Women undergoing the menopausal phase often complain about the changes that accompany it. Hot flashes, dryness, discomfort, and a reduced interest in everyday activities are common symptoms of menopause.
These symptoms are often uncomfortable, and some women find it difficult to cope with the changes.
Hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy is an effective way to reduce the severity of these symptoms. It helps women keep their estrogen levels at normal levels and relieves them from the changes of menopause.
Here we will discuss the meaning of hormone therapy and understand its types to give you a better idea of the process.
What Is Hormone Therapy?
Most women stop getting their periods between the ages of 45 and 55. During this period, their bodies undergo several changes that are possible signs of the onset of menopause.
The transition phase comes with hot flashes, disturbed sleep, moodiness, painful intercourse, depression, and other symptoms.
The reason for these symptoms is a reduction in the production of estrogen and progesterone as your reproductive cycle comes to a halt. Your ovaries stop producing eggs, and it causes these hormones to stop their production as well.
Hormone therapy helps with the continuation of female hormone production, which helps women cope with menopause.
It alleviates the symptoms of menopause and also prevents certain age-related risks like osteoporosis, thinning of hair, mood swings, night sweats, and cognitive ability, among others.
Types Of Hormone Therapy
There are several types of hormone therapy that you can opt for, depending on what your doctor recommends.
It is essential to consult a certified professional medical practitioner for hormone therapy to understand the benefits and risks associated with it. These are the types of hormone therapy.
Continuous Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
The treatment involves a continuous dosage of estrogen and progesterone once a woman undergoes menopause. It is a postmenopausal therapy where the woman takes the dosage every day to maintain a hormonal balance in the body.
Cyclic Hormone Therapy
Women who still have their menstrual cycle but get symptoms of menopause can undergo cyclic HRT. There are two types of cyclic therapy depending on the regularity of the periods. Doctors recommend monthly HRT for women who get regular periods.
Women take estrogen every day and progesterone for the last two weeks of their period cycle. The other type involves taking HRT every three months in the same manner as the monthly HRT.
If a woman had her uterus and ovaries removed, she would only require estrogen to maintain hormonal balance in the body. In such cases, hysterectomy patients receive estrogen-only HRT.
It is a safer alternative compared to the other types as it is less risky for younger women in their postmenopausal stage.
Vaginally Administered Estrogen Therapy
The therapy involves the application of the estrogen hormone locally to the vaginal area to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
Additionally, it is an effective way to enhance sexual intercourse and prevent urinary tract infections, dryness, and irritation. It improves the quality of life for women with menopausal symptoms.
Different Ways of Taking Hormone Therapy
There are several ways of taking hormone replacement therapy. Some of them are mentioned below. Always consult a certified doctor who specializes in hormone therapy to understand which form of hormone therapy suits you better.
Skin patches are available for combined HRT and estrogen-only hormone therapy. Using skin patches can prevent certain side effects of the therapy. It works by sticking the patches to your skin and replacing them once every two or three days.
Your doctor surgically inserts pellet-like implants under your skin that have hormones in them. The implant consistently releases hormones into your system. It does not require replacement for several months.
If you have not undergone a hysterectomy, you will have to take progesterone separately. For this, you can have another implant known as an intrauterine system (IUS) that can last you up to 5 years.
It is one of the most convenient ways of taking hormone therapy. Tablets are available for combined, continuous, and estrogen-only HRT. Doctors usually suggest taking the pills once a day to manage menopausal symptoms.
Estrogen gels are similar to patches. You apply the gel to your skin once every day. If you have not had a hysterectomy, you will have to take progesterone in some form separately. It will reduce the risks associated with hormone therapy.
Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy comes with several benefits. It is essential to do proper research and consult a licensed medical practitioner before taking up the therapy.
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages is a crucial part of every treatment. Here are some of the benefits of hormone therapy.
- Relive hot flashes and night sweats with systematic estrogen therapy.
- Reduces health risks in women with premature menopause or those who have had a hysterectomy.
- It protects against diseases like osteoporosis and fractures.
- Effectively reduce the symptoms of menopause.
- Women with estrogen deficiency can also benefit from the therapy and prevent certain health conditions like dementia, mood swings, and heart disease, among others.
Who Should Not Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Although hormone therapy helps manage the symptoms of menopause, it is not a suitable option for certain people with specific conditions. Women with the following health conditions should avoid hormone therapy. Having a full-body check-up before undergoing the treatment is the best option to prevent any risks.
- Women with high blood pressure
- A history of stroke
- Had breast cancer
- Has liver disease
- Have a high concentration of triglycerides in the blood
- History of blood clots
- Women with heart disease
- Has or had gallbladder disease
Menopause is a natural way of slowing your system down and giving it a rest. However, it is accompanied by several discomforts that women find difficult to cope with, and hence hormone therapy is an effective way to manage its symptoms and effects.
With the help of a certified medical practitioner who specializes in hormone therapy, you can improve your quality of life and achieve your goals.