Menopause is not known to be a comfortable transition — just like most transitions. However, some women have an extremely difficult time with it and may be searching for ways to lessen or alleviate the symptoms brought on by menopause. One such way is to seek out hormone replacement therapy and hormone treatments. Doctors commonly prescribe such treatments while a woman is going through menopause or post-menopause. There are a few different kinds of hormone replacement therapy and you should speak with your doctor to decide which kind might be right for you. If women undergo surgical menopause (such as having a hysterectomy), hormone replacement therapy and visiting a hormone treatment clinic may even be suggested by the woman’s doctor. However, women who have had breast cancer, are prone to blood clots, or who have had liver disease should be wary of seeking out hormone replacement therapy.
What Exactly Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy (often called HRT) is a method of boosting hormone levels in the body. Estrogen and progesterone are administered to women to combat the effects of menopause and/or aging. There are a few different ways to receive hormone replacement therapy. You can take a daily pill, wear a patch, or take it via a vaginal ring, gel, or spray, depending on the type being administered and what you’re comfortable with.
Many women with a history of osteoporosis in their family may also undergo HRT to reduce their risk and maintain their bone strength. Users of HRT should consult with their doctor yearly to weigh the effects and results of HRT and should be taken at the lowest dosage necessary for their body. It’s also generally suggested that women under the age of 60 start on hormone replacement therapy.
There are over 50 kinds of HRT on the market for women to choose from. For example, cyclical HRT follows the menstrual cycle; oestrogen is taken daily and progesterone for 12 to 14 days. There also bio-identical estrogens, which are 17 beta-estradiol, estrone, and estriol; estradiol is the type of estrogen that reduces its levels during menopause.
What Are Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, trouble sleeping, and mood swings can often be alleviated by taking HRT. Additionally, keeping your levels of estrogen up assists with processing calcium (good for strong bones!), can help keep your cholesterol at a healthy level, and keeps your vagina happy and healthy.
Some women also report an increased sex drive — or at least no decrease in sexual interest — when they take HRT, so older women looking to get a kick back into their sex life may also be interested in this.
HRT can make a big difference if you’re feeling quite acutely the discomfort of menopause, improving quality of life. Getting rid of mood swings and hot flashes and being able to fall asleep (and stay asleep) easily can have a huge impact on a person’s outlook on life.
What Should I Do If Considering Doing Hormone Replacement Therapy?
First and foremost, you should consult with your doctor and check your medical family history. If you’ve got a history of cancer or liver disease, for example, your doctor will probably caution against doing HRT. If you’re not experiencing any menopausal symptoms, you won’t need HRT.
Do your research — this is a big decision! What sounds right to you? Confer with your doctor on dosage and type of HRT treatment; with over 50 types to choose from, it can be a bit bewildering. See if your insurance will cover any; that can often help inform your decision.
If you know any other women on HRT, talk to them about their experience while on it. Firsthand experience can be incredibly valuable and you may be able to prepare better overall.
Don’t suffer through menopause to an unnecessary degree! Hormone replacement therapy can go a long way towards alleviating your symptoms and discomfort. Talk to your doctor for more information and in terms of what your options might look like, and then savor the results of a more comfortable transition!