With few exceptions, nearly every woman will experience the hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms associated with menopause. Some of the most troublesome signs can be treated with what is termed “Hormone Replacement Therapy.”
“Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) generally involves estrogen and progesterone,” says McLeod OB/GYN Candice Greenan, MD. “Throughout most of a woman’s life, her ovaries produce these hormones. As she approaches menopause, less and less is produced. If she has had her ovaries removed, usually as part of a hysterectomy, her body no longer receives these hormones. As a result, women can experience menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and vaginal dryness.”
BENEFITS OF HRT
Clinical studies show that estrogen (with or without progestins) relieves severity of hot flashes, night sweats and sleep changes, while improving the quality of life in most women. Other positive effects of HRT are prevention of bone loss (osteoporosis) and improvements in intimacy. Every woman’s body is unique and, as a result, will react differently to dropping hormone levels or the addition of HRT.
Most Gynecologists will prescribe hormone replacement at the lowest effective does for the shortest period of time, due to the risks:
OTHER POSSIBLE MEDICATIONS FOR SYMPTOMS
In addition to Hormone Replacement Therapy, other medications can help battling the distressing symptoms of menopause:
Some women claim help from plants and herbs or so-called bioidenticals, hormones made from plants sources. One note of caution: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate these two treatments to ensure their safety and effectiveness for patients.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Each woman reacts differently to menopause and to the various treatments. Talk with your Gynecologist about your specific symptoms and their severity. Your physician will help clarify, which of the many treatments might be best for you.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, North American Menopause Society, National Institutes of Health