A Comprehensive Guide to Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women

11 Oct 17

At Innovative Health and Wellness Center, we offer hormone replacement therapy for a variety of reasons. For our female patients, we most typically use it as a treatment of menopausal symptoms, as well as symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). You may have hesitations about hormone replacement therapy, but when administered properly and for the right reasons, it is perfectly safe and can be quite effective. Read on to learn more about hormone replacement therapy for women and how it may help you.

What is hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is a treatment that is used to address abnormal hormone levels. In women, this comes either in the form of estrogen therapy (ET) or estrogen with progesterone therapy (EPT).

Why hormone replacement therapy?

Estrogen and progesterone both play important roles in the body. In the reproductive system, together, the two hormones thicken the lining of the uterus to facilitate egg implantation. Estrogen also helps the body process calcium, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and aids in vaginal health.

When menopause begins, the amount of these two crucial hormones drops. This is what causes menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, pain with intercourse, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and vaginal dryness. It can also put you at greater risk of osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy supplements these hormones, easing menopausal symptoms and protecting against osteoporosis.

Additionally, hormone replacement therapy may be used to help women with polycystic ovarian syndrome to manage their symptoms. PCOS is a hormonal disorder experienced by women of reproductive age that can cause symptoms such as irregular menstrual periods, acne, and excess facial hair. Women with PCOS often come into our clinic for hormone replacement therapy to address their symptoms.

What is the difference between the different types of therapy?

Estrogen-only therapy, or ET, is prescribed for surgical menopause and provides the most relief from menopausal symptoms. Surgical menopause occurs when a woman has a hysterectomy and therefore, doesn’t have a uterus.

Estrogen-progesterone therapy (EPT) is a treatment that uses both estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is added in order to protect women with a uterus from endometrial cancer, as estrogen alone can cause it.

How do you take hormone replacement therapy?

In general, there are two ways to take hormone replacement therapy:

  • Systemic products: this type of treatment is goes through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. They can be given through oral pills, patches, gels, sprays, emulsions, or injections and are used to treat night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal symptoms, as well as combat osteoporosis.
  • Local products: in contrast, this type of treatment is only directed at a specific area of the body and come in the form of a cream, tablet or ring. In general, these are used to treat vaginal symptoms.

What are the benefits?

There are hundreds of research studies that suggest that systemic hormone replacement therapy is effective in treating vaginal dryness, hot flashes, bone loss, and night sweats, which can also lead to improved sleep, sex, and quality of life. HRT may be most effective for women who experience vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and night sweats.

Hormone replacement therapy may be able to help you with your symptoms. To find out more, contract Innovative Health and Wellness in Buckhead today.

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