Hormone Replacement Therapy
As we enter menopause, our estrogen levels fall. This leads to unwanted symptoms such as frequent hot flashes and vaginal dryness. At Women’s Health Medical Group, we can proscribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat these symptoms. It’s not right for every woman, but for some, it helps them deal with the changes brought on by menopause.
Estrogen comes in different forms. The daily pill and patch are the most popular, but there are other options.
- Estrogen pill — Pills are the most common estrogen option, and there are a variety of conjugated estrogens or estrogens-bazedoxifene. Most are taken once daily.
- Estrogen patch — These estrogen patches are worn on the skin of the abdomen. They may be replaced every few days or weekly.
- Topical estrogen — Creams, gels, and sprays are other estrogen delivery methods. Different brands are applied differently: to an arm, from the wrist to the shoulder, and even to the legs.
- Vaginal estrogen — Vaginal estrogen comes in a cream, vaginal ring, or vaginal estrogen tablets. These options are usually intended for women who have vaginal dryness, itching, or pain during intercourse.
This HRT combines doses of estrogen and progestin, which is the synthetic form of progesterone. Progesterone is found in many birth control options, but it can help with menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.
- Oral progestins — These pills can be natural or synthetic progesterone. Natural progesterone is now preferred by most doctors over synthetics. This is because natural progesterone doesn’t negatively impact the patient’s lipids and is a good choice for women with high cholesterol levels.
- Intrauterine progestin — These are not approved in the U.S., But low-dose IUDs are sold under the brand names Liletta, Kyleena, Mirena, and Skyla.
Are There Side Effects to Hormone Replacement Therapy
While most women are thrilled to reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, there are side effects of hormone replacement therapy:
- Breast swelling or tenderness
- Mood changes
- Vaginal bleeding
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