Women experience a fall in estrogen levels during mid-life causing various uncomfortable symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy replenishes female hormones to relieve hot flashes, vaginal dryness, changes in mood, and sleep disturbances. Schedule a free consultation to start a rejuvenating treatment for menopausal women.
As women age their menstruation stops, this phase of life is called menopause. During the years leading to this phase and throughout it, female hormones fluctuate naturally leading ultimately to a decline in key hormones like estrogen. It can cause symptoms such as mood swings, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, and pain during sexual intercourse.
Because each woman is unique and experiences these and other symptoms at different levels, it’s often important for women experiencing these symptoms to explore treatment options with a doctor to see what relief may be available. For some, the discomforts go away on their own, but for others they are greatly relieved by using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is also sometimes called menopausal hormone therapy. Not only does the therapy relieve symptoms, but it also helps prevent osteoporosis.
What are the Symptoms of Menopause? An In-Depth Look
The condition is typically diagnosed when a woman doesn’t menstruate for at least 12 consecutive months. In the United States, it starts at an average age of 51, but as all people and their chemistry are a little different, the condition can occur at any time in your 40s or 50s.
In the months or years before this phase sets in, there’s a period called perimenopause, which is the time some women may experience these symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Mood changes
- Slowed metabolism and weight gain
- Dry skin and thinning hair
- Fullness of breasts is lost
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep disturbances
- Night sweats
All women experience a particular set of symptoms in their own unique way. It is very likely for most people to experience irregular periods before they stop altogether. Often, periods will skip a month or several months and return to normal monthly cycles for some time.
Menstruation cycles also become more frequent, no longer happening every month, but sometimes every two to three weeks. Although periods may become irregular, a woman can still become pregnant. It is advised to get a pregnancy test if you miss a period, but haven’t officially stopped menstruating due to menopause.
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women is a medication that is composed of female hormones. When women take this medication, they are able to replace the female hormones that the body stops producing during menopausal years.
The purpose of taking hormone replacement therapy is to stop menopausal symptoms. It also helps maintain bone density and decrease the risks of fractures as a woman ages.
Types of Hormone Therapy
The main hormone for women experiencing menopausal symptoms is typically estrogen-therapy. In most cases, there are the two main types of estrogen-therapy:
Systemic Hormone Therapy
The systemic type of estrogen administration commonly has a higher dose and is absorbed in the whole body. Either gels, pills, skin patches, rings, creams, or sprays can be used. These are known to treat the usual menopausal symptoms.
Another method is to use low-dose vaginal applications via creams, rings, tablets that minimize the amount of the hormone absorbed by the body. These low-dose preparations only treat urinary and vaginal menopausal symptoms.
Unless you’ve undergone a hysterectomy, hormone replacement therapy to address estrogen imbalances is typically also accompanied by progestin or progesterone to prevent the risk of endometrial cancer.
The reason behind this is that when estrogen-therapy is used without the balancing effect of progesterone, growth of the lining of the uterus is stimulated thus increasing the risk for endometrial cancer.
Who is a Good Candidate for HRT?
Although hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be beneficial for most people, not everyone will respond positively to this type of therapy on their own.
Some considerations that you should be aware of when speaking to our medical team when considering HRT may be if:
- Think you might be pregnant.
- Have vaginal bleeding problems.
- Have experienced particular types of cancers.
- Have suffered a heart attack or stroke.
- Have experienced any type of blood clots.
- Have disease of the liver
These along with your consultation, physical exam, medical and family history will all be considered when developing your comprehensive and personalized treatment plan. Its through this information that we are able to determine if HRT is right for you and help determine the most effective, fastest way to achieve your health and wellness goals.
Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy
HRT can affect women differently depending on their lifestyle, health status, medical history, and other factors. For some women, the risks associated with undergoing therapy can include:
- Increases risk of developing blood clots.
- Increases risks for cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.
- Increases risk for breast cancer.
- Increases risk for gallbladder disease.
All risks vary depending on factors like:
Age: Increased risks are associated with women who start hormone therapy at a later age, that is 10 or more years after the onset of menopausal symptoms, or at 60 years of age and older. Although the risks are slight and manageable for most, women younger than 60 or within the first decade after being diagnosed typically experience the greatest benefit from treatment.
Type of Hormones Administered: The dosage plays a role in the risks associated with the therapy. Also, if estrogen-therapy is given alone or combined with progestin. Yet another reason that we place such emphasis upon not only prescribing this treatment to those suffering from menopause, but also through the diligent work of our Wellness Concierges are able to provide support and fine tuning to ensure that the outcomes are positive and efficient.
Medical History: Your personal medical history including your genetics should be considered before undergoing any treatment like this. Some of the factors our expert medical team will evaluate will include your risk of cancer and susceptibility to other diseases such as heart disease, blood clots, liver dysfunction, osteoporosis, and stroke.
When it comes to your health, efficiency counts. At HealthGAINS, we prioritize positive outcomes while monitoring your progress, constantly making adjustments and tuning.
What Are the Side Effects of Hormone Therapy for Women?
Most women who undergo hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, will experience side effects, but those who do experience them do so in variant degrees, from mild to more serious. It is also for this reason that constant monitoring is so vital for success.
Some of these side effects can include:
- Tender or painful breasts
If a patient encounters any of these symptoms, it’s vital to recalibrate the amounts of both the estrogen-component and the progesterone-component to better manage your progress. These side effects are something that your Wellness Concierge will help to monitor your levels of testosterone, estriol, cortisol, DHEA, and HGH to make sure they are all working at proper levels and to work with our medical team to make any adjustments if necessary.
The latest clinical research confirms that women who are on medically supervised hormone therapy with precision dosing can avoid many of the previously common side effects like weight gain, which can be a factor for some women when making a decision.
Who Benefits From Hormone Therapy?
Most women can benefit from some form of Hormone Replacement Therapy. For premenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women, most can expect to overcome:
- Moderate to severe hot flashes
- Various menopausal symptoms related to estrogen imbalance
- Decreased bone density
Now that you know what are the benefits of hormone replacement therapy, let’s discuss how to reduce the risk of doing the therapy.
How to Reduce the Risks of Hormone Therapy?
There are several different considerations that can help you maximize the benefits of hormone replacement therapy while reducing the associated risks.
Some of these include:
- Choosing the ideal delivery method for your needs. Hormone therapy is available in a variety of forms including as a gel, patch, pill, vaginal cream, or slow-releasing suppository or ring that is inserted into the vagina. For menopausal vaginal symptoms, an estrogen-rich vaginal cream in a low dose might be best. Rings and tablets are often a better alternative than skin patches or oral pills for their efficiency and low instance of .
- Starting at the lowest possible dose. Everyone wants fast results, but oftentimes in the pursuit of results, it can be tempting to take more than the prescribed dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that the purpose of hormone replacement therapy isn’t to boost your levels to unnatural levels, but rather to normalize the levels within their bodies. An overabundance of hormones can be just as serious as a lack of them, so it’s imperative to find that balance to avoid complications.
- Ensuring consistent follow-up care. Because we know that the treatment is only the beginning of the healing process and not the end of it, we provide ongoing care and support through our dedicated team of medical experts, our talented team of wellness advisors and ongoing support through the diligent work of our incredible Wellness Concierges. It’s precisely this follow-up care that helps ensure the greatest success in our programs.
- Choosing a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in as much daily exercise as you can without overexerting yourself can have many positive benefits that go beyond the mere physical. Some of these include:
- Eating a balanced diet,
- Maintaining a healthy weight,
- Quitting smoking,
- Limiting your alcohol intake,
- Keeping stress well-managed,
- Working to reverse chronic health conditions, and
- Getting enough sleep
Success Stories of Hormone Replacement Therapy
According to Nanette Santoro, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, hormone therapy is still the best way to relieve menopausal symptoms as of 2020.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)
along with the Endocrine Society found that hormone therapy is an effective method for relieving menopausal symptoms.
The National Institute of Health reports that hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms is the most efficient ways to relieve acute menopausal symptoms and to prevent long-term estrogen deficiency. They explain that low doses by vaginal administration are the safest way to get results and prevent urogenital atrophy.
The Bottom Line
Hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms is not for everyone, but if you’re a good candidate you’ll be amazed at how much better undertaking this treatment can make you feel.
Call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX today to speak with one of our knowledgeable wellness advisors who can answer any lingering questions and help set up your first appointment with our expert team of medical professionals.