hormone-replacement-therapy-and-women

What Women Need To Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy

Over the years, doctors have recommended hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for the treatment of symptoms associated with menopause and also to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. However, there have been some controversies surrounding hormone replacement therapy about whether it is an appropriate treatment for menopause. Read on as you find out more information about it and whether it might be for you.

WHAT IS HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY?

Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that is used to augment the natural hormones levels in the body. This is usually in two forms, either in estrogen-alone therapy (ET) or as estrogen with progesterone therapy (EPT). The former is for women who had a hysterectomy otherwise known as the surgical menopause, while the later is for those women who experience menopause in their midlife naturally.

Estrogen serves many functions apart from the reproductive function of thickening the lining of the uterus to prepare it for egg implantation. Some of the functions include aiding the body to process calcium, helping the body to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and keeping the vagina healthy. However, once menopause starts to set in, the amount of natural estrogen and progesterone produced by the ovaries drops significantly. This is usually followed by symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, painful intercourse, sleep problems, and mood changes. It can also increase the risk of osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy can help replenish the body’s estrogen to relieve the symptoms of menopause and prevent osteoporosis.

TYPES OF HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

It is important to note that women who undergo surgical menopause (hysterectomy), estrogen alone is generally prescribed. For women with a uterus, the combination of estrogen and progesterone is prescribed. The reason for this is that it may be risky to take estrogen alone for women who are undergoing menopause naturally, as this can lead to cancer of the endometrial lining. However, adding a synthetic version of progesterone through hormone replacement therapy reduces the risk of endometrial cancer by causing the lining to shed every month.

Synthetic and more natural options are also available.

Bio-Identical Hormones are more effective and safer than synthetic hormones because they are:

  1. Derived naturally
  2. Customizable

Because Bio-identical Hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone) are derived from natural sources, our bodies can metabolize them more efficiently. Bio-identical hormone regimens are also customizable, which means that they can be modified to your specific health profile and your individual hormonal needs. Unlike synthetic hormones, which are formulated with a one-size-fits-all approach, bio-identical hormone replacement allows for a more tailor-fit hormonal regimen that is best for you.

WHO SHOULD CONSIDER HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY?

Candidates for hormone replacement therapy are women with moderate to severe symptoms of menopause. However, those who have a family history of osteoporosis should also consider HRT because of the help it gives the body to absorb calcium.

But, it is important to note the types of women who are not ideal candidates for HRT. Women with heart disease, breast cancer, liver disease, or a history of blood clots and those with no symptoms of menopause should not consider hormone replacement therapy.

Usually, the late forties to mid-fifties is the age that most women experience the onset of menopause, and the most severe symptoms last for two to three years. There are no special rules about when a woman reaches menopause or how long the symptoms may last. Doctors recommend taking a low-dose treatment which is the most effective way to get the benefits of HRT while limiting the negative effects.

 

HRT may not be a cure-all method, and it is best to work closely with your doctor to monitor your health and symptoms very closely as you commence your treatment, but it remains the best method of treating severe cases of the unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms of menopause and improving the quality of life.

Contact an Ageless Medicine of the Palm Beaches Physician today to learn more about whether HRT is right for you.

Or, call to schedule an appointment today: 561.406.2269