What is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)?
As you age, your body produces lower levels of hormones. This fluctuation in hormone levels results in the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause:
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness and itching
- Night sweats
- Pain during sexual intercourse
A doctor may prescribe hormones to replace the ones that your body no longer produces. This process is called hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.
Most women take a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen helps with the bothersome symptoms of menopause, and progesterone protects against uterine cancer and bone loss.
Types of HRT
HRT can be systemic or local. In systemic HRT, hormones travel through the bloodstream and can alleviate most of the symptoms of menopause. Systemic therapy delivers hormones to the body through pills, patches, sprays, pellets, gels, or injections.
Local HRT does not travel throughout the body and therefore creates fewer potential risks. For women who have only vaginal symptoms, local HRT administered by creams, rings, or vaginal tablets may provide relief.
Bioidentical hormones are derived from plant estrogens rather than synthetic materials. The FDA has approved several bioidentical preparations of progesterone and estradiol, a weak form of estrogen. However, to provide individualized therapy, hormones are often compounded (mixed together) by a specialized pharmacy. The FDA does not regulate compounded drugs, so it’s essential to have a reputable team to provide bioidentical HRT for you.
Potential Risks of HRT
There are several health issues associated with HRT. Most patients will not experience serious concerns, especially if the type of HRT they undergo is carefully chosen for them by an experienced, trustworthy doctor. Some potential risks include an increased chance of developing:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Blood clots
- Gall bladder disease
Who Should Not Use HRT?
Because of the potential risks, you should not undergo HRT if you have certain medical conditions, including a history of blood clots, heart disease, stroke, or hormone-fueled breast cancer. During your consultation, your doctor will review your health history to see if you are a good candidate for HRT.
Weighing the Risks and Benefits
Dominion Women’s Health clinicians will help you determine if HRT is a good option for you. They will fully examine you and measure your current hormone levels. Of course, your current symptoms and medical history will factor into the decision.
The amount of risk depends on the type of therapy, and the amount of time it is received. Most of the problems linked with HRT are caused by using it for a long time.
Use the lowest dosage of hormones that works for you to minimize risk and use it for the least amount of time needed.
Potential Side Effects of HRT
There are a few possible side effects of starting HRT, but these should be temporary and will diminish as your body adjusts to the increased hormones. Side effects may include:
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Breast soreness
- Blurry vision
- Vaginal bleeding
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about HRT and your best options, schedule an appointment at Dominion Women’s Health by calling our office at (804) 730-0800or contacting us online.
Nearly all women experience some discomforts during menopause, although not all will experience these the same way. Hormonal changes that occur during menopause can have life-changing effects that can alter the nature of relationships, emotions, and bodily functions. Often, these changes keep many from enjoying their lives as they did before. Fortunately, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can help relieve these symptoms. Here’s what to know about when you can benefit from this treatment option.
Hot Flashes and Other Menopausal Symptoms
Estrogen levels in a woman’s body decline sharply during the menopausal years, which can lead to emotional and mental discomfort. Moderate anxiety and depression are common, but when these symptoms are severe, it can take a toll on relationships, work, and the general ability to function daily. Hot flashes are one of the most severe symptoms of menopause. Intense feelings of warmth over the chest, neck, and face can occur regularly and unexpectedly. The increase in bodily heat can lead to extreme sweating, which often causes a significant drop in body temperature and subsequent chills.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones lose their density over time and become brittle, causing them to break easily. This is one of the more serious symptoms of menopause, and it rapidly gets worse once it starts. The weakness of the bones can cause them to bend over time, which can have devasting effects on posture. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can reverse this in many women or be used to keep this from happening in the first place if therapy begins early enough.
Woman reach their menopausal years at different ages, but symptoms usually begin between the years of 45 to 55. However, some women begin experiencing these symptoms during their 30s. Ovaries can stop making female hormones early in life and periods stop coming as a result. Premature menopause can be slowed down with hormone replacement therapy if treatment begins as soon as other symptoms start to manifest. The idea is to catch this issue before it becomes a problem that is less treatable later.
Loss of Sex Drive
If you experience a significant reduction in sex drive and it begins to adversely affect your relationship or marriage, hormone replacement is an option for you. This has to do with the steep reduction in the production of female hormones associated with sex drive. These include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. While men produce much more testosterone than women, it’s still the primary hormone for both sexes when it comes to libido.
Schedule a Consultation
It can be hard to know when it’s the right time to begin exploring hormone replacement therapy, but our team can help. To learn more, we invite you to contact DWH Health & Wellness MedSpa by calling or filling out our online form.
The United States has been using hormone therapy for multiple innovative purposes for years. In the US, it’s common to use hormones to reduce the appearance of aging. By contrast, in the UK, utilizing the anti-aging effects of hormone therapy is a fairly new concept. Many people don’t even know an anti-aging hormone therapy treatment is an option.
An Overview of Hormone Therapy
There isn’t any one type of hormone therapy. Many different programs and procedures have been developed to address a wide variety of hormonal issues. The best-known is hormone replacement therapy. This is most often used during menopause to help replace the body’s estrogen. Doing so counteracts hot flashes, loss of libido, mood swings, and other menopausal symptoms.
An anti-aging hormone therapy program is designed to correct hormonal imbalances. Proponents believe that hormone growth techniques can slow the aging process, boost energy levels, and increase both libido and overall sexual performance. The therapy is performed through the injection of bio-synthetic growth hormones.
The Statistics Behind Anti-Aging Hormones
Reports indicate that anti-aging hormone therapy has had positive results on the patients who have undergone it. These people have noticed better sex, improved sleep, boosted energy levels, and clearer skin. Durham University published a report in 2010 that showed a correlation between HRT and improved cognitive function in middle-aged women.
Even in the anti-aging niche, there are a variety of hormone treatments available. The recommended treatment will depend on the individual and the circumstances. Typical hormones include melatonin, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen.
Potential Health Dangers
It’s important to note that the benefits of hormone therapy have not been proven without a doubt. In addition, since the concept has only been in use for a few years, researchers are still gathering data about potential long-term problems. HRT has well-documented risks, but other hormone treatments have received scrutiny because of research showing they may increase a person’s chance of getting breast cancer.
The United States Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet approved hormone therapies for anti-aging. This means that scientists have been unable to provide evidence that the treatment can offer lasting benefits with low risks. Some experts point out that all hormones have been proven to have potential consequences. The procedure is still in the experimental stage, which means that it might cause harm without delivering results.
Balancing Hormones Naturally
Before you undergo any kind of hormone therapy, there are steps you can take to balance your hormones naturally.
- Engage in regular exercise. On top of making you feel good, exercise boosts HGH and testosterone levels.
- Reduce stress by introducing relaxing activities and self-care into your life.
- Eat nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. This helps boost your body’s hormone production. Melatonin levels can be boosted by rice, oats, bananas, onions, mint, and red wine.
For more information on hormone therapy and anti-aging treatments, contact DHW Health & Wellness Med Spa today.