Is There an HRT Therapy Right for Me?
Women who undergo menopause naturally or surgically usually choose some sort of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The reproductive hormones are produced in decreased amounts once the reproductive cycle of your life is over. HRT takes has many formulations so you can choose the one that works best for you.
Most hormone replacement therapy consists of a combination of estrogen and synthetic progesterone called progestins. For women who undergo menopause naturally, using estrogen alone can increase the risk of uterine cancer. This is not an issue for women who have undergone a hysterectomy. Progesterone protects the uterus and reduces the cancer risk.
The type of HRT that you take is up to you. After you decide on estrogen alone or estrogen with synthetic progesterone, the delivery of your HRT is the next question.
Progesterone (as progestin) is given for hormone replacement therapy in pill form. It can be taken with estrogen in pill form or on a schedule with estrogen that is given in another form. It is up to the doctor and you as to the type of schedule your hormone replacement therapy will follow.
When progesterone is combined with estrogen it can be given as a patch. It is similar to a birth control patch in its delivery of the hormones but needs to be changed on a different schedule.
The decrease in estrogen production leads to many of the symptoms that women feel during menopause. The one most often complained about is hot flashes. Replenishing that estrogen can alleviate hot flashes and other symptoms like vaginal dryness.
Estrogen can be combined with progesterone and taken on a daily basis for HRT. Because you are taking a steady dose of these reproductive hormones, there is a chance of bleeding each month. Until you pass from perimenopause into a total menopausal state, bleeding on a schedule is usually preferred to unexpected bleeding.
As mentioned above, patches can be used to deliver hormones into your system when the body stops producing them naturally. A patch is affixed to the skin to deliver the dose of hormone needed. With an estrogen patch you will change it once or twice a week. Patches also control your hot flashes.
Estrogen hormone can be delivered to your system via vaginal devices. You can choose from vaginal rings, vaginal creams and vaginal tablets. Each serves a twofold purpose. The estrogen dose reduces your hot flashes and solves the problem of vaginal dryness. The vaginal ring is used for twelve weeks and then changed either by your doctor or you can do it yourself.
For many women, the resulting symptoms of menopause are hard to deal with. Hormone replacement therapy is preferable to hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness and irritability. When choosing to use HRT, find a method of hormone delivery that works for your lifestyle.