Women’s Health: Hormone Replacement Therapy
What you should know about Hormone Replacement Therapy
When menstruation stops, menopause begins. Before this there is a transition often referred to as peri-menopause. During this transition and life stage, certain hormone levels decrease, setting off a plethora of possible symptoms. This hormone change can start in the early 40’s for some women. Most women—about 85%—have at least one symptom that negatively impacts daily functioning and quality of life. For some, these symptoms wreak endless havoc, disrupting every facet of life, work, relationships, and health.
What is hormone therapy?
Hormone replacement (or restoration) therapy (HRT) is the treatment option to relieve symptoms of menopause and improve or maintain quality of life.
Like the name says, HRT replaces hormones that reduce during peri-menopause and when menopause begins: estrogen, progesterone, etc. Because hormones control anxiety, appetite, body temperature, brain function, heart rate, metabolism, mood, sleep cycles, sexual function, stress, urination, and really everything, imbalances (too low or too high) can lead to uncomfortable (at best) and disruptive symptoms.
What are the signs that you need hormone replacement therapy?
If your quality of life is disrupted by symptoms of menopause, hormone replacement therapy may be appropriate for you.
You may not recognize your symptoms as being part of menopause; when you’re going through it, it can be hard to have perspective. Know there are treatment options and you can be helped.
Get evaluated if you are:
- Not sleeping well or at all
- Having hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Having joint, muscle, and/or body aches
- Hearing from friends and family that you’re acting or reacting unusually
- Feeling low in energy, or feeling like you can’t be as active as normal
- Feeling like you’re not as productive as normal
- Getting upset by things that would not normally upset you
- Feeling like you’re not in control of your body or emotions
- Having problems with memory, thinking, speaking, working
- Having discomfort with sexual activity
- Having any discomfort that is persistent and not resolving
- Wondering ‘why is this happening to me?’
What are the options for therapy?
To restore hormone balance or alleviate symptoms, there are many different options available. These can include herbal options, vitamins, or hormone therapy (single or combinations of hormones). There are also different ways to take them: creams, patches, capsules, and more.
When considering options, it is important to have an assessment to identify your individual benefits, risks, and goals of therapy. You can talk to your doctor, a naturopathic doctor or book an appointment with one of our pharmacists. They can validate your experience, evaluate your symptoms, and work with you to build a plan to help you improve your health.
These symptoms and more are common. But you do not need to tolerate them. We are here to help.
We have trained pharmacists to assist you in an evaluation of your symptoms, review your risks and help you set goals for your health. We also can offer hormone testing if required, if appropriate. As a compounding pharmacy, we are also able to customize your treatment to your individual and unique needs. If you are having symptoms and want to discuss options, please contact us for more information.