All About Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you’re experiencing menopause, you are probably familiar with hormone replacement therapy or HRT, which can be used to treat the symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats and sleep issues that can occur when estrogen, progesterone and other hormones drop off.
Hormones prescribed by your doctor to supplement the ones your body is no longer making, HRT often includes estrogen to help with hot flashes and vaginal dryness and sometimes progesterone to prevent bone loss. It may come in pill form, patches, creams, rings, sprays or gels.
“Hormone replacement therapy definitely isn’t for everyone, but it can provide relief from some of the strongest symptoms of menopause,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner. “If you have questions about whether it makes sense for you, we can discuss your personal history, the potential benefits and risks to help you make a more informed decision.”
You should not try HRT if you have had blood clots, heart issues, stroke, liver disease, vaginal bleeding, certain cancers or think you might be pregnant. Risks can include increased risk of breast cancer with long-term use, increased risk of stroke and blood clots, and increased risk of gallstones. Side effects may include breast soreness, nausea, bloating, spotting and dizziness. Women are typically encouraged to take the lowest dose of hormone therapy that works, for the shortest period of time needed.
In addition to treating menopause symptoms, hormone replacement therapy can also help improve mood and energy level, reduce risk of colon cancer and diabetes, and decrease tooth loss.