Many, if not most, women experience various physical and emotional symptoms during menopause, brought on by hormonal imbalance. Typically, women begin to experience menopausal symptoms in their mid-forties that may last two years or longer until menopause is completed, generally assessed by having gone twelve consecutive months without bleeding. In the past, hormone therapy has been seen to be the solution to the majority of these symptoms that may range from moderate to severe – even life-disrupting. If you are entering the menopausal stage of your life, maybe you’ve received conflicting advice on hormone therapy and its benefits and risks. To take, or not to take, is that your question?
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones produced by a woman’s ovaries. Hormone therapy is given to maintain the body with adequate levels of these substances when the ovaries no longer produce sufficient amounts. Lowered or fluctuating levels of these hormones can be the cause of menopausal symptoms, and low-dose hormone therapy may either reduce or stop these effects. Systemic therapy, hormone replacement in pill, patch, cream, or spray, is the most effective treatment in relieving the symptoms of menopause.
The risk of hormone therapy has many variables. At what age did the woman enter menopause, and what is her age now? What is the dose and type of estrogen? Are there other health risks involved such as cardiovascular disease or cancer risks? What is the family medical history? Each of these issues should be carefully considered when determining if hormone therapy is an option.
Benefits of hormone therapy may outweigh risks for women who experience moderate to severe menopause symptoms, but are otherwise healthy. And protective benefits of this type of therapy usually overshadow the risks when women reach menopause early.
Research hormone therapy for yourself and discuss your options with your doctor if you believe it could help you. Consider both sides of this emotional issue, and make your choice in your own best interest. As with many things in life, menopause and its symptoms, too, shall pass. So, whether you take, or don’t take, continue to live your life with passion, purpose and pleasure!
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Riverview Regional Medical Center
158 Hospital Drive
Carthage, TN 37030
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