How can hormone replacement therapy (HRT) help me to rekindle my vitality?
Going through menopause can not only wreak havoc on your emotions and mental well-being, but also cause several uncomfortable physical symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Calcium is even leached from your bones, making them weaker than before.
Hormone replacement therapy options are available for women in Nashville, TN that can help alleviate your symptoms. If the symptoms of menopause are negatively impacting your quality of life, we encourage you to talk with our practitioners at Jack & Jill Aesthetics to learn more about hormone replacement therapy and discuss whether it is a good option for you.
Can someone please explain menopause to me?
Menopause is the natural process that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and reproductive years as she ages. It typically starts at some point after a woman turns 40, but can occur earlier due to certain conditions or medical procedures such as chemotherapy or hysterectomy.
Several years before menopause begins, women generally begin to experience perimenopause, which is a time when their bodies gradually produce less estrogen. During the last one to two years, this estrogen drop becomes more dramatic and the negative symptoms of menopause typically become more pronounced. It is at this point that the woman’s body also stops releasing eggs and menstruation eventually ends.
The changing hormone levels—particularly the drop in estrogen production—in a woman’s body during this time can cause many uncomfortable side effects. Common menopause symptoms include:
- Irregular periods
- Weakening bones
- Hot flashes or chills
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort
- Itchy skin
- Less elastic, supple skin
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
How does hormone replacement therapy help?
Hormone replacement therapy in Nashville is one option for managing the symptoms of menopause. It works by using bioidentical hormones, or hormones that mimic the natural hormones in your body, to gently replace the balance of hormone levels and alleviate your symptoms. When used in the right dose for your body, hormone replacement therapy can be an effective hot flashes treatment, prevent weakening of bones, alleviate vaginal dryness, and minimize the other negative side effects of menopause.
What does hormone therapy for women involve?
There are two common categories of hormone replacement therapy that are typically used:
- Systemic hormone therapy
- Vaginal preparations
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How can I determine if hormone replacement therapy is right for me?
HRT in Nashville can have a number of benefits for women experiencing menopause, but it is important to work with a qualified professional to determine if it is the best option for you.
Good candidates for hormone replacement therapy are women who:
- Are experiencing severe menopausal symptoms
- Have bone loss and are unable to receive other treatments to minimize the risks of osteoporosis
- Started menopause or had their ovaries or uterus removed before the age of 40
Because estrogen plays an important role in your body, women who go through early menopause or have their ovaries and/or uterus surgically removed before the age of 45 can often benefit from estrogen therapy because it minimizes the risks that a long-term estrogen deficiency in your body can have, including anxiety, depression, osteoporosis, parkinsonism, heart disease, and early death.
What are the possible side effects?
It is important to note that hormone replacement therapy has several known risks and negative side effects, which is why it is important to discuss your individual symptoms and health with your doctor to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks. The risks of hormone replacement therapy include:
- Heart disease
- Blood clots
- Breast cancer
These risks vary depending on a woman’s age, when hormone replacement therapy is started in relation to menopause, the dose and type of hormones given, and other health factors.
In general, it is best to use hormone replacement therapy in the lowest dose possible and for the shortest amount of time needed to achieve relief from your symptoms. For example, women who are only suffering from one negative symptom, such as vaginal dryness, can use a low dose of estrogen in a suppository, ring, or vaginal cream instead of taking a systemic oral medication.
In addition, it is important to see your doctor for regular follow-up visits to make sure you still need to take hormone therapy and to screen for any negative side effects from the therapy. Making positive lifestyle changes such as eating healthfully and exercising regularly can also help reduce your chances of cardiovascular issues or other negative side effects.
What if hormone therapy isn’t right for me?
Because hormone therapy does have risks, it is not the right choice for everyone. For many women, the symptoms of menopause are not severe enough to dramatically impact their life, in which case hormone replacement therapy is typically not necessary.
Additionally, if you meet one or more of the following criteria, then we can recommend other options for managing your menopause symptoms:
- Previous history of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, or breast cancer
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding with an unexplained cause
- Prior stroke
- Liver disease
- History of blood clots in the lungs or legs
Women who started menopause after they turned 45 are also not likely to need hormone therapy due to the negative impact of long-term estrogen deficiency, and instead should talk to our doctor about how they can manage their risk of heart disease and osteoporosis with other types of therapies or lifestyle adjustments.
If you are experiencing skin-related issues due to menopause, we have a number of cosmetic treatments that can rejuvenate your skin and restore its youthful, supple appearance.