Hormone replacement therapy is a medical treatment that women get to replenish estrogen and progesterone levels that have become too low. They use it to treat menopausal symptoms and issues like bone loss caused by low estrogen levels.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Warning Signs (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy isn’t right for everyone, but it does help some women deal with the symptoms of menopause.
The following are signs that you might need hormone replacement therapy:
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Vaginal dryness/pain during intercourse
- Low sex-drive/mood changes/irritability
- Sleep problems
- Bone loss
Hormone replacement therapy may also help with other illnesses caused by hormone insufficiency.
What May Cause Low Hormone Levels
Hormones naturally decrease as you become older. Certain disorders, however, can result in abnormally low levels of sex hormones, which may necessitate treatment. These are some of the conditions:
Menopause is a normal part of the aging process. It occurs when you haven’t had a period for a year and haven’t been pregnant, nursing, unwell, or using certain medications. The ovaries shrink and hormone levels fluctuate in the years leading up to menopause. Many women struggle with symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness as a result of this.
Surgical Removal of Ovaries
You may not have enough estrogen to protect against osteoporosis, dementia, heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, or mood disorders if your ovaries are removed before you turn 45. To avoid these problems, use HRT!
If you go through menopause before the age of 45, you might not have enough estrogen to safeguard your body. It’s really important that you avoid sickness, so you may need hormone replacement therapy and that’s okay.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
This is a condition in which the ovaries cease to function normally. If this happens before you turn the age of 45, you may be deficient in estrogen and require hormone replacement therapy. It’s just that simple.
Other Hormone Conditions
Other disorders that may be treated with hormone replacement therapy include breast cancer, infertility, and endometrial hyperplasia, which is the overgrowth of the uterine lining.
Is it safe?
Hormone therapy was once commonplace during menopause, but it may not be safe or appropriate for everyone, especially those with specific risk factors. Most doctors now agree that hormone therapy is safe to use for moderate-to-severe hot flashes and vaginal dryness up to the age of 59 years within 10 years of menopause, at the lowest feasible dosage, and for the shortest time possible.
Does HRT cause weight gain?
Some people worry that hormone therapy may cause them to gain weight, although there is no data to back this up. Weight gain that affects both women and men in their forties and fifties can be managed by eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise.
Types of HRT
Hormone therapy is delivered in a variety of ways, each of which provides distinct hormone combinations and dosages. Common types include:
Estrogen-only HRT: If a person’s uterus and ovaries have been removed, progesterone isn’t needed, thus a doctor may recommend this.
Cyclical, or sequential, HRT: If symptoms appear before menopause, this may be a useful alternative because the dosage can be adjusted to coincide with the menstrual cycle.
Continuous HRT: A doctor may prescribe a continuous estrogen and progesterone combination beyond menopause.
Local estrogen: Urogenital symptoms such as vaginal dryness and irritation can be relieved with vaginal pills, lotions, or rings.
Various lifestyle adjustments can help manage the symptoms of menopause. They include:
- Limit caffeine and alcohol and avoid spicy foods
- Quit smoking and exercise regularly
- Wear loose clothing
- Practice stress reduction techniques, (mindfulness, meditation, or yoga)
- Confiding in friends and family members about the experience
It’s also a good idea to inquire about hormone replacement therapy choices with your doctor. To aid with menopause symptoms, some women use ginseng, black cohosh, red clover, soy, or kava supplements. Note: Always speak to a doctor before using any supplements.