Menopause is a significant time in a woman’s life because it marks the end of her reproductive cycle. As she transitions through this stage, her ovaries gradually cease functioning, leading to a significant drop in two crucial hormones — estrogen and progesterone.
Besides keeping the reproductive system healthy, these sex hormones are crucial to a woman’s health and psychological well-being. The resultant hormonal imbalance takes a toll on a woman’s body, subjecting her to a slew of uncomfortable symptoms and health conditions. Seeking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps restore balance and improve a woman’s health and quality of life.
What are Hormonal Imbalances in Women?
Women between the ages of 45 and 55 experience drastic hormonal imbalances as they go through menopause. During menopause, a woman’s reproductive cycle is gradually shutting down. As the ovaries dry up, they stop producing estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen helps keep the uterus lining and vaginal wall healthy, while progesterone helps prevent cell overgrowth in the uterine walls. The declining hormone levels elicit emotional and physiological changes that lower a woman’s health and quality of life.
Causes of Low Estrogen
While the most noticeable drops happen during menopause, estrogen levels vary throughout a woman’s life. Estrogen levels may vary due to pregnancy, obesity, puberty, and certain health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Symptoms of low estrogen levels include:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Breast lumps (noncancerous)
- Weight gain
- Low sex drive
- Dry skin
Causes of Low Progesterone
Besides menopause, progesterone levels may vary due to aging, miscarriage, or ovary infections.
Symptoms of progesterone deficiency include:
- Breast tenderness
- Vaginal dryness
- Abdominal pains
- Decreased sex drive
- Lean muscle loss
What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy is a medical intervention that provides relief to women experiencing a hormone-related condition or undergoing menopause. The procedure entails using exogenous estrogen and progesterone to supplement their declining levels.
Doctors prescribe the treatment to help women overcome the health issues triggered by waning estrogen and progesterone levels in the body. While the treatment is often prescribed to women going through menopause, age isn’t a factor. Women of all ages may use HRT to restore hormonal balance.
Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy
There are three types of HRT therapy, and the choice comes down to whether a woman’s womb is intact.
- Estrogen-only therapy (ET): The modality is recommended for women who’ve undergone a hysterectomy since there’s no risk of uterine cancer.
- Progesterone-only therapy (PT): Doctors recommend this option to women whose wombs are intact but don’t need estrogen or instances where estrogen is contraindicated.
- Combined estrogen-progesterone therapy (EPT): Doctors combine progesterone with estrogen when combating hormonal imbalances in women with healthy wombs. Estrogen may stimulate excess cell growth in the uterus lining, leading to uterine cancer. Progesterone protects the uterus lining thin and healthy and counteracts the effects of estrogen.
Estrogen is administered as tablets, transdermal patches, implants, estrogen spray, or gels. Progesterone is available as tablets, a releasing coil, or combined with estrogen in patches and tablets.
HRT Use Cases
Hormone replacement therapy has several use cases, all aimed at helping women overcome hormonal imbalances and improve their health and well-being.
- Alleviating menopausal symptoms: HRT helps alleviate uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness by reducing their frequency and intensity.
- Preventing bone loss: Waning estrogen levels weaken the bones, making women susceptible to fractures. HRT helps improve bone health and density to protect women from bone loss and osteoporosis.
- Protecting against heart disease: Women who undergo menopause before the age of 40 years have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. HRT helps boost estrogen levels, lowering their vulnerability to the heart condition.
- Gender-affirmation therapy: Transgender patients use HRT alongside other medical interventions when transitioning to their preferred gender.
- Maintaining muscle mass: Women experience sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass and strength, as they age. HRT can help them maintain their strength and muscles by increasing muscle protein production.
- Preventing dementia: Studies show that estrogen therapy can help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Alzheimer’s is the primary cause of dementia in senior citizens.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Benefits
Women who undergo hormone replacement therapy reap various benefits that improve their health and well-being, including:
- Diminished menopause symptoms
- Strong and healthy bones
- Improved sexual function
- Enhanced sex drive
- Better cardiovascular health
- Improved strength and mobility
- Better protection against dementia
- Lower risk of colorectal cancer
Common HRT Risks and Side Effects
As with any medical treatment, HRT has some risks and potential side effects.
Studies show that long-term use of HRT, over 8 years, increases the risk of:
- Heart attack
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
- Breast cancer
HRT Side Effects
Common HRT side effects include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Irregular spotting
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
Consulting a physician can help minimize the risks and side effects since they’re closely tied to the administration method.
HRT in Fort Worth with PeakPerfoMAX
PeakPerfoMAX offers innovative HRT treatment options in Fort Worth to help women improve their health and well-being. Our Forth Worth Hormone Replacement Therapy Center allows you to take charge of your life and rekindle the vitality of your younger days. Our skilled specialists combine an innovative approach with telemedicine to create custom treatment plans that suit your needs and complement your lifestyle.
Take charge of your life. Speak to a specialist at PeakPerfoMAX today!