If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, you’re probably spending a lot of time looking for ways to ease the discomfort. Most women experience a combination of common menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes, among many others. Not surprisingly, they can really disrupt your life.
You may have wondered if hormone replacement therapy can help eliminate these symptoms. The simple answer is that it can, but it’s complicated. Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich of Weyhrich OBGYN in Boise, Idaho, explains how hormone replacement therapy can help.
The symptoms of menopause
Many of the symptoms that we often attribute to menopause are actually caused by perimenopause. Perimenopause is the period that usually lasts four years leading up to menopause. Menopause itself refers to the absence of your period for one full year.
The symptoms of perimenopause and menopause may include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Urinary urgency and frequency
- Mood changes, including depression and irritability
- Sleep problems, including insomnia
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex
Most of these symptoms are caused by the loss of estrogen, which begins to decline during the perimenopausal period. The lower your estrogen level gets, the more symptoms you’re likely to feel and the greater their severity.
What hormone replacement therapy can do
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can compensate for the missing estrogen's effects (and sometimes, progesterone).
The different forms of hormone replacement therapy include the following:
Systemic hormone therapy
Systemic estrogen can be delivered by pills, patches, rings, gels, creams, or creams. They usually contain a large dose of estrogen that can be absorbed by your entire body. They usually offer complete relief from most menopausal symptoms.
Low-dose hormone therapy
These lower-dose products are delivered vaginally through rings, tablets, or creams. These are usually prescribed if you need only a minimal dose of estrogen, so they’re best used for managing symptoms like urinary urgency or sexual problems.
After discussing your preferences and health history, you will determine your choice in consultation with Dr. Weyhrich.
Are there risks to hormone replacement therapy?
HRT requires some caution if you have symptoms or a family history of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. But for most people, HRT is more beneficial than harmful, especially if you begin taking it within 10 years of menopause or the age of 60.
You have other options besides traditional HRT, including bioidentical hormones, dietary and lifestyle changes, antidepressants, and others. Treating menopausal symptoms isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition.
Hormone replacement therapy can make you feel like you have a new lease on life. If you’re suffering and uncomfortable, please reach out to us; contact us by phone or request an appointment online.