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Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Eliminate My Menopausal Symptoms?

 Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Eliminate My Menopausal Symptoms?

Estrogen is one of a collection of hormones that regulate sexual and reproductive development in women. The ovaries are the primary source, though the adrenal glands and fat cells make small amounts as well.

Estrogen is a workhorse. It not only regulates the menstrual cycle but impacts bone density, breast tissue, skin and hair, pelvic muscles, and organ systems such as the musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, and brain. In short, it’s important to your entire body.

Then menopause, marking the end of a woman’s ability to conceive, hits in mid-life. You experience a steep drop in estrogen and a related hormone, progesterone, bringing about unpleasant effects throughout your body. 

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) restores normal estrogen and progesterone levels, effectively rebalancing your body.

Board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Hany H Ahmed in Houston, Texas, understands how uncomfortable menopause can be for his patients. That’s why he offers HRT as a treatment option, so you can go back to living your life. Here, he details how HRT helps your menopause symptoms.

Perimenopause, menopause, and everything that changes

We often talk about menopause as a distinct episode, but the truth is it’s preceded by a years-long time called perimenopause, which is when you first experience the results of lower hormone levels. 

Perimenopause may start as early as your 30s or 40s, though it’s usually somewhere in your mid-40s. Menopause — the point at which you haven’t had a period for 12 months — occurs at an average age of 51 in the United States.

During perimenopause, you can experience a wide variety of symptoms:

Skipping periods during perimenopause is expected. Your period may skip a month and return or skip several months and then start regularly again for a few months. 

Despite irregular periods, you can still get pregnant, so if you’re not looking to increase your family, use some form of contraception.

The many benefits of hormone replacement therapy

There are two basic types of HRT:

1. Systemic hormone therapy

Systemic therapy targets the entire body, delivering relatively high doses of estrogen to boost all your systems. It comes in many forms: pill, patch, gel, ring, inserted pellet, creams, and sprays. It helps reduce (though maybe not eliminate) most common perimenopausal symptoms.

 

Systemic HRT slightly increases your risk of breast cancer and heart disease, so Dr. Ahmed generally prescribes it for the shortest period necessary.

HRT therapy helps:

And because it restores estrogen to the bodily symptoms that use it, HRT may also decrease your chances of developing a number of health conditions. HRT can:

Although we’ve mentioned increased risk of heart disease as one of the side effects of systemic HRT, in some women, it actually decreases the risk.

2. Low-dose hormone therapy

Low-dose products are topical creams, tablets, or rings applied to the vagina. Your body only absorbs small amounts of estrogen, decreasing the risks associated with systemic HRT.

However, these products only treat the vaginal and urinary symptoms of perimenopause, like dryness, laxity, and stress incontinence.

Are you struggling through the symptoms of perimenopause? Dr. Ahmed can help reduce them. 

Schedule a consultation to determine if hormone replacement therapy is right for you. Call the office or book online today.

 

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