For many women going through menopause, the body can no longer naturally produce female hormones (estrogen). As a result, women who lack estrogen may experience hot flashes and other undesirable menopause symptoms. To treat and reduce these symptoms, many doctors recommend hormone replacement therapy, which comes in the form of a medication, for those who are viable candidates.
Hormone Replacement Medication Options
There are several different options for hormone replacement medication, so it's important to meet with a doctor to determine which method is best for you. All of the medications available will help to boost estrogen levels in the body, which can help to reduce the occurrence of hot flashes and night sweats. Some of the more popular methods of hormone replacement therapy today include:
- systemic hormone therapy (pill, cream, or patch)
- lower dosage vaginal products (cream, tablet, or ring-form)
- estrogen-progesterone combination
Generally, systemic options are best for treating menopause symptoms, whereas low-dose vaginal products and estrogen-progesterone combinations may be better suited for treating urinary symptoms.
Weighing the Risks
Like any other medication, hormone replacement therapy medications come with the inherent risk of side effects. It's important to be aware of these potential risks and to talk your specific health risks over with your doctor before deciding to go through with treatment. Some of the most common side effects of hormone replacement therapy medications include:
- blood clots
- increased risk of breast cancer
- heart disease
Specifically, hormone therapy medications are known to make breasts appear more dense on mammogram readings, which can make the detection of possibly cancerous breast masses more difficult for doctors.
Are You a Viable Candidate?
Unfortunately, not all women going through menopause are ideal candidates for hormone replacement therapy. Specifically, your doctor will review your medical history and may consider you a viable candidate if you're in overall good health and experience some (or all) of the following symptoms:
- mild to severe hot flashes or night sweats occurring regularly
- you stopped having regular periods before the age of 40
- you haven't benefited from other hormone replacement options
- you went into menopause early or are showing signs of doing so
As you can see, there's a lot to consider when it comes to hormone replacement therapy as an option for managing your menopause symptoms. By keeping these considerations in mind and having an open discussion with your doctor, you'll ultimately be able to make the choice that's best for your health. Talk to your doctor, such as someone from Genemedics Health Institute, for more information.