Sensual Reawakenings and Glorious, Dreamy Sleep
This is part 2 of Liz's story.
Read part 1 here.
As I entered into menopause several years ago, I often was asked if I would look to hormone replacement therapy to cope with its unpleasant symptoms. I always responded with a hearty, “Not me!” My personal method of dealing with pain and sickness is to “tough it out.” I gave birth naturally; I don’t get Novocain at the dentist; and, I rarely take anything for a headache. I don’t know if that makes me crazy or brave, but it seemed unlikely that something as natural as menopause would change my behavior.
That is, until I was introduced to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
I work in women’s health, so I attended a seminar solely to familiarize myself with a new menopause treatment program. An expert in the field of BHRT presented an alternative menopause treatment approach and described benefits that seemed out of reach for someone four years beyond “the change.” He shared stories of menopausal women who were sleeping soundly, sexually active, not having hot flashes and thinking with clarity. Many of these women no longer needed medications for osteoporosis or depression.
As I sat and listened, I was sure he was some kind of snake-oil salesman, preying on suffering menopausal women. No way was I buying into this hype!
But I continued thinking about two things as I left this seminar: the women who attested to the BHRT benefits and the possibility there was truly something out there that could provide them.
Since I was now seriously considering it, I decided to weighed the pros and cons…
PROs of BHRT
- It was all natural (not made from pregnant horse urine like traditional HRT).
- It was dosed based on your own body’s hormone levels (most HRT is prescribed without obtaining hormone levels from the patient).
- It’s placed under the skin and absorbed into the bloodstream maintaining a fairly consistent level of hormones in the blood stream at all times.
- In 3 to 4 months it would all be absorbed and out of my system—I could try a cycle and quit if the claims proved untrue.
CONs of BHRT
- It’s hormone therapy (bioidentical is less risky, but it still has potential side effects like bleeding and unwanted hair growth).
- It’s not cheap, nor is it covered by insurance.
- It’s an alternative method of HRT, and my gynecologist didn’t support it.
For me, the pros outweighed the cons, and I decided to try it.
At my initial consultation with the doctor, I was physically present, but my mind was racing with thoughts of “…what are you doing….have you lost your mind… just excuse yourself and tough it out…” It wasn’t too late to change my mind, but I willed myself to see it through. An hour later, I headed back to the office with three little pellets inserted into the fleshy part of my fanny still wondering if I lost my mind!
The morning after, I awakened from the most delicious sleep I had experienced in years, and I turned to my husband and said, “This has to be a placebo. There is no way that I could have gotten results that quickly!” And yet, it continued night after glorious night. Within days, co-workers stopped me to ask me what I was doing differently. Repeatedly I heard, “You are glowing.”
My desire for intimacy returned soon after starting BHRT, which was just miraculous for me. With the BHRT, I was experiencing a sexual re-awakening that was amazing! And the desire for physical intimacy strengthened my emotional connection with my husband as well.
In addition, I have a renewed energy level and muscle strength that encouraged me back into the gym. I had developed a “menopot” – that annoying little abdominal pouch that plagues so many menopausal women – and I couldn’t lose it no matter how much I exercised. A year into my therapy (and with the help of a new diet and exercise regimen) it finally disappeared. All of this, coupled with the relief of osteoarthritis, increase in bone density and lower cholesterol, has me celebrating something I once thought was “too good to be true.”
If you’re like I was, you’re thinking there must be a downside, right? Well, here it is…
I am more aware of that fine layer of facial hair that began to appear with menopause. And I still walk into a room and forget why I am there, even though my ability to concentrate has been greatly enhanced. I tend to be very emotional during the first few days after receiving the hormones, but that passes quickly. And I have opted back into a monthly “cycle” as part of the therapy, which means I gave up the only real advantage of menopause— no periods! But with a daily dose of progesterone, this can be avoided.
An advantage of getting older is that one’s quality of life becomes the driving force behind one’s decision-making. For me, the pleasure of being able to sleep every night and enjoy sex every day has made bioidentical hormone replacement therapy the right choice for me.