vast majority who do need them, restoration of hormones halts the decline.
Dr. Donna Becker, practicing medicine for over 30 years with focus on hormone replacement for past 15 years.  Affiliations include: Certification in Hormone Replacement with World Link Medical. (not recognized by TX Board of Specialties).  Call for free 15 min. consult:  210-545-5224, www.antiagingsa.com