Hormone Therapy for Menopause: Is It Right for You?
Menopause is a significant change in a woman’s life that can bring some uncomfortable experiences. While some women navigate through menopause with relative ease, others may struggle when trying to adjust to the symptoms they’re dealing with.
For some women, hormone therapy for menopause is an applicable treatment option that allows them to maintain their quality of life by reducing the intensity of their symptoms.
If you’re considering HRT in Denver, read on to learn more about menopause and hormone therapy to determine whether it’s appropriate for your unique circumstances.
The Basics of Menopause
Menopause is characterized by the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months or longer, and it typically occurs in middle-aged women, those in their 40s or 50s. It can occur in younger women in some cases, especially following a hysterectomy or in situations in which early menopause is common in a family’s background.
Because menopause is a hormonal change that women experience, it is often accompanied by numerous other side effects, including:
- Irritability and mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping or increased fatigue
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Increased urgency to urinate
- Dry skin, eyes, or mouth
- Weight changes
- Thinning hair
- Breast tenderness
In addition, after menopause has occurred, women may experience issues related to the integrity of their bones, like increased brittleness or reduced bone density.
Hormone Therapy for Menopause
Every woman’s experience with menopause is unique, and while some have a relatively mild adjustment period, others deal with complex side effects and health risks. As such, some women seek medical intervention to slow the progression of menopause and ease the difficulties they have to contend with.
Hormone therapy is a popular treatment option for women going through menopause. Hormone therapy, or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), involves an individual receiving estrogen supplementation to replace the estrogen the body has stopped producing. Therapy may also be accompanied by progesterone or progestin to help balance hormone levels and reduce the risks of the uterine lining becoming thicker.
With the right dosage, patients can experience a decrease in the unpleasant effects menopause has created (ex: vaginal dryness, decreased libido, and urinary issues).
Hormonal supplements can be provided in the form of a pill, gel, cream, foam, patch, or ring. This therapy type is referred to as “systemic” hormone therapy, and it’s best for treating the common discomforts associated with menopause.
Patients may also appreciate a low-dose option that typically comes in vaginal products like creams, rings, or dissolvable tablets that specifically treat the vaginal and urinary issues of menopause.
The components of hormone replacement therapy may differ depending on the patient’s unique circumstances, but HRT for menopause may increase an individual’s risk of developing certain health issues. For example:
- Blood clots
- Heart Disease
- Breast cancer
Though these risks can be intimidating for patients, they should be carefully reviewed between the individual and their medical provider when discussing HRT options. It’s worth noting that the risks listed above vary depending on the following factors:
- Type of Therapy: The dose, hormone combination, and type of estrogen used can impact the patient’s risk levels.
- Patient’s Age: Women who receive their first HRT treatment more than 10 years after menopause are more at risk than women who start HRT either before 60 years of age or less than 10 years after the onset of menopause.
- Medical History: Personal and family histories with a history of cancer, heart disease, blood clots, liver disease, osteoporosis, and strokes are likely going to be more at risk than individuals with relatively healthy backgrounds.
The benefits outweigh the risks when the risks are adequately weighed, and the individual begins HRT with the correct hormone combination and dose. Effective HRT leads to the following outcomes:
- Reduced risk of developing colon cancer
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Improved mood
- Reduced risk of bone brittleness and osteoporosis
- Joint pain reduction
- Decreased tooth loss
- Reduced hot flashes
- Reduced vaginal dryness and urinary issues
Who Should Get HRT?
For women wondering whether HRT in Denver is right for them, let’s explore a few features that make a suitable candidate for hormone replacement therapy.
- Individuals who experience early menopause or live with some form of estrogen deficiency
- Individuals who are experiencing bone loss or are at risk for bone fractures (especially individuals who either cannot tolerate or see no benefit from bisphosphate treatment)
- Individuals who are dealing with several unpleasant symptoms of menopause, such as pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness, itching, or burning
- Individuals who experience moderate to severe hot flashes
Schedule an appointment with your medical provider if you’d like to learn more about hormone therapy in Denver. You can discuss your symptoms and ask questions about the options available to you. If needed, your doctor can refer you to a reputable Colorado hormone clinic for further evaluation and treatment.