Menopause and the years leading up to menopause are a scary hormone roller coaster for most women. The classic symptom everyone thinks of is hot flashes, but the effects of these hormone changes, unfortunately, do not stop there. Women can experience physical changes in their skin, joints, breasts, urinary tract, and vaginal areas. Psychological effects are common too including mood swings, insomnia, decreased libido, and memory issues.
So it’s no wonder women are looking for remedies to get them through this time. Although there may be some band-aids like anti-depressants or lubricants which can provide some relief, it makes sense to go to the root cause- hormone imbalances, to fix the problem. We posted a review of herbs that can help with hormone imbalance on our blog last week. We will now be taking this a step further and discussing prescription hormone replacement.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Hormone replacement therapy is a complex topic that has been very polarizing for patients and physicians alike. The simple fact is that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can provide a very effective treatment for many uncomfortable symptoms related to perimenopause and/or menopause but that it does come with risks. There are some women in whom the benefit of HRT likely does not outweigh the risks, such as those with a history of blood clots or those that currently have estrogen-dependent cancers. Luckily, that is not the majority of women. Most women have the opportunity to use HRT for relief. Like any substance we add to our body - from food to herbs to medicine to hormones, there are cascade effects and some of those can lead to known risks. Therefore the decision to use or not to use HRT is a very personal decision. After all, if you happen to be that rare woman that cruises through the hell of perimenopause unscathed then you probably do not need to read further. However, if you are over the age of 45 and find yourself wondering why your body has turned on you, you might want to keep reading!
The decision to use HRT or not should include an in-depth conversation with your doctor where BOTH the benefits and risks are discussed. Above all else, you should feel that your feelings are heard and respected. In our three-part series, we aim to help cut through all the information out there so that you can make the most informed choice as possible.
Part 1: Bioidentical Hormones versus Conventional Hormones (3/4/20)
Part 2: Estrogen and Progesterone, the Cornerstones of HRT (3/12/20)
Part 3: Compounded HRT versus Non-Compounded HRT (3/18/20)
We hope to bring you useful information that you can use in deciding what is right for you! As always we are available to discuss this with you one on one in the pharmacy! Stay tuned for more HRT information coming your way all next month!
By April Segal, PharmD, BCPS, APh
Remedy Pharmacist + Founder