THE AGING PROCESS
For women, menopause is a natural part of the aging process. Around age 45, your menstruation ceases and your ovaries decrease their production of estrogen and progesterone. These altered hormone levels produce changes throughout your body such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, and mood shifts.
One way to manage the symptoms of menopause is hormone replacement therapy: doses of estrogen and progesterone to replace the hormones your body is no longer making.
When Should I Get Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy is best for women who experience particularly severe menopausal symptoms, and especially women who undergo menopause before age 40. Estrogen helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer, and for women who undergo premature menopause, the protective effects of hormone replacement therapy can significantly improve the quality of life in old age.
However, if you have an underlying health condition such as blood clots in the legs or lungs, a stroke, liver disease, unexplained vaginal bleeding, or if you have or have previously had breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or endometrial cancer, you should avoid hormone replacement therapy. Also, if you start menopause after age 45 and aren’t concerned by your symptoms, you most likely don’t need hormone replacement to stay healthy.
Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy
The two main types of hormone replacement therapy are:
Systemic hormone therapy: This is the most effective, broad-spectrum form of therapy, and involves applying estrogen in the form of pills, skin patches, creams, gels, or spray foam.
Low-dose vaginal products: These products are specifically intended for the relief of vaginal symptoms and do not treat hot flashes or night sweats. They are applied vaginally via tablet, ring, or cream.
If you would like to explore the option of hormone replacement therapy, visit Dr. Anna Almonte. She’ll help you determine what kind of treatment you need for your menopause symptoms.