Hormone Replacement Therapy
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy and what are a few reasons to consider it
Hormone replacement therapy is a form of hormonal therapy used to treat the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances or hormonal deficiencies. In addition to that they are used during the natural aging process including menopause and perimenopause. Commonly two types of hormones are used to treat the symptoms of menopause and its related conditions: Estrogen and Progesterone. However other hormones are also available including Testosterone, DHEA, Cortisol, Thyroid hormones among others.
In simple terms Estrogen therapy means, the unopposed used of estrogen containing products prescribed by a physician for post menopausal patients who have a history of a hysterectomy (Absence of an uterus). For example patients going through a surgical menopause (patients who had their uterus and ovaries removed) are candidates for Hormone Replacement Therapy consisting of Estrogen only methods. To prevent cancer of the uterus, Estrogen only methods are not typically used on patients who still have a uterus or have a history of other estrogen dependent cancers.
Progesterone Therapy means the unopposed use of progesterone containing products typically prescribed for women who cannot tolerate the side effects of estrogen products by itself or have medical conditions or certain types of cancers that prevent the use of any estrogen containing hormone therapy.
The FDA uses the terminology Estrogen Therapy or ET for products available in the USA that containestrogen only and they use the name Hormone Therapy or HT for products containing Estrogen AND Progesterone.
When you use either hormone method for any menopause symptoms (Estrogen Therapy or Hormone Therapy), proper determination of a woman’s risk factors versus benefits should be evaluated and determined before beginning therapy.
Types of Estrogens
Different types of estrogen exists and they can be divided in the following types:
- Human estrogens ( Estrogens produced by the human body)
- Non Human estrogens (Conjugated Estrogens or a mixture of estrogens)
- Synthetic Estrogens (Esterified estrogens and Synthetic Estrogens)
- Plant Based Estrogen (Phytoestrogens or non prescribed estrogens)
- Bio identical estrogen (hormones matching the chemical structure of your natural hormones )
If you for example are considering using Hormone Replacement Therapy you have to make sure to discuss first with your doctor the options available and how hormones can interact with each other or with other medications. Using Hormone Replacement therapy without any type of hormonal testing before therapy is initiated or any type of follow up is not the gold standard AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED.
Reasons to Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy
You have many reasons to consider using Hormone replacement therapy. Is up to you to decide if you want to use them for the treatment of menopause related symptoms and/or disease prevention.
A risk and benefit assessment should always be discussed with your health provider first. A few reasons to to consider hormone therapy or bioidentical hormones are the following:
- Osteoporosis prevention
- Relief of Menopause symptoms ( Hot flashes, Night Sweats, Mood swings)
- Hormone balancing
- Low Libido
- Decrease in vaginal dryness
- Recurrent Bladder infections
- Cognitive Function
- DNA repair
- Cardiovascular effects of estrogen
- Decreased risks of certain cancers
Who should not use Hormone Replacement Therapy ?
Even though Hormone Replacement therapy has many health benefits, some patients are not candidates to use this type of hormone therapy. Some women taking synthetic hormones are sometimes unable to tolerate side effects caused by the hormones or some women might have medical conditions that prevent them from using hormones in the first place. Patient who should not use Hormone Replacement are the following:
- Unexplained vaginal or uterine bleeding
- Previous history of estrogen positive breast cancer
- Underlying uncontrolled cardiovascular disease
- Previous history of venous thromboembolism and lung thrombosis
- History of vascular strokes
- Uncontrolled Hypertension
- Suspected pregnancy
- Active liver disease
- Endometrial cancer
At Texas Menopause we can discuss if Hormone Therapy or Bioidentical Hormones are a good option for you or if alternatives are preferable.
Book an appointment and discuss Hormone Replacement Therapy