Menopause may not occur overnight, but most women are likely to stop menstruating between the ages of 45 and 55. At menopause, your levels of estrogen fall, which often leads to mood swings, bone loss, low energy, a diminished sex drive, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can replenish the estrogen and progesterone levels in your body, consequently reducing these effects. In addition, HRT can also lessen your risk for cataracts, diabetes, and tooth loss.
The OB/GYN team at Fred A. Williams, MD stresses that for you to get the most from this therapy, go for solutions that are tailored to your specific needs, and we can make adjustments from time to time to guarantee that the benefits outweigh the risks.
The common forms of hormone replacement therapy include:
This method is among the most popular ways of taking HRT. You usually take the tablets once a day. For some women, this is the simplest way of using treatment. Though the overall HRT risks are still small, there is more risk when using tablets compared with other types of HRT.
Just as the name suggests, skin patches are stuck to your skin and should be replaced after a few days. Patches are a better alternative if you find taking tablets on a daily basis quite inconvenient. Patches can also help prevent some negative effects of tablet HRT, such as indigestion.
The gel is used once each day, and your body absorbs it. It’s a favorable way of using HRT while averting the higher risk of blood clots. However, for patients with their womb still intact, it’s recommended that they also take some kind of progestogen. This greatly decreases your risk of getting womb cancer.
The small, pellet-like implants are inserted under your skin. They slowly release estrogen over time and can serve you well for months. Just like estrogen gel therapy, here you will also need to use progestogen separately.
Yet another alternative is vaginal estrogen. It comes as a cream, ring or pessary that is placed in the vagina. It helps in relieving vaginal dryness, but it won't relieve other symptoms like hot flashes. This treatment is free from most risks linked to HRT, and patients may not need to use progestogen.
You may consider hormone replacement therapy if you:
Females who undergo early menopause, especially those whose ovaries were removed and don't use estrogen therapy until age 45, face a higher risk of:
While HRT has many benefits, it isn’t appropriate for women who have previously suffered from any of the following conditions: breast cancer, stroke, ovarian cancer, liver disease, endometrial cancer, or undetermined vaginal bleeding and blood clots in the lungs.
If you started menopause after you turned 45, you don’t need HRT to stay healthy. Instead, discuss with your doctor about ways to decrease the probability of conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis.
The good news is that you can manage the risks associated with HRT. Dr. Williams advises that to reduce risk, you need to:
To find out if HRT is right for you, discuss your health risks and personal symptoms with Dr. Williams, and keep the conversation going through your menopausal years. If you’d like to know more about hormone replacement therapy, contact us here.