HRT Changed My Life for the Better
I'm not an expert, nor am I even a medical expert. I am only a post-menopausal, 40-something-year-old woman telling you what worked for me. I wish I had known more about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) before I actually needed it. I hope that sharing my experience will help you know the questions to ask your doctor.
My Life on Estrogen Only
I was on estrogen therapy (estrogen only) for two years. During that time, this is what characterized my life:
- I always felt like I needed sleep, sleep, and more sleep!
- I would wake up feeling like I needed a nap.
- I had no sex drive.
- I had a spare tire around my middle
- I had zero energy!
I dealt with this while trying to be a normal 41-year-old mom of two. It seemed doing anything took way too much energy. I wasn't depressed—just very worn out constantly.
More About How I Felt on Estrogen Therapy
- The fatigue: Each day I would spend nine hours at work as a high school teacher. I would come home and feel like I could barely get one foot in front of the other. I would lie down for at least a one-hour nap.
- I needed so much sleep. Sleep seemed to be all my body wanted. I would count my hours of sleep trying to get at least 10 hours. If I got less sleep the drained feeling was almost unbearable. A zombie-like feeling throughout the day is the best description.
- My ever-expanding muffin top. I am overweight by more than about 20 pounds, but it seemed all to be in my waist. While on estrogen only my waist seemed hopeless. Exercise was difficult for me due to back problems so that left diet. The waistline never seemed to lessen despite weight loss. If I gained it only went to my muffin top. It was a constant, discouraging problem.
- A feeling of not being enough. As I battled my waistline, fatigue, and the need for so much sleep, I had a feeling of not being the mom, daughter, and friend that I should be.
Progesterone: To Add or Not?
With the constant fatigue, the feeling of absolutely zero energy, and the need for daytime naps, I decided to see what options were available to me.
Read More From Patientslounge
I Went to the Doctor
I went to the doctor to see what he said about my fatigue. He checked my blood work and realized that it was good. It came down to the fact that I lacked any hormones, other than the estrogen that I was taking.
He Suggested Progesterone and Testosterone
Both progesterone and testosterone would help with the fatigue that was plaguing me. I started the progesterone first, as it was compounded. It is easily picked up at my local pharmacy that does the compounding. Not all pharmacies will do compounded prescriptions; just ask and they can point you to the correct drugstore.
The progesterone began to show slight side effects in the first couple of weeks, mainly headaches. Those went away after about two weeks. Then around the third week or so, I began to feel more energy. This was also the time I began the testosterone pellets.
How My Life Changed
I take estrogen patch, progesterone pill, and testosterone pellets (every 3-4 months). I have now been on this regimen for almost a year. The changes have been amazing. There are a few negatives, but they are nothing compared to the benefits that I have seen.
- Energy to spare. I used to came home after eight hours of teaching high school to basically go to bed. Now, I come home and do what "normal" 40-something women do.
- Restful nights. My sleep is good, but it does not have to be as long. I can get far less sleep and still be just as rested.
- Mornings are brighter. Waking up at 4:30 is never easy, but now I don't feel as much like snoozing my alarm till I barely make it to work on time. I wake up feeling rested and energized.
- Sex drive. I didn't think that my sex drive was low while on estrogen only, but it turns out it was. The sex drive is not overwhelming—it's just more like it was in my 20s and 30s.
- The spare tire is much smaller. Without even losing weight, I lost inches. It was amazing to see how the inches fell off even though my weight did not change.
Read More About HRT
- Hormone therapy: Is it right for you? - Mayo Clinic
Hormone therapy helps treat bothersome menopausal symptoms, but it's not for everyone. See if hormone therapy might work for you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 April McMichael