While menopause can represent a wonderful transition for women, it can also lead to a variety of uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms. While menopause may be completely natural and something all women experience, debilitating symptoms do not have to be a part of it. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can improve your quality of life by reducing the symptoms of menopause.
Symptoms of menopause may include:
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Mood swings
- Increased anxiety or irritability
- Vaginal dryness/itching
- Decreased libido
- Pain during intercourse
During menopause, estrogen levels drop dramatically. Estrogen’s primary function is to prepare the lining of the uterus for the implantation of a fertilized egg. It also helps the body use calcium better to support bone strength and it supports optimum cholesterol levels. Estrogen keeps the vagina healthy by maintaining proper moisture levels.
The goal of hormone replacement therapy is to replace the body’s natural estrogen. There are several treatments available. The estrogen will often be combined with progesterone. This is called Estrogen/Progesterone Therapy (EPT). EPT is usually necessary because estrogen on its own can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. If you have had a hysterectomy, you may not need to take progesterone.
There are several delivery methods for hormone replacement therapy. Your provider will assist you in determining which option is best for you. There are two main categories of treatment options – systemic and local. Systemic HRT means that the estrogen (or progesterone) will go everywhere in the body. Local HRT is applied in the vagina and the estrogen does not go into the bloodstream and through the body.
Systemic HRT options:
- Pills – taken by mouth
- Pellets – injected under the skin
- Cream or gel – spread on the skin on arms, wrists, thighs, and abdomen
- Patch – applied to the skin on abdomen or buttocks
Local (vaginal) HRT options:
In addition to providing relief of menopausal symptoms, benefits of HRT include lowered risk of colon cancer and diabetes. It can decrease tooth loss as well. Some studies have shown that women who take HRT in their 50s have a lower death rate than those who don’t or those who start later in life.
Don’t suffer from the symptoms of low estrogen and menopause any longer. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your options with one of our providers!