If you are a woman over 50, chances are you will be facing the hot flashes and various other symptoms of menopause. If you have thought about hormone replacement therapy as a possibility to gain some relief from the symptoms, you are not alone. This popular treatment option is not without risk, but the pros outweigh the cons in most cases. Although the general population’s risks are quite low, you should always discuss treatment options with your doctor to assess your situation. Consider these common questions many women have about hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy uses bioidentical hormones, which are identical in chemical and molecular structure to the hormones in your body, such as estrogen. The process uses these hormones to relieve the genitourinary symptoms, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness associated with menopause. Although various hormones and treatments are available, these are often the most effective.
In addition to gaining relief from the many menopausal symptoms that women face, there are bonuses—many women who use hormone replacement therapy benefit from a reduced risk of bone loss from osteoporosis. There is also evidence that women who undergo this therapy have a reduced risk of heart disease and colorectal cancer.
Even though hormone replacement therapy risks are minimal, there is a slight chance of higher risk for conditions like blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer. Some women have also had a slightly higher risk of heart disease, so it is always essential to discuss risks with your doctor.
Although there is no way to eliminate the risks of any therapy, there are a few ways to minimize them with hormone replacement therapy. For instance, deciding on the best way to introduce the hormones with your doctor is essential. Estrogen can be delivered via vaginal cream, gel, patch, or pill. Dosage varies with each method, but it is always best to take the lowest dose for the shortest period to minimize risk. Also, timing affects risk factors for heart disease. In women under 60, estrogen therapy often protects against heart disease, but in women over 60, it can increase the risk.
If you are struggling with deciding whether to undergo hormone replacement therapy or not, but have not been able to decide with your current doctor, the trusted medical professionals at Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville can help. Our doctors have the best interests of our patients in mind and can help you decide if this treatment is right for you. Reach out to us today for a consultation appointment.