Hormone replacement therapy provides medication that contains female hormones. The medication is taken to replace the estrogen that your body isn’t producing during menopause. Hormone therapy treats menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal discomfort. Hormone therapy has also been noted as a way for women to prevent bone loss and reduce bone fractures in postmenopausal women.
Learn More About Hormone Replacement Therapy in Women
There are risks with hormone therapy. The type of therapy, the dosage, the length of time taking the medication, and overall health determine the risks involved with hormone therapy. Hormone therapy should be customized for each patient and regularly reevaluated to ensure the patient’s well-being. HRT focuses on replacing the estrogen your body stops making during menopause. There are two types of estrogen therapy for menopausal therapy:
- Systemic estrogen therapy: Systemic estrogen comes in patches, rings, pills, gels, creams, or sprays. This type of HRT contains a higher estrogen dose that the entire body absorbs. It treats common symptoms of menopause.
- Vaginal products: These products are low doses of estrogen. Doctors commonly prescribe vaginal products in creams, tablets, or rings. These treatments minimize the amount of estrogen absorbed by the body. Low-dose vaginal products are primarily used to treat vaginal and urinary symptoms of menopause, unlike systemic estrogen therapy.
If you haven’t undergone uterine removal surgery, physicians will prescribe estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen alone can stimulate the growth of the uterine lining, increasing the risk of certain cancers. If you have had a hysterectomy, your physician might not prescribe progestin. However, if prescribed estrogen-progestin pills, your physician will evaluate your progress to ensure you’re not diagnosed with a severe side effect. These side effects are blood clots, breast cancer, stroke, and even heart disease.
These side effects can vary depending on age or the type of hormone therapy. Women over 60 who have had menopausal symptoms for ten years or more are at a greater risk for lethal side effects. If hormone therapy starts early, the benefits outweigh the risks. Physicians recommend women under 60 start hormone therapy almost immediately after the onset of menopausal symptoms. The risks of hormone therapy can increase if you’ve been prescribed progestin. However, the risks can decrease if you’re taking estrogen alone. Some menopausal symptoms can be managed without hormone therapy. Physicians recommend keeping your environment colder, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, and meditation to combat the symptoms of hot flashes. If these methods don’t help, there are medications without hormones that your doctor can prescribe.
Managing Menopausal Symptoms with Capital Women’s
Menopause can be an unpleasant change in your life. Many women experience anxiety when they start menopause. Menopause is an unfriendly reminder that you’re getting older. However, at Capital Women’s Care Center Rockville, our physicians are here to help you feel more comfortable with hormone therapy. Dr. Judith Gurdian is an experienced physician who can help you navigate your menopausal symptoms. Whether it’s with hormone therapy or not, call us at (301) 762-5501 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gurdian.