As you get older and approach menopause, your estrogen levels begin to decline. While this is a natural process, there are several symptoms and potential health issues associated with low estrogen. Hormone replacement therapy is recommended for some women to help manage common symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
Hormone replacement therapy may or may not be right for you depending on several factors like your age, menopause symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history. At Memorial Women’s Specialists in Houston, our OB/GYN team offers a range of gynecology, obstetrics, and women’s health services, including menopause treatment and hormone replacement therapy.
Do you need hormone replacement therapy?
Every woman is different, so there’s no “one size fits all” approach to managing menopause symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy can help ease menopause symptoms and prevent bone loss for some, but it can also have side effects, just like any medication.
If you have a family history and personal risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, osteoporosis, or certain types of cancer, your medical history will be taken into account to determine whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
That said, hormone replacement therapy can lower the risk of serious health risks like heart disease and stroke in women who go through menopause earlier than usual or have ovarian insufficiency or removal prior to age 40.
There are different types and delivery methods depending on your symptoms and health.
Types of hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is administered in pills, gels, creams, a vaginal ring, or a skin patch. Systemic estrogen is absorbed throughout the body and usually contains higher hormone doses than topical estrogen.
Vaginal options treat menopause symptoms like dryness, sexual discomfort, and urinary symptoms and usually contain lower hormone doses.
Some forms of hormone replacement therapy also combine estrogen and progestin.
The bottom line is that hormone replacement therapy and your menopause treatment plan should be customized to address your symptoms and overall health needs. Most women begin the journey toward menopause a few years before their last menstrual cycle (known as perimenopause).
Your symptoms will most likely change and become more or less intense, and your treatment plan will adjust and change accordingly. If you’re experiencing moderate to severe hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal discomfort, painful intercourse, or other symptoms that seem out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to give us a call to discuss your options.
For more information about hormone replacement therapy and to find out if it’s right for you, contact Memorial Women’s Specialists today to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist at our office in Houston.