Reasons You Might Need Hormone Replacement Therapy
A 2002 study raised serious concerns about the use of hormone replacement therapy, causing about two in three women who were using it to stop.
The study showed that hormone replacement therapy contributed to medical conditions, including breast cancer, blood clots, stroke, and heart disease. While it was later discovered that the study had flaws, the use of hormone replacement therapy was seriously curtailed.
Before that, doctors prescribed hormone injections for years to treat menopausal symptoms and to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. So, what is hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
Is it the right treatment for menopause? If yes, for whom, and when?
Read on to know what this popular but controversial treatment is, the many reasons to try it, who should not try it, and how to get started.
What’s Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy helps relieve menopausal symptoms using estrogen and progesterone pills.
Since the treatment replaces the hormones your body is missing after menopause, it’s known to be one of the best remedies for these ailments:
- Mood swings
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Reduced sex drive
- Vaginal dryness
Reasons Why You Might Need Hormone Replacement Therapy
The following symptoms might be a warning sign that you need hormone injections, also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The beginning of menopause often leaves women having sleepless nights. This is sometimes due to hormone changes and sometimes due to night sweats.
Hormone replacement therapy sometimes can help treat sleeplessness.
Reduced Muscle Strength and Weight Gain
Losing muscle mass and gaining extra weight despite eating a healthy diet and working out? This could be a sign that you have hormone problems. Thus, hormone replacement therapy might help sort out your hormone issues.
Reduced Sexual Desire
Loss of estrogen can increase the risk of premature ovary failure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease in women.
As we age, it’s normal to have some decrease in sexual desire, but it shouldn’t disappear completely.
Menstrual Cycles Ending Gradually
This could also signal the start of menopause, which has risks like those associated with reduced sex drive.
If your family has a history of osteoporosis, hormone replacement therapy may help boost bone density. This is especially helpful for women older than 60.
Additionally, you might need hormone replacement therapy if some of your family members have had colon cancer.
But if your family has a history of other diseases, including some cancers, high blood pressure, or heart disease, HRT might not be right for you.
Based on your medical history, your doctor can determine whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
You may need HRT if you have serious menopause symptoms, including night sweats and hot flashes. These can cause significant medical problems, including insomnia, depression, and tiredness.
Hormone replacement therapy may help women with post-natal or premenstrual depression. It’s also been shown to greatly reduce signs of depression.
Changes in Mood
This hormone deficiency symptom can be very hard to diagnose and usually goes unreported by people. After all, they’re usually focused on the physical symptoms, rather than emotional changes.
But hormones are vitally important in regulating mental health. If you have irritability, mood swings, or depression, you may have irregular hormone levels.
Bending on the Back
Menopause results in loss of collagen. As you probably know, collagen is the protein that builds connective tissues.
Loss of collagen may cause fractures in discs located between the vertebrae. As a result, one may have the appearance of a hump or bending back.
Hormone replacement therapy prevents collagen loss and the heightened risk of fractures.
You Need Hormones to Feel Better
This is a perfectly legitimate reason to take hormones. Sometimes you can’t measure what makes you feel good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t real.
It’s vital to understand the risks associated with hormones though if you take them for this reason.
Some bad reasons to be on hormone replacement therapy include vaginal itchiness and dryness. These conditions are best treated with estrogen creams.
You should tolerate or treat irregular periods with birth control medication.
And please don’t try hormone replacement therapy because you believe it can prevent aging, cancer, or heart disease.
Early Menopause/Hysterectomy/Ovarian Dysfunction
If you underwent a hysterectomy before menopause, had menopause before turning 40, or had menopause before the age of 45 (e.g. through chemotherapy, ovarian removal, or through radiation), you might want to try hormone replacement therapy.
If your ovaries don’t work as expected–and thus unable to make essential hormones–then it might be a good idea to try HRT.
Who Shouldn’t Consider Hormone Injections?
Women who’ve got breast cancer or a history of it, endometrial cancer, stroke, blood clots in lungs or legs, or inexplicable vaginal bleeding shouldn’t take hormone injections.
If your menopause started after the age of 45, you don’t need HRT to stay healthy. You should instead consult your doctor about ways to decrease the risk of problems like heart disease and osteoporosis.
This could include medications and lifestyle changes other than HRT for long-term protection.
How to Get Started on Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you’re keen to get started on hormone replacement therapy, see your doctor.
After checking your symptoms, the doctor will discuss with you the types of hormone replacement therapy available.
If you’re a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy, your doctor will then get you started on a low hormone dose. It’s recommended that you get hormone injections for three months, after which you’ll know whether the treatment works or not.
Your progress will often be monitored in later appointments to rule out any troubling side effects.
Ready for Hormone Replacement Therapy?
As you can clearly see, while there are various symptoms of a lack of hormones, almost all of them might be wrongly credited to another health problem.
If you have any hormone deficiency symptom, be sure to set up a consultation with Core Medical Group and ask if you might need hormone injections.
Contact us today to book an appointment.