Therapist in Palatine, IL
Hormone replacement therapy involves the use of medications that contain female hormones to replace the hormones no longer produced by the body after menopause. Hormone replacement therapy was once a standard treatment for any postmenopausal woman who was experiencing symptoms like hot flashes. It was also believed to ward off heart disease and other conditions associated with aging.
Today, research has advanced, and it is no longer rapidly prescribed by doctors to treat hot flashes or prevent disease. That being said, hormone replacement therapy is still a good choice for certain women.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
A hormone doctor might explain to you that the benefits of this therapy may depend on how it is administered: systemically or vaginally.
Systemic Hormone Therapy – Systemic therapy involves estrogen in the form of a pill, spray, cream, gel,, or patch. This is an effective treatment for hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms related to menopause. Systemic therapy might also be prescribed to women who have osteoporosis.
Low Dose Vaginal Preparations – This variation comes in the form of estrogen cream, tablet, or ring. It can treat vaginal symptoms related to menopause, and certain urinary symptoms. It does not help with hot flashes, night sweats, or osteoporosis.
Long term use of this hormone replacement therapy is generally not recommended. Women who have not had a hysterectomy may also be prescribed progesterone in addition to the estrogen. This is because when estrogen is taken on it’s own it can stimulate the lining of the uterus and may increase the risk of uterine cancer.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right for You?
Systemic hormone therapy is an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. If you are healthy, and:
- You experience moderate to severe hot flashes
- You’re dealing with other menopausal symptoms like mood swings and night sweats
- You have lost bone mass
- You are not benefiting from other therapies
- Your period stopped before the age of 40
- You lost function of your ovaries before the age of 40
If you experienced early menopause, or had your ovaries removed without taking any estrogen replacement, there may be an increased risk of:
- Heart disease
In general, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy outweigh the aforementioned risks.
Who Should Not Take Hormone Replacements
If any of the following apply, a hormone doctor might advise against this type of therapy:
- You’ve had breast, ovarian, or endometrial cancer
- You have blood clots in the legs or lungs
- You have had a stroke
- You’re a heavy smoker
- You are not bothered by the symptoms of menopause
Potential Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Like other medical treatments and therapies, there are risks associated with hormone replacement therapy. Some of these include:
- Heart disease
- Blood clotting
- Breast cancer
The risks will depend on whether estrogen is given alone or combined with progesterone. Your current age, age at menopause, family medical history, and state of health should also be considered as they could influence the risk factor. All of these risks should be discussed with your hormone doctor, like a therapist in Palatine, IL, before decided whether this therapy is right for you.
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