Can Menopausal Symptoms be Helped with Hormone Therapy?

Can Menopausal Symptoms be Helped with Hormone Therapy?

by Yenny (SU)

Menopause is a normal result of aging in women and presents itself through a variety of symptoms. Many women experience only mild symptoms for short periods of time. Some hardly have any noticeable symptoms at all, while others suffer severe symptoms that affect their quality of life.

Many women do not need treatment for their menopause symptoms, as they might be mild, bearable, and disappear on their own. If not, talking to your doctor about treatment options and working together to find a plan that is right for you might be necessary.

Symptoms of Menopause

Hot flashes, night sweats, or insomnia are the most commonly reported and most uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. Other symptoms include:

·      Depression

·      Anxiety

·      Headaches

·      Memory loss

·      Fatigue

·      Low libido

·      Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)

·      Irritability or mood swings

·      Heart palpitations

·      Bone loss

Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Menopausal Discomfort

Your doctor is likely to recommend some lifestyle changes for a period of time before prescribing medications:

·      Keep your bedroom temperature cool.

·      Drink small amounts of cold water before bed.

·      Dress your bed in layers of bed linen and adjust them as needed.

·      Install a fan above your bed.

·      Dress yourself in layers, removing as needed.

·      Carry a portable fan.

·      Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine.

·      If you are a smoker, try to quit.

·      Maintain a healthy weight, as excess weight or obesity aggravates symptoms.

·      Yoga or other self-calming techniques like mindfulness meditation and tai chi may alleviate menopausal discomfort.

Hormone Therapy and Menopausal Symptoms

When nothing else works, hormone therapy might be the only option. Hormones are chemicals produced naturally by the body in glands like the pituitary, thyroid, or ovaries.

The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone. During menopause, the production of these hormones declines, causing menopausal symptoms. 

Hormones therapy (HT) is effective in reducing the frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms. HT aims to balance levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body and is considered the most efficient way to treat menopausal symptoms:

·      For vaginal dryness or painful intercourse, low doses of vaginal estrogen are prescribed.

·      Hot flashes require higher doses of estrogen therapy. Women who retain their uterus also need progestogen (progesterone or a similar product) to prevent cancer of the uterus. Five years or less is usually the recommended duration of use for this combined treatment (estrogen and progesterone).

·      Women who have had a hysterectomy can take estrogen alone, which has a higher level of safety and can be taken for longer periods of time.

·      Small amounts of testosterone may be added to the therapy. 

Hormone therapy takes many forms: transdermal, such as patches, gels, creams, and sprays applied topically, as well as rings, implants, and oral pills.

Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), conjugated estrogen, estradiol, and compounded or synthetic hormones are also forms of hormone therapy.

Your doctor will prescribe the lowest possible dosage of hormones for the shortest period of time possible, or until your symptoms subside. 

Hormone Therapy Risks

There are certain risks associated with the administration of HT. Age, personal and family medical history, and previous surgeries all have to be taken into account.

Both estrogen therapy (ET) and estrogen with progestogen therapy (EPT) increase the risk of strokes and blood clots in the legs and lungs. Although these risks increase with either type of HT, they are rare in the 50 to 59 age group.

With 5 or more years of continuous HT, there is an increased risk for breast cancer. This decreases after hormone therapy is stopped.

Increased risk of heart attack, gallbladder disease, and dementia have also been noted, as have tender breasts, spotting, renewed periods, cramping, or bloating.

Who Should Not Take Hormone Therapy?

Women who have experienced any of the following should not take hormones for menopausal symptoms:

·      Breast or uterine cancer

·      Stroke or heart attack

·      Family history of cardiovascular disease

·      History of blood clots

·      Previous vaginal bleeding or bleeding disorders

·      Liver disease

·      Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant

·      Allergic reactions to hormone medications

Deciding whether hormone therapy can help you through the menopausal transition is a complex and personal issue. If you suffer from menopausal symptoms and need help, call SynergenX Health today at (877) 915-2554 or request an appointment online. We have 10 offices in Texas and one in Illinois to serve you.