What You Need To Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you are experiencing bothersome menopause symptoms, hormone therapy can help alleviate your symptoms. Hormone therapy Covington is a treatment that contains female hormones (estrogen) that your body stops producing during menopause. Specialists primarily use this treatment to relieve menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes, but it has also proven to prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. The following are the basic types of hormone therapy.
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Types of hormone therapy
Hormone therapy focuses on replacing the estrogen your body no longer produces as you reach menopause. The two main types include:
Systemic hormone therapy
Systemic estrogen or estrogen therapy is available in pills, rings, gels, sprays, cream, and skin patches. They have a higher dose of estrogen that the body absorbs. Pills are the most common type of systemic hormone therapy, and they have different dosing schedules. You may need to take estrogen pills once a day without food, but your doctor may give your other instructions.
For a patch, your doctor may advise that you wear it on the skin of your abdomen. Depending on the type of patch you use, you may need to replace it every few days or weekly. Some patches have a low dose of estrogen and are only used to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, but they don’t help with other menopausal symptoms.
Low-dose vaginal products
These include vaginal rings, creams, or tablets. They contain a lower dose of estrogen and are usually only helpful for vaginal and urinary symptoms of menopause. Your doctor may recommend vaginal estrogen if you have symptoms such as itchiness, vaginal dryness, and pain during sexual intercourse. The dosage varies depending on the product. For example, you may need to use tablets daily for a couple of weeks, after which you will use them twice a week. If you are using a vaginal ring, you may need to replace it after three months.
If you have your uterus in place, your doctor prescribes estrogen with progestin medication to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. Estrogen stimulates the growth of the uterine lining, which is why it isn’t safe if you have your uterus. Women who’ve undergone hysterectomy may not need to take progestin.
The risks of hormone therapy
While hormone therapy is an effective treatment for menopause symptoms, there are risks associated with this treatment. The estrogen-progestin pill can predispose you to serious health problems, including breast cancer, blood clots, heart disease, and stroke. Various factors such as hormone therapy, prescription period, dose and individual health status play a role in the risks.
For example, taking estrogen pills puts you at risk of endometrial cancer. Women who begin treatment at age 60 or ten years from menopause are more likely to develop the above conditions. The benefits outweigh the risks if you start treatment within ten years of menopause or before age 60. For this reason, specialists tailor treatment to meet each patient’s needs. The treatment is also reevaluated often to ensure the benefits outweigh the risks.
If you have further questions about hormone therapy, consult your doctor at Louisiana Heart and Vascular Institute.