Is hormone replacement therapy right for you? Keep reading to be enlightened.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Everything You Have to Know
1. What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment that replaces the hormones that the body is lacking or is no longer making.
There are two types of HRTs:
- Estrogen alone therapy (ET)
- Estrogen with progesterone therapy (EPT)
2. What Is Estrogen-Alone Therapy?
Estrogen alone therapy (ET) is a type of hormone replacement therapy that adds estrogen to a woman’s body.
Estrogen is known as the female sex hormone, and it plays an important role in a woman’s sexual and reproductive development. On top of that, it helps the body absorb calcium, regulates cholesterol levels, and helps maintain a healthy vagina.
ET is usually prescribed for women who have undergone a hysterectomy.
What is a hysterectomy? It is a surgical procedure that removes a woman’s uterus. It is sometimes called surgical menopause.
3. What Is Estrogen with Progesterone Therapy?
Estrogen with progesterone therapy (EPT) is a type of hormone replacement therapy that adds a combination of estrogen and progesterone to a woman’s body.
Progesterone is a sex hormone that is sometimes called the pregnancy hormone. It helps regulate the conditions in the uterus and prepares the body for pregnancy.
EPT is usually prescribed for women who still have a uterus and who are naturally experiencing symptoms of menopause.
4. What Are the Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
When menopause begins, a woman’s ovaries produce significantly less estrogen and progesterone. This leads to uncomfortable symptoms such as:
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during intercourse
- Hot flashes
- Night Sweats
- Changes in mood
- Problems in sleeping
Essentially, HRT makes up for the hormones lost due to menopause so it can help minimize or even relieve the symptoms listed above. It also minimizes risk against osteoporosis because it allows a woman’s body to process calcium efficiently.
5. What Are the Side Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
HRT is associated with the following side effects:
- Breast swelling
- Breast tenderness
- Fluid retention
The side effects can improve if you give it some time. Doctors may recommend sticking to the treatment for at least three months before making any changes.
6. What Are the Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Women who undergo HRT have an increased risk of:
- Urinary incontinence
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
For women who still have a uterus and are experiencing menopause naturally, ET can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus.
Estrogen promotes the growth of uterine cells and because the women have stopped menstruating, they have no means to shed their uterine lining. The thickening and overgrowth of the lining can lead to cancer.
There are also risks specific to EPT. Women who are undergoing EPT are more likely to experience vaginal bleeding, and they are more at risk for breast cancer.
A low-dose treatment is recommended to be able to get the most out of HRT while minimizing the risk factors.
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7. Who Are Candidates for Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Women who experience moderate to severe symptoms of menopause and who have a genetic predisposition for osteoporosis can consider HRT as a form of treatment.
8. Who Are Not Candidates for Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Women with the following conditions are not candidates for HRT:
- Breast cancer
- Has a history of blood clots
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
Women who are not experiencing symptoms of menopause or who are pregnant should be discouraged from HRT.
9. What Is the Treatment Like?
ET and EPT can come in the form of:
- A pill
- A patch
- Vaginal cream
- A vaginal ring
Some doctors prefer a low-dose transdermal patch because the hormones are sent directly into the bloodstream. This allows it to skip the liver and lowers the chances of metabolic problems.
10. When Should Women Begin Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Although menopause usually begins in your mid-forties to early fifties, many women experience severe and uncomfortable symptoms for two or three years. The onset and duration of menopause symptoms will vary among women.
If the menopause symptoms start interfering with the quality of your life, it may be time to consider HRT.
11. How Long Should the Treatment Last?
Women normally stop HRT after they stop experiencing the symptoms of menopause. This can last for 2-5 years after the onset of menopause.
While a low-dose treatment can be given for up to five years, doctors will usually recommend a shorter treatment period to limit the risk factors associated with HRT.
When it seems like the symptoms have gone, doctors will gradually decrease the HRT dosage to help the women transition out of HRT.
12. Where To Get Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Here at Midwest Urology, our doctors are equipped to perform Hormone Treatment Therapy through the treatments listed above.
We service midwest patients of Illinois. Our offices are located in Peoria, Illinois and Perkin, Illinois. Patients from other areas are accepted as well. Simply contact us at (309) 692-9898 for more details.
HRT was controversial two decades ago because it was marketed as a cure-all treatment. And while we’ve learned that it isn’t the case, it still an effective way of treating the symptoms of menopause.
If the symptoms of menopause are uncomfortable and keep you from living your ideal life, then maybe it’s time to consider HRT.
If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment for Hormone Replacement Therapy in Peoria, IL, call Midwest Uroligical Group at (309) 692-9898.