Hormone replacement therapy is used to treat menopausal symptoms and protect long-term health. As with most medical procedures there are pros and cons. If you have been subjected to hormone replacement what does this mean for you in the long run?
A medication that contains hormones designed to substitute the hormones your body no longer manufactures is still a customary treatment to relieve menopausal symptoms including hot flashes. Hormone replacement therapy studies and clinical tests have found that in some patients, heart disease and dementia could be attacked using hormone replacements. Hormone therapy is still recommended to prevent health problems beyond memory loss and heart disease. Some of these include:
- Vaginal symptoms of dryness, itching, and discomfort during every day living as well as intercourse can be solved using systemic hormone therapy. This type of hormone therapy comes in pills, skin patches, sprays or cream delivery methods.
- The Food and Drug Administration still places a stamp of approval on estrogen replacement therapies for the prevention of bone-thinning diseases or osteoporosis although other medications have proven to be more effective.
- Low-dose vaginal products that come in cream or ring form effectively treat vaginal symptoms plus urinary tract problems. Low-dose therapies may not help with hot flashes or night sweats but are effective in treating vaginal dryness and discomfort.
- Hormone replacement reduces the incidences of osteoporosis, coronary heart disease and early death.
- Parkinson”s or Parkinsonism can be delayed or prevented in some patients.
- Anxiety and depression is often eased with hormone replacement therapy.
There are risks involved with hormone replacement therapy that might negate any benefits of this type of retreatment. These include the risk of heart disease, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancers. (Do note that women who experienced hysterectomies had no increase of these types of diseases when estrogen therapy was prescribed.)
Medications that contain estrogen plus progestin do make breasts feel and look dense on mammograms. This causes confusing diagnosis when searching for breast cancer. If you are being screened for cancer family history, estrogen replacement therapies as well as general health are taken into consideration.
Women with histories of breast or ovarian cancer, blood clots in the legs or lungs are not good candidates for hormone replacement therapies. Hormone replacements would actually cause these conditions to become much worse.
If you are taking hormones to replace those lost due to menopause, do determine with your doctor the best type for you. Pills, patches, gels, vaginal creams or slow-released suppositories are the most popular methods of delivery. Your doctor may determine that a low-dose vaginal cream or ring is a better choice than a skin patch or oral pill.
Use the lowest dose you can for the shortest amount of time. If you have lasting menopausal symptoms that cause your quality of life to be lowered, your doctor can recommend longer term treatments.
Make sure you do not miss yearly or semi-annually checkups. These checkups ensure you are doing well on your chosen hormone delivery method. Checkups will keep you aware of changes in your breasts or vagina and help prevent cancer.
Do make healthy lifestyle choices that include physical activity and exercise. Keep your weight at a healthy level, maintain the best diet you can, and don”t smoke. Drink alcohol on a limited basis and manage your stress levels. If you find that you cannot endure hormone replacement therapies, up your healthy lifestyle by not drinking caffeinated beverages and learn relaxation techniques. Work with your doctor and be informed about your choices.