Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life. It does bring along symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings and irregular periods which can be quite frustrating. Hormone therapy is used to treat menopausal symptoms.
Understanding Hormone Therapy
Any therapy or medication cannot be started without consulting a doctor. Estrogen and progesterone are crucial hormones required for reproduction in women. Estrogen helps to release the eggs while progesterone helps to prepare the womb for the eggs. When women go through menopause, the egg supply starts decreasing therefore, leading to a drop in the estrogen levels too, and leading to the above-mentioned symptoms. Vaginal dryness can also be a strong indicator of menopause in women.
Your doctor will thoroughly examine you and prescribe the right hormone replacement therapy for you. If you have any medical conditions or are allergic to any type of medication, you might want to bring it to the notice of your doctor immediately. Hormone therapy or HRT as it is commonly called is not advisable for pregnant women.
Types of Hormonal Therapy
There are two types of hormonal therapy namely:
- Estrogen only therapy
- Combination therapy which is a combination of estrogen, progestin and progesterone
Estrogen therapy is prescribed to women who have undergone hysterectomy. It is usually taken in a low dosage and can be taken in the below forms:
- Estrogen patches – These can be placed on your abdomen and replaced after a few days
- Estrogen creams – These can help soak estrogen through your skin and into your bloodstream
- Estrogen pills – Pills need to be taken as per the prescribed dosage from the doctor
- Vaginal estrogen tablets or creams to control vaginal dryness
Combination therapy is advised to women who have not had hysterectomy, which is the removal of the uterus. These can be taken in the below forms:
- Intrauterine progestin – These are devices placed into the uterus to release synthetic progestin
- Oral progestin – Can be taken in the pill form.
Natural progesterone made from yam or soy is considered to be safe and without any side effects. All medications do come with certain side effects. In the case of HRT, some of the side effects could be:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Tenderness in the breast
These side effects might go away once your body gets used to the HRT medications. If they still persist, you might want to consult your doctor right away.
HRT medications need to be started with low dosages. You might even need to make some lifestyle changes in regard to your diet.