For some, getting older is something to dread. Since we live in a world that is so focused on our appearances, getting older and aging isn’t always embraced with grace. However, there are plenty of medical options available that can help to prevent the signs of aging from wreaking havoc on your body, such as hormone replacement therapy, also known as HRT.
But before you invest in HRT, it is important for you to know exactly what this procedure is and how it can help you. The following are some commonly asked questions about hormone replacement therapy to help you determine if the process is right for you.
What is hormone replacement therapy?
HRT is a medical treatment that is meant to alleviate the symptoms of both perimenopause and menopause in women. This estrogen and progesterone treatment can come in the form of creams, pills, patches, or sprays, and can be used to alleviate symptoms that come with these conditions such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, urinary problems, thinning hair, moodiness, osteoporosis, memory difficulties and facial aging.
Why are these hormones important for the female body?
The two female hormones used in HRT are estrogen and progesterone, which are both needed for a healthy female reproductive system. Estrogen stimulates the release of a woman’s eggs from her ovaries, whereas progesterone prepares a woman’s uterus for proper egg implantation. However, these hormone levels will naturally decrease as a woman gets older, causing a variety of the symptoms listed above.
Once a woman goes through menopause, she will not be able to mensturate nor become pregnant. However, her hormone levels can still decline for a period of up to 10 years after fully going through menopause, meaning she can suffer from uncomfortable side effects. This is where HRT can help.
What types of hormone replacement therapy is there?
Depending on your health concerns and goals, there are different forms of HRT available. They are:
Low-dose hormone replacement therapy
As the most common form of HRT, this option is meant for women suffering from common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Used for women who have had a hysterectomy or their ovaries taken out, estrogen therapy can help women have the same levels of hormones than if they still had their uterus. Estrogen-only HRT is beneficial for those who do not need progesterone.
Bio-identical patches, creams, or vaginal rings
Unlike the other options, bioidentical hormones are exactly what they sound like. They are similar hormones compared to what the body makes naturally. These hormones will enter the body via the skin or the walls of the vagina, bypassing the liver in the process. Because they quickly enter the bloodstream, they offer less risks than other options.
Who should not use HRT?
While it is important to talk to your doctor before you start this treatment, you should know that HRT is not for everyone. If you have a history of heart disease, stroke, migraines, high blood pressure, or blood clots, HRT is not for you. In addition, this therapy should not be used by those who are pregnant or are looking to become pregnant.
How long does this therapy take?
This answer depends on your age and severity of your symptoms. Speaking to a doctor will be able to give you more insight into how long you should seek treatment for, but most women find they go through HRT for a year or more.
HRT can be an extremely beneficial treatment for women suffering from the painful symptoms of menopause. If you have more questions about how HRT can help you, speak to a doctor today.