For women, one of those experiences is menopause. Every woman will experience it when she reaches a certain age. What’s not guaranteed is how severely your body will react to it. It’s different from person to person. If you’re experiencing challenging symptoms on a daily basis because of menopause, you may be wondering what you can do for relief. Perhaps you’ve considered hormone replacement therapy. Here is what you should know about menopause and using hormone replacement therapy to counter its effects.
Menopause is the natural shift in hormone production that occurs in most women between the ages of 45 and 51. It can last anywhere from 7 to 14 years. During this time, periods stop and the ability to get pregnant ceases. Menopause officially begins 12 months after your last period. You’ll experience perimenopause, the precursor to full menopause, for several years which is when you’ll start to notice changes in your body, including perhaps some new symptoms. These changes are completely normal. However, just because they are normal doesn’t mean they can’t be significant. Many women find that their menopause symptoms often change their day to day lives.
Menopause brings a wide variety of symptoms with it. That’s because your hormones affect every aspect of your body. Every woman experiences menopause differently. Some have some mild changes that don’t cause much of an issue in daily life. Other women suffer significant symptoms that can be quite disruptive.
Some of the most commonly experienced symptoms include hot flashes (perhaps the most well-known symptom), night sweats, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, and frequent urination. These are just some of the changes you may begin to experience when perimenopause begins and you transition into menopause.
Following menopause, many of the more acute symptoms stop. For example, the hot flashes cease once hormone levels reach their new balance. Your sleep cycle should also return to a more manageable schedule. However, the end of menopause brings new concerns. For example, post-menopause health concerns can include vaginal dryness, lowered libido, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, dry skin, and an increased risk for both osteoporosis and heart disease.
Post-menopause health concerns are a different subject. They are inevitable and need to be managed accordingly with healthy lifestyle choices, especially when it comes to osteoporosis and heart disease. Sexual symptoms can also be managed with a variety of treatments. The symptoms of menopause itself, though, may be managed by hormone replacement therapy.
Because the symptoms of menopause are directly related to hormone levels like estrogen being depleted, it stands to reason that hormone replacement therapy may be the right solution for you. During this treatment, estrogen and sometimes progestin (a synthetic variant of the body’s progesterone) are administered in order to reduce the duration and intensity of menopause symptoms. Along with relief from hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings you may also benefit from an increased elasticity of your blood vessels, lowered risk of osteoporosis, improvement of glucose levels, decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, and decreased incidence of colon cancer.
This is a personal decision you need to make. Hormone replacement therapy can greatly shorten the duration of symptoms like hot flashes which can last for years on their own. Symptoms can also be made so mild that they can be ignored. Ultimately, you need to speak with your doctor about hormone replacement therapy to see if it’s right for you. While it is generally safe to use short-term, your doctor will alert you to any health issues you may have that can make you a poor candidate for hormone replacement therapy.
Menopause is often a difficult life experience for all women. Many changes occur in the body that can result in symptoms ranging from the mild to the more troubling. It only makes sense that you would look for any way possible to find some relief from the effects of menopause. Everyone’s body is different, so it’s difficult to offer a one size fits all solution. Hormone replacement therapy could be right for you, but there’s only one way to know for sure. You need to speak to your OBGYN about what your options are. If you’re concerned about navigating menopause and want to know what treatment options are available to you, book an appointment online with us today. The team at The Association for Women’s Health Care is dedicated to providing you with the cutting-edge treatments you need so you can lead a happy and healthy life.