Hormone replacement therapy is also known as menopausal or postmenopausal hormone therapy. It is one of the approved treatments for the relief of symptoms caused by menopause. Because of the lower levels of estrogen, many symptoms of menopause include sleep disturbances, hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Hormone therapy is medication that contains female hormones. It also can prevent bone loss and reduce fracture in menopausal women.
When talking to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy you will need to discuss the different types offered, the correct dosage, how long you will take medication and all the health risks, which could affect you. Also, discuss your individual symptoms with your doctor.
The two most popular types of hormone replacement therapy are systematic hormone therapy and low dose vaginal products. Systematic hormone therapy is systematic estrogen, meaning it goes throughout your entire body, which can come in the form of a pill, ring, gel, cream and is used to treat any common symptoms of menopause. Low-dose vaginal products can come in a tablet, ring or cream form and minimizes the amount of estrogen your body absorbs.
Some risks of hormone replacement therapy can include stroke, heart disease, breast cancer or blood clots. However, these risks depend on age, health history and type of hormone therapy.
Benefits can outweigh the risks if you’re healthy but suffer from moderate to severe hot flashes, need help preventing bone loss or fracture or experience early menopause.
Hormone therapy is also used in the LGBTQ+ population. If you are questioning your gender, consider an appointment with Carrie Thonen, APRN, with UofL Physicians – Urogynecology Associates.
Talk to your doctor about strategies to reduce risk, and if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.