Hormone replacement therapy (now referred to as simply “hormone therapy”) is used to help treat the symptoms of menopause, perimenopause, or a hormone imbalance in a woman’s system. Many women complain of extreme hot flashes, night sweats, lack of libido, and moodiness at the onset of menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is used to help balance the hormones of a woman’s system so that she can have a more comfortable existence throughout her years in menopause. Not all women should undergo hormone therapy, and it is incredibly important to talk with a doctor about the benefits and risks of undergoing hormone therapy.
Hormone therapy is used to release hormones in a woman’s system the way that working ovaries release hormones in a woman who has not undergone menopause. Once a woman begins menopause, the body is no longer producing female hormones. This sudden stop of hormones that have, up until this point, been traveling through a woman’s system is quite dramatic. Vaginal dryness occurs in most women making sexual intercourse difficult and often painful. Hot flashes and night sweats make sleeping and wearing clothes almost unbearable, no matter what the temperature is in the house. And mood swings are often not understood and can cause once even-keeled women to become emotionally unstable and act very different than they used to.
The benefits of hormone therapy remain highly effective for relief of menopausal hot flashes and night sweats. Estrogen can ease vaginal symptoms of menopause – dryness, itching, burning, and discomfort during intercourse. Estrogen is also approved by the FDA as a preventative method of osteoporosis, which occurs in many women after menopause.
Women who are experiencing unwanted changes to their bodies and mental state during menopause should meet with their gynecologist to discuss hormone therapy options. For many women, the benefits of hormone therapy help them to have a higher quality of life throughout the years of menopause.
Posted on behalf of Carlos Alarcon, M.D., Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.