Hormone Replacement Therapy
Many women facing menopause opt for hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. That’s because the hormonal shifts that occur at the end of your reproductive life (around age 50) can cause significant signs and symptoms that can drastically impact your quality of life.
HRT for Women
The benefits of hormone replacement therapy include that it can help relieve the following signs and symptoms of menopause and perimenopause:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings and irritability
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex
- Low libido
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Hormone replacement therapy may also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, uterine cancer, colon cancer, and heart disease – rates of which increase after menopause.
How HRT Works
As you age, your body slowly stops producing estrogen and progesterone. These are the hormones that thicken the walls of the uterus in the week following your period, which helps the body prepare for possible egg fertilization and pregnancy. The decrease of these important hormones is responsible for many symptoms of menopause.
Because estrogen and progesterone are valuable to a woman’s health, many women choose to replace these hormones during menopause using hormone replacement therapy. HRT may be administered in a variety of ways, including pill, patch, or cream. HRT provides menopause symptom relief and allows you to retain the health benefits of these vital hormones.
Estrogen, when taken alone, can relieve menopause symptoms and help prevent bone loss and fractures associated with osteoporosis. When taken with progesterone or progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone), this combined form of HRT allows the lining of the uterus to shed each month – but without the regular bleeding. This can help protect you against uterine cancer.
It is important to note that it may take several months after starting hormone replacement therapy to feel its full effects, as your hormone levels stabilize and symptoms begin to improve.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right for You?
HRT is considered safe and effective for most women who use it on a short-term basis to control their menopause symptoms. In most cases, this means using HRT for a few years, until menopause symptoms go away.
As is the case with any medication you take or medical procedure you undergo, there are risks involved with HRT. For example, women who smoke, have a family history of blood clots, or a medical history of any type of reproductive cancer (e.g., breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer) may be advised against taking HRT.
Ask your Women’s HealthFirst OB-GYN provider if you are a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy – and, if so, what type and dosage of HRT is right for you. Your provider may need to reevaluate your HRT needs at least once a year. In some cases, there may be nonhormonal therapies you can use to address menopause symptoms, either in place of or in addition to HRT.
Hormone Replacement Therapy in Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Barrington & Bartlett, IL
Curious about hormone replacement therapy and what it can do for you? Call Women’s HealthFirst in northwest suburban Chicago at (847) 808-8884 or request your appointment now.