Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the most popular ways to treat menopause symptoms, including mood swings, night sweats, and hot flashes. HRT helps these symptoms by replacing the estrogen hormone that isn’t being produced as efficiently in your body during menopause as it was when you were younger. There are many different types of HRT; in order to determine which one might be best for you, you should consult with your doctor to find out more about the different options available to you.
For many women, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) provides relief from menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. In fact, nearly all women experience these symptoms during menopause.
For others, estrogen helps with vaginal dryness, itching, and other uncomfortable symptoms. However, there are risks associated with taking ERT—especially if it’s taken over a long period of time or in higher doses than recommended.
To know if hormone replacement therapy is right for you, it’s essential to understand how it works and whether there are other viable treatment options.
Here are five signs that may indicate it’s time to discuss your symptoms with your doctor:
That said, hormone replacement therapy offers no protection against memory loss and cognitive impairment that occurs as a result of normal aging, nor can it treat Alzheimer's disease or dementia. But for women dealing with stress and anxiety in menopause, hormone replacement therapy may be a safer alternative to prescription antidepressants.
Side effects Contradictory results are emerging about the safety of hormone replacement therapy (ERT). A large study in 2002 found that women who take hormones had an increased risk of breast cancer and stroke compared to women who did not take hormones, while other studies revealed no increased risk of breast cancer.
Hormone replacement therapy may cause side effects. Notify your doctor if any of these symptoms are extreme or do not go away:
Suddenly, hot flashes (the really annoying kind) will be a thing of your past. A side effect that comes with estrogen therapy is an increased risk of blood clots.
That's because estrogen also acts as a blood thinner, allowing more room for clots to form in your bloodstream. This isn't something to be overly concerned about—especially if you're having hot flashes—but it's something to pay attention to.
If you have concerns, speak with your doctor about alternatives like progesterone-only hormone replacement therapy. Unfortunately, most doctors say not to take HRT unless there are specific symptoms (like night sweats or bone loss) that warrant treatment.
Before taking HRT, make sure you've tried other treatments first; we recommend doing some research online and speaking with your doctor. Once you get approval from both parties, begin with low doses and work up from there to avoid any problems before they occur.
For example: Start out on 0.3 milligrams of bioidentical progesterone cream and gradually increase every few days until finding what works best for you (usually between 2–3 milligrams per day).
One popular method is two pills each morning followed by two pills at night; aim for 0.625 milligrams/per day while keeping in mind that stress levels can affect how much you'll need to go by how your body feels overall rather than just dosage amounts listed on websites/in books. Another way is to use Lab Me's crucial female hormone test which you can perform at-home and tests not only the crucial hormones involved in ERT but cortisol as well. Cortisol is a key player in monitoring your stress levels.
After roughly four weeks, lower your dose back down to where you were initially and stay here for several months before moving forward again. You may notice improvements within one month but often take around three months of consistent use before noticing a dramatic change in menopausal symptoms.
The good news is these symptoms don’t last forever!
You should see improvement anywhere from six months to one year after beginning HRT but almost always sees an end (at least temporarily) within three years. Typically, changes seen through estradiol therapy vary widely among women—which means there’s no right way of going about things when it comes to hormone replacement therapy!
Some may feel relief within several weeks while others might wait months depending on how severe their original menopausal symptoms were. But even if you feel nothing, continue using ERT for as long as your doctor recommends. There are many benefits to long-term HRT, such as a reduced risk of heart disease, improved memory function, and lower chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
Studies have shown that those who take estrogen for 10 years gain longer life expectancy than those who do not; however, remember that reducing your risks doesn't mean you'll live longer – despite everything studies tell us – it only reduces your chances.
The positive effects of hormones can stop abruptly once you stop them altogether; because of how quickly they leave your system, it's hard to determine whether or not they were actually effective without participating in long-term tests.
Side effects may occur while taking ERT and vary depending on your body’s response to hormone replacement therapy.
It’s also important to note that Estrogen should not be used as birth control and can make your periods heavier and more painful. Women using long-term estrogen replacement therapies may need periodic cervical smears if menstruation has stopped.
Monitoring progress should be the cornerstone of any hormone replacement. You can easily. take control of this into your own hands using Lab Me's at-home hormone tests.
Women who are planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding should not take hormone replacement therapy.
Patients taking anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin), may need to change their dosage while on HRT. Patients with breast cancer and women with a history of uterine cancer should avoid HRT because it can cause cancer to grow more quickly.
Women who have had strokes or blood clots in their legs should not take estrogen without first talking to their doctor. Women who have had strokes or blood clots in their legs should not take estrogen without first talking to their doctor. If you develop any unusual vaginal bleeding contact your doctor immediately.
You shouldn't use menopausal hormone therapy if you:
It may be tempting to dismiss hormone replacement therapy (also known as HRT) as a treatment option, but it offers some substantial health benefits.
ERT increases bone density by preventing bone loss; it can also improve cardiovascular health, according to a 2011 review published in Menopause, a journal of The North American Menopause Society.
In addition, menopausal women who receive hormone replacement therapy have lower incidences of coronary heart disease and osteoporosis compared with women who don't receive treatment. It's important to note that not all women are good candidates for ERT. Women over 65 years old should discuss their options with their physician before taking ERT.
Additionally, ERT is recommended for postmenopausal women whose ovaries were surgically removed or destroyed due to cancer or benign tumors. Certain medications—including statins and warfarin—may interact with estrogen and increase certain risks associated with taking ERT. If you're on one of these medications, talk to your doctor about whether HRT is right for you.
Otherwise, ask your doctor if he/she thinks you would benefit from receiving hormone replacement therapy during perimenopause or after menopause has begun. Your doctor might suggest beginning therapy early in perimenopause, so you'll avoid entering into menopause without undergoing hormonal changes.
This might help prevent hot flashes and other symptoms that occur during menopause. Ask your doctor what type of ERT is best for you based on your body type, overall health status, and medical history. Not every hormone regimen works well for every woman – even though they are produced under exacting standards – so there’s no guarantee any, one pill will work well for everyone.