While menopause is a natural change in a woman’s life, it often causes uncomfortable and even debilitating symptoms. These symptoms can last many years and include hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, sleep disturbances and mood swings. Dealing with such symptoms daily and for such a long period of time can take its toll on your health and well-being. Luckily, you can find relief from menopause symptoms through hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Unfortunately, many women are skeptical regarding the safety or efficiency of HRT. While some concerns are warranted, the global consensus is that HRT is the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms and that its benefits outweigh the risks for most women. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of using HRT for menopause.

An Introduction to HRT

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT for short, is widely prescribed for menopause symptom relief. Menopause symptoms are the result of declining estrogen levels. HRT works by replacing some of this lost estrogen and, in this way, easing menopause symptoms.

HRT comes in two basic forms:

Estrogen therapy (ET)

Estrogen-only therapy is the first form of HRT. The treatment is currently being prescribed mostly to women who underwent a hysterectomy or don’t have a uterus for other reasons.

Estrogen-progesterone therapy (EPT)

Combined estrogen plus progesterone therapy is currently the most widely prescribed form of HRT for menopause. Adding progesterone helps protect women who still have their uterus from endometrial cancer.

In most cases, HRT is taken as oral medication (in pill form). But there are other ways to take HRT, including skin patches, vaginal suppositories, gel, injections and subdermal implants. There are also different forms of estrogens used in HRT, like animal-derived estrogens (conjugated estrogens), synthetic estrogens and plant-derived bioidentical estrogens.

Treatment with HRT is highly individualized, as every patient experiences menopause differently. Doctors give the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration to reduce the risk of adverse outcomes. It’s also best to start treatment at the beginning of menopause (usually ages 50 to 59) for the same reason. However, women who experience early menopause can start treatment sooner.

Benefits of HRT for Menopause

Menopause can be a difficult time for any woman. Between uncomfortable hot flashes and night sweats as well as mood changes and fatigue, the menopause transition may make it hard for you to function and feel good about yourself.

But you don’t have to suffer through uncomfortable menopause symptoms. HRT can help you enjoy this transitional stage in your life by:

  • Reducing hot flashes and night sweats
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Enhancing mood and lowering anxiety
  • Reducing vaginal dryness

Does HRT Reduce Disease Risk?

HRT may be protective against certain health conditions.

In the 1980s, HRT was FDA-approved not only for menopause symptom relief but also for the prevention of menopause-related health conditions, notably heart disease and osteoporosis.

After menopause, women are known to be at an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and urinary incontinence. Early observational studies have found that HRT seems to reduce a woman’s risk of these problems. As a result, the American College of Physicians developed the first guidelines in the 1990s for the use of HRT as preventative therapy.

The perspective on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has evolved significantly since the initial findings of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in the early 2000s, which had raised concerns about the risks associated with HRT, including an increased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular events and blood clots. More recent analyses and ongoing research have nuanced these views, especially for younger menopausal women and those who are in the early stages of menopause.

With our updated and better understanding of HRT, this treatment continues to be the mainstay for menopause symptom relief.

Risks of HRT for Menopause

While HRT has many upsides, it’s important to know about potential risks. Findings from the WHI have raised concerns about HRT safety. However, later re-analysis of the WHI and later studies found that the risks of HRT were overestimated and were mostly seen in women taking HRT later in life (10 years after menopause) and for a long time.

For women taking HRT early in their menopause transition and for a short period, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Nonetheless, adverse outcomes are possible and may include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots

There was previously an increased risk of endometrial cancer in women taking estrogen-only therapy; however, this has now been mitigated by prescribing combination therapy to women with an intact uterus.

What About Bioidentical Hormones for Menopause?

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is an alternative to traditional HRT. Traditional HRT is derived from the urine of pregnant mares. These are known as conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs). Some women may feel uncomfortable about this form of treatment because they are concerned about its safety or animal welfare. The same holds true for synthetic estrogens, which are also being widely prescribed.

If you want a more natural and humane alternative, BHRT is the way to go. Plant-based HRT is derived primarily from yams and is often prescribed as first-line therapy. The term “bioidentical” means that these hormones have the same molecular structure as your body’s hormones, making them both safe and highly effective.

Despite being derived from plants, studies show that BHRT effectively provides symptom relief and is safe and well tolerated.

Want to Experience the Benefits of BHRT?

At Broward ENT & Aesthetics, our goal is to offer our patients the best treatments available, which is why we offer BHRT. The BHRT provided at our practice comes in the form of subcutaneous pellets, which gradually release an optimal dose of hormones for three to six months. The type of hormone and dose given are individualized to each patient’s unique needs.

If you are interested in finding a safe, convenient and natural treatment for menopause symptoms, call 954-368-3348 or contact us online today! Your journey to symptom-free menopause starts here!

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