As women go through the stages of their life, fluctuating hormone levels associated with perimenopause and menopause can cause several debilitating symptoms, such as irritability, hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and bone loss as hormones such as estrogen and progesterone decline. Hormone replacement therapy can be an excellent treatment plan to manage these symptoms.
How Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Work?
Hormone imbalances can affect a person’s physical and mental health, causing unpleasant symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy balances hormone levels and minimizes unpleasant symptoms by supplementing women’s hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. It primarily focuses on replacing estrogen, and there are two main types of estrogen therapy:
- Systemic Hormone Therapy: Systemic estrogen contains higher doses of estrogen that can be absorbed throughout the body through pills, patches, rings, creams, and gels. This treatment is primarily used to treat many common symptoms of menopause and can be produced in two ways:
- Synthetic Hormones: Synthetic hormones don’t have the same molecular structure as those found throughout your body, but your body can convert these hormones to a usable form.
- Bio-identical Hormones: Bioidentical hormones contain the same molecular structure as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones can be used to help alleviate common symptoms caused by perimenopause or menopause and are specifically made for each patient.
- Low-Dose Vaginal Products: These products work to minimize and slow down the amount of estrogen your body absorbs and come in cream, ring, or tablet form. However, because they are low-dose, they’re primarily used to treat vaginal and urinary symptoms, such as urinary incontinence and vaginal dryness.
As each women’s needs differ, hormone replacement therapy must be tailored to each person and constantly reevaluated to help outweigh any risks. For instance, hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be able to prevent further bone loss and reduce the risks of fractures in postmenopausal women, but other risks, such as heart disease, blood clots, and stroke, tend to increase with certain types of hormone therapies, such as estrogen-progesterone pills.
What’s most important to know about hormone replacement therapy is how you can reduce your risks while improving your quality of life. When speaking with your physician about your symptoms, make sure to talk to your doctor about finding the best product and delivery method for you and seek regular follow-up care to ensure that you can continue to use hormone replacement therapy without increasing your risks.
If you cannot take hormone replacement therapy for medical or personal reasons, your physician can help you manage your perimenopause and menopause symptoms with healthy lifestyle approaches, such as limiting caffeinated beverages, practicing relaxation techniques, and vaginal lubricants for relief.
Seek Out Hormone Therapy at Summit Women’s & Wellness Medical Group Today!
At Summit Women’s and Wellness Medical Group, Dr. Renee Obey can provide women’s health consultation services to help you manage your symptoms of menopause and find the right method for your hormone replacement therapy. For more information, visit our women’s health service pages and contact us to schedule a preliminary consultation.