Menopause is a normal biological stage in a woman’s life. Often referred to as the “change of life,” menopause means the end of your period and your ability to get pregnant.
Though part of your aging process, the road to menopause can be rocky. A decrease in estrogen and progesterone production are the driving forces behind menopause, including the physical and emotional turmoil that comes with it.
At Legacy Pain and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Trace Alexander provides hormone replacement therapy for women to ease their menopause symptoms. Menopause may be an expected part of your aging process, but there’s no need to let your symptoms dictate your life.
Here, we want to talk about hormone replacement therapy and how it can help you get through menopause.
Menopause and hormones
Estrogen and progesterone are female sex hormones that influence your menstrual cycle and support the health and wellness of your reproductive organs. You officially reach menopause after going one full year without your period.
Though you may reach menopause at any age, 52 is the average age of menopause for women in the United States. However, menopause doesn’t happen all at once.
Before you hit menopause, you go through a transitional period known as perimenopause, which can last months or years. During perimenopause, the production of estrogen and progesterone decreases, but in an irregular fashion.
The ups and downs of your hormones during perimenopause cause many of the symptoms associated with menopause, like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and irritablity. These hormonal fluctuations also cause an irregular menstrual cycle.
If you’re in the transitional stage and you have these types of menopausal symptoms that affect your quality of life, it may be time to consider hormone replacement therapy.
About hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is a medical treatment that eases your symptoms during perimenopause and menopause by restoring hormone balance. Hormone replacement therapy may include only estrogen or estrogen with progesterone.
Estrogen-only hormone therapy means you only get estrogen. This may be given as a pill, patch, or gel to ease menopause symptoms. For women who only have vaginal symptoms, estrogen may be given as a vaginal ring or cream that’s applied directly to the vaginal tissue.
Estrogen with progesterone
Women who still have their uterus benefit from hormone replacement therapy that includes estrogen and progesterone. Adding progesterone may lower your risk of uterine cancer.
Estrogen with progesterone hormone replacement therapy may be given as a pill you take by mouth or a tablet or cream you place in the vagina.
What to expect
The purpose of hormone replacement therapy is to alleviate your menopause symptoms. Though results vary, you may get relief from your hot flashes and night sweats and improvements in vaginal discomfort within a few weeks after starting therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy for menopause may also lower your risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease that weakens your bones, making them more susceptible to fractures. In addition to supporting reproductive health, estrogen also helps maintain bone health.
Without estrogen, bone loss outpaces bone growth which makes your bones weak. The estrogen in your hormone replacement therapy may protect against bone loss.
Though hormone replacement therapy helps many women who are experiencing uncomfortable menopausal symptoms, it’s not for everyone. If you have a history of breast or endometrial cancer, blood clots, stroke, or heart disease we may recommend alternative treatments to ease your symptoms.
Menopause symptoms vary in type and severity, but if your “change of life” is disrupting your life, then it may be time to consider hormone replacement therapy.
We can talk to you about your treatment options and help you decide if hormone replacement therapy is a good option for you. Make an appointment today by calling the office closest to you — we have offices in Plano and Addison, Texas — or clicking the “book online” button.