Menopause occurs when a woman’s menstrual periods permanently stop and you are no longer able to become pregnant. You may be going through menopause if you have not had any bleeding or spotting for a consecutive 12 months. During menopause, your ovaries will produce lower levels of estrogen and progesterone to put you at risk for serious health problems like heart disease and osteoporosis.
Symptoms of menopause and health problems related to lower production of estrogen and progesterone can often be prevented with hormone replacement therapy for women. Female hormone replacement can deliver hormones that may be at low levels or missing in women who have gone through menopause, or who are experiencing menopausal symptoms.
If you are currently going through menopause or have already gone through it, here’s how hormone replacement for women can help reduce or relieve your symptoms.
What is the Average Onset of Menopause?
Most women will start to experience menopause during their mid-to-late 40s.
There are 3 stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
Perimenopause is the transition to menopause and usually occurs for an average of four years before menstrual periods stop permanently. Menopause occurs when you have gone 12 months in a row without experiencing spotting or a menstrual period. The average age of menopause in the U.S. is 52.
Postmenopause is the last stage after menopause. Women who have reached the postmenopausal stage are often far more vulnerable to heart disease and osteoporosis, but hormone replacement therapy during this stage is shown to reduce the risk for these serious health conditions.
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What are the Common Symptoms of Menopause?
Women who are in any stage of menopause may experience a range of mild to severe symptoms that produce discomfort and interfere greatly with their quality of life. Certain symptoms may affect some women more than others.
Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Periods that occur more frequently and close together
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Spotting between periods
- Periods that last longer than one week
- Periods that resume after no bleeding for one year
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Uncomfortable sexual intercourse
- Vaginal or bladder infections
- Urinary incontinence
- Sleep disturbances
- Reduced or loss of sex drive
- Irritability and mood swings
- Weight gain
- Cognitive problems
- Stiff, aching joints and muscles
- Heart palpitations
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy for Menopause?
HRT for menopause increases the body’s levels of estrogen and/or progesterone. Some forms of female hormone therapy can even increase testosterone, if necessary.
Increasing the body’s levels of these hormones during or after menopause can often improve many menopausal symptoms that affect your quality of life, such as low sex drive, irregular periods, hot flashes, and insomnia.
Women who receive hormone replacement therapy during any stage of menopause can better enjoy their everyday lives without the added stress and discomfort associated with symptoms of menopause.
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How Does HRT for Women Counteract Menopause Symptoms?
Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone all play key roles in a number of female bodily processes in addition to fertility.
For instance, estrogen and progesterone work together to help the body process calcium, which helps maintain bone strength and reduces the risk of bone loss, fractures, and osteoporosis. These two hormones also help regulate the body’s cholesterol levels and keep the vagina healthy.
Female hormone replacement therapy provides women’s bodies with the levels of hormones they need to feel healthy, and energetic from day to day. Many doctors who specialize in hormones will develop customized treatment plans for each woman based on her respective levels of estrogen and progesterone. Healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating highly nutritious foods can also complement hormone replacement therapy and naturally balance hormones.
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What is the Best Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women?
The best HRT is customized for each woman to deliver the exact amount of hormones she needs without being placed at risk for health or medical problems that commonly result from having too-high estrogen levels. Conventional hormone replacement therapies typically contain synthetic ingredients and use a one-size-fits-all approach to estrogen dosing that can result in some women exceeding the normal range of estrogen. This puts these women at higher risk for blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and breast and ovarian cancers.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is customized for each woman based on the exact levels of estrogen and progesterone she needs to stay healthy. Hormones used in bioidentical HRT can be derived from natural plant sources that mimic the hormones produced naturally by the human body. This decreases the risk for many health problems linked to the use of synthetic hormones. Women who need estrogen hormone therapy and who live in Aventura or Miami can visit HealthGAINS to receive customized bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Can I Take HRT for Perimenopause Symptoms?
Yes, any woman going through perimenopause can take HRT for lasting relief from perimenopause symptoms. Your doctor can perform regular blood tests and evaluations throughout perimenopause to check your hormone levels and change your hormone therapy as needed to make sure you’re getting enough estrogen and progesterone. However, using hormone therapy during perimenopause may delay menopause in some women.
Are There Any Risks of Using HRT for Menopause Symptoms?
Female hormone therapy should not be used by women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Progesterone and estrogen hormone replacement therapy may also not be ideal for women who are already at risk for health and medical conditions that can be worsened with a higher amount of estrogen in the body.
These conditions may include:
- High blood pressure or uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Blood clots of thrombosis
- Severe migraines
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Cancers of the breast, ovaries, or endometrium
Women who have or who are at risk for any of these conditions may still be able to receive hormone therapy, but only if they receive bioidentical hormone replacement therapy that is individualized just for them. Using conventional HRT can deliver higher, unneeded amounts of estrogen that may worsen or trigger the above conditions.
How Do I Know if HRT is Right for Me?
Ideal candidates for female hormone replacement therapy are women who are experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of menopause, or who have a family history of osteoporosis. HRT for women may also be ideal for you if certain menopause symptoms are greatly interfering with your well-being and quality of life. Insomnia, depression, urinary incontinence, weight gain, cognitive problems, and issues surrounding sex drive are just some symptoms of menopause that can lead to a lesser quality of life.
If you are not sure whether female hormone therapy is right for you, a doctor can discuss the pros and cons of this treatment, review your medical history, and perform an evaluation to determine whether you could benefit from HRT. HealthGAINS in Miami offers a free consultation to all women who want to learn more about hormone replacement therapy for menopause. Many health insurers provide full or partial coverage for HRT.
Request a free consultation with a Wellness Advisor at HealthGAINS or call us today at (305) 912-8828 to learn more about our many available hormone therapies.