I admit it. I used bioidentical hormone therapy for 12 years until one troublesome incident of unusual bleeding, although slight, made me seek out my doctor. When I was told had to stop taking hormones, I did, and later I definitely experienced postmenopausal dryness.
I knew I was walking a slippery slope before this happened. You may know, as confirmed here by the Mayo Clinic, that research has shown possible risks of hormone therapy are:
- Pulmonary embolism, a blockage in one of the arteries in your lungs
- Deep vein thrombosis, a condition where blood clots form in veins deep within your body, often in your legs
- Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
- Breast cancer
As you also know, the literature has sometimes been all over the board with regard to dementia, too.
Taken Too Long?
I underwent an endometrial biopsy and was told I had complex hyperplasia with atypia, precancerous changes of my endometrium, carrying with it a 25 to 50 percent chance of developing endometrial cancer.
(Say what? Where did this come from?)
My estrogen had gotten high and out of balance with my progesterone, and my uterine cells did not like that at all. It’s tough to balance these two friends/foes, since the only real diagnostic is a pelvic ultrasound that measures the thickness of the uterine lining. Mine had shown a too-thick lining, and then a too-thin one, as we adjusted progesterone dosage. Obviously, we adjusted it incorrectly.
Now I had to stop using my hormones, a gel I applied to my arm, along with compounded progesterone capsules I took orally. I was not happy, for I do feel they made me “look younger,” helped my moods and kept me a well-oiled machine, shall we say…
No Hysterectomy for Me
After seven months with no hormones, and trying to decide if indeed I “had to have” a hysterectomy, I opted for another biopsy. I did not want to remove part of my female organ structure, and I did encounter some resistance to that. The biopsy showed that my cells were back to almost normal, but I was told I could not return to my hormones the way I’d taken them since I’d been off them for too long—too risky.
I had a Mirena IUD inserted to deliver progesterone locally rather than systemically as the capsules had delivered it. It gave me cramps for a few months, but now, seems to have settled in. I’m told to think of it as my new best friend. Yes, this required—as did the biopsies—anesthesia and an O.R.
Help for Postmenopausal Dryness
So now, I’m literally not high, but I sure am dry with postmenopausal dryness and its unwelcome symptoms. I’m seeing a respected specialist who has provided alternatives to help me deal with all of this.
To learn what options are available for you at this age, see the infographic below from Replens. It’s a great product and no, I am not compensated for saying this. Use it regularly, just as you would a moisturizer on your face. Also, the site MiddlesexMD is a mature women’s sexual health find! Don’t be shy when you see what’s available. If you can imagine it, it’s probably there, and no, sites like this aren’t just for much younger women. After all, this is your body and your sexual health. Enjoy them both.
If you’ve wondered, as a woman, no matter your age, “Why Am I Dry?” here are the answers.