Hormone Replacement Therapy for Menopause: What are Your Options?

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycles stop. Roughly 12 months after a woman’s last period, she would start experiencing symptoms like moodiness, sleep disruption, hot flashes, anxiety, and depression. 

This doesn’t always happen, though. And despite the discomfort that comes with menopause, you can still continue to stay healthy and confident.

While it’s possible to manage your symptoms without treatment, experiencing severe pain could affect your quality of life. If these symptoms become unbearable, you can manage them through hormone replacement therapy for menopause. And you won’t have to worry about scheduling an in-person appointment because you can see a concierge doctor at your own convenience.

But is HRT right for you? Our blog will explore the HRT options available, and we’ll also be touching on its benefits and risks so you can make an informed choice.

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a type of treatment that can help balance estrogen and progesterone during or near menopause. When you reach menopause, you can no longer produce sufficient amounts of these hormones through your ovaries. Menopausal hormone therapy provides supplementary estrogen and progesterone to maintain hormonal balance.

In addition to this, hormone therapy provides relief for common menopause symptoms such as sweating and hot flashes. It also lowers your risk of getting osteoporosis and bone fractures. 

HRT is associated with a small increased risk in breast cancer, however. It could also make you more prone to blood clots, heart disease, or stroke. With that said, make sure you carefully weigh the pros and cons of this treatment option with the help of a medical professional.

What are the Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

HRT offers a number of benefits for post-menopausal women. It plays a big role in maintaining hormonal balance when you can no longer sufficiently produce hormones. 

Apart from this, it can also help you treat symptoms that accompany menopause such as:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Dryness in your vagina
  • Itching and dryness of the skin
  • Urinary problems
  • Moodiness
  • Thinning hair
  • Irregular sleeping patterns 

Moreover, research shows that hormone therapy offers these benefits:

  • Reduced risk of endometrial cancer
  • Reduced risk of colon cancer
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • Improved muscle and joint function
  • Improved mood and well-being
  • Lower mortality rates among young postmenopausal women

What are the Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Apart from the benefits, you also need to consider the risks of taking hormone replacement therapy. No treatment option is without risk, and knowing about them helps you decide if hormone therapy suits your needs. 

Studies show that hormone replacement therapy can increase your risk of getting the following health conditions:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Heart diseases
  • Dementia (for women ages 65 years and older)
  • Breast cancer
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

Is Hormone Therapy Right For Me?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Do you need hormone replacement therapy after menopause?” The answer depends on your age, health condition, medical history, and personal preferences. 

Most medical professionals agree that HRT is safe at the lowest dose that can help for the shortest time required. If you’re 59 or older, however, or have been on HRT for more than 5 years, you can talk to your doctor about getting off HRT. 

HRT may not be suitable for you if you are 60 years old and above because of the associated risks with this treatment. This is also applicable if you have a history with any of the conditions listed below:

  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver disease

What are the Types of HRT Available?

When choosing your ideal menopausal hormone therapy option, consider these factors: 

  • Your previous and current medical conditions
  • Other medications you’re taking on top of hormone therapy
  • The type of hormone you’ll take (estrogen-only or estrogen and progesterone)
  • Systemic or topical treatment

Just like with any other treatment plan, your hormone therapy plan should be tailored to your needs. In fact, it’ll be better if you receive ongoing assessments or get a second opinion to see if your current plan is working for you. 

To help you decide which option is best, we’ve listed the most common hormone replacement therapy options.

Combined Hormone Therapy

Combined hormone therapy is also known as Estrogen-Progesterone Therapy (EPT). Just as its name suggests, this option requires you to take both estrogen and progesterone or progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone). This type of therapy is recommended for women with an intact uterus because it can help balance your hormonal levels and reduce your risk of acquiring endometrial cancer.

How does it work? Taking estrogen alone without a balancing hormone increases your body’s estrogen levels. When this happens, it could thicken the lining in your uterus. This overgrowth of cells can lead to cancer in your uterine lining (also known as endometrial cancer). To make your uterine lining thinner, you’ll need to take progesterone along with estrogen.

Depending on your doctor’s advice, you can take the hormones in two ways:

  • Continuous – This means that you will take the same doses of progesterone and estrogen each day.
  • Cyclical/Sequential – This means that you will take different doses of progesterone and estrogen on a daily basis. The amount can vary depending on your body’s needs. 

Estrogen Therapy

Estrogen therapy is a safe option for women who’ve had their uterus removed through surgery (also known as a hysterectomy). You have the option to take estrogen alone without progesterone because high levels of estrogen no longer put you at risk of endometrial cancer.

Systemic Hormone Therapy

Systemic hormone therapy offers medication with a higher dosage of estrogen and progesterone. This type of therapy is effective in relieving menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. It’s available in the form of a pill, skin patch, gel, cream, and spray foam.

Topical Creams, Gels, & Sprays

If you suffer from vaginal or urinary symptoms, you can opt for topical creams, gels, or sprays instead. They contain small amounts of estrogen and progesterone, which can relieve external menopause symptoms such as dry or thinned vaginal tissues. You can apply it in or near the affected area with little to no adverse effects on your body. 

Find the Best Hormone Therapy Option With GeeVida Health

Menopause can cause a lot of changes in the body, and some symptoms can be more difficult to manage than others. HRT can help treat these symptoms using estrogen and progesterone.

However, just like with any other treatment option, it comes with risks related to a person’s age, health condition, and medical history. Make sure you consult your doctor to determine if HRT is right for you. 

GeeVida Health is a concierge medical provider that offers hormonal replacement therapy and other age management services. You can connect with our pool of medical professionals remotely through our online telehealth platform available 24/7. 
Explore our blog for more health tips and advice.