$295 for Semaglutide Weight Loss

$195 for HRT

Website Logo

Reduced Muscle Mass

Hormone Therapy for Women in Massachusetts

When women reach perimenopause and menopause, one of the symptoms commonly experienced is a reduction in muscle mass. This typically starts in your 40s and continues on.

However, you may not even know of this symptom at first, as it can creep up on you. Maybe you find yourself working out more at the gym, but not seeing the results you expect. Perhaps you just get a little more tired, or you find it’s taking more effort to carry in the groceries or to pick up a young child.

The loss of muscle mass is just one of the many symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Others include hot flashes, weight gain, dry skin, sleep disruptions, and night sweats. But the loss of muscle mass is one that continues long after hot flashes have ceased. Recent research has started to shed light on what is causing this reduction in muscle mass, opening the doors for you to take steps and get some of that lean muscle mass back.

Hormone Therapy Illustration

The Causes of Muscle Mass Loss in Menopausal Women

Physicians have known for a long time that menopause brings about a reduction in muscle mass for women. And, of course, women have known it for even longer from personal experience. But recent studies are just now starting to illuminate the intricate details of how the cessation of ovulation can result in a loss of muscle mass. Not surprisingly, the answers are all tied up in the female hormone estrogen, which is vital to women’s well-being in so many ways.

One recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota and the University of Iyväskylä in Finland shows that the loss of estrogen which occurs naturally at menopause actually alters the micro-RNA inside muscles. When this micro-RNA can no longer send the signals it once transmitted, cells in those skeletal muscles start to die.

Scientists have known for a long time that the male sex hormone, testosterone, plays a crucial role in helping men maintain muscle strength (it’s also relevant to women’s muscle mass and strength). This most recent study from the University of Minnesota shows that muscle stem cells also rely on estrogen in women. Without estrogen, muscle cells can’t repair themselves well after damage and they can’t reproduce. As a result, when women lose estrogen during menopause and perimenopause, their muscles are affected. They can no longer build themselves back up and they start to deteriorate.

Further studies draw different links between estrogen and a decrease in the function and quality of muscle tissue. It turns out that hormonal balance is key to muscle function in women. Estrogen stimulates cell reproduction in muscles and limits the damage caused to them by inflammation and stress. After strenuous exercise or muscle damage, the skeletal muscle stem cells regenerate muscle tissue, but only if enough estrogen is reaching the estrogen receptors in cells.

When a woman suffers an estrogen deficit as the result of menopause, inflammation and oxidative stress occur to her muscles. Without the estrogen needed to help restore damage done by these factors, muscle loss occurs.

Another contributing factor to the loss of muscle mass in women as they age is insufficient vitamin D. This vitamin is crucial to the maintenance and growth of bone. What’s less known is how important it is to muscle function. Without sufficient vitamin D, muscle fibers start to atrophy. Older women with deficient levels of vitamin D are at greater risk of losing muscle mass. This in turn can result in their falling, which can then result in broken bones.

What You Can Do About Reduced Muscle Mass at Menopause

Fortunately, women don’t have to sit back and watch as their muscles atrophy. There are plenty of steps they can take to preserve, and even build, lean muscle mass in their 40s, your 50s, and beyond.

To start, let’s talk about vitamin D. Since vitamin D is tied up with the retention of muscle mass in women, it’s not surprising to see that taking a daily dose of vitamin D can make a difference. Studies from Sao Paolo State University in Brazil show that vitamin D supplements reduce the loss of muscle mass and increase muscle strength in menopausal women, providing significant protection against degeneration and loss of muscle. However, it’s easy to take too much vitamin D, so make sure you’re only taking the dosage recommended by your physician.

Exercise is another proven way to ameliorate muscle loss. Choose a weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, weightlifting, working with resistance bands, Pilates, or cycling. While swimming is great for your cardiovascular system and gentle on your body, it’s not a weight-bearing exercise, so it’s not the best choice for building bones and muscles. Strengthen your core muscles first and build outward. Once your core strength is stabilized, you can move on to more aggressive or challenging forms of exercise.

Eating plenty of protein also helps build muscles (not surprising) since they’re essentially made of protein. Many women eat far less protein than they actually need. Plan on eating one gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight. In addition, many women go through the day dehydrated. Try drinking more water and less soda, or less drinks with caffeine and artificial sweeteners.

Getting plenty of rest is also helpful when you’re trying to rebuild muscle mass. If you’re always stressed and overly busy, your body doesn’t get the chance to recover. A lot of healing happens each night, so make sure you’re there for it.

Finally, many women find that the simplest and most comprehensive answer to their issues comes through hormone replacement therapy, which can help with both bone loss and reduced muscle mass.

Hormone Replacement Therapy to Restore Muscle Mass

Hormone replacement therapy is the go-to treatment for many women when they reach perimenopause and menopause. That’s because it treats a whole host of symptoms all at once, so women don’t have to seek out separate treatments for all their menopause symptoms.

Hormone replacement therapy is effective against hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, mood swings, sleep deprivation, and bone loss. It also helps with reduction of muscle mass. During the process, it replaces the estrogen lost during menopause, providing the missing element that women’s muscle cells need to regenerate, rebuild, and stay healthy.

Estrogen plays an important role in muscle health for menopausal women. Hormone replacement therapy has actually reversed the loss of lean muscle mass that occurs with menopause. It results in an increase of the specific type of muscle cells that atrophy with age, which manifests as increased muscle strength and mobility.

Women can combine hormone replacement therapy with an exercise program and healthy nutrition, including optimal amounts of protein and vitamin D, to help preserve their muscle mass. As a bonus, hormone replacement therapy also helps strengthen bones, preventing or reversing bone loss that occurs with menopause, and reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Would you like to learn more?

Feel free to call us or take our short women's health questionnaire.

Symptom - reduced muscle mass

Help With Menopausal Symptoms in Boston, MA

At Hormonally Balanced, we understand what it’s like to face the symptoms of menopause and we’re here to help. If you’re considering hormone replacement therapy, we’re happy to talk through the decision with you, and we’ll always take the time to answer your questions. Contact us today to see how we can help with your menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms — including your desire to see lean muscle mass again — and get started on a path to health and well-being.

Take our hormone questionnaire

If you’re experiencing any symptoms, complete our short quiz. 

Or get in touch now!

Head straight to our contact page and complete our form there. Our team will be in touch right away.