Hormone therapy can help relieve some symptoms associated with menopause and even perimenopause (the period shortly before a woman goes into menopause). Hormone therapy includes taking estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progestin. Systemic forms of hormone therapy include:
Systemic therapy occurs when estrogen or a combined hormone method is released into the bloodstream and then makes its way to particular organs or tissues. Local estrogen therapy is generally only prescribed for vaginal dryness and can be applied directly onto the vaginal tissue via a vaginal ring, tablet or cream.
Talk with Dr. Lee to decide which hormones are best for your unique medical situation. If you have never had a hysterectomy and still have your uterus, Dr. Lee may recommend a combined hormone method including both estrogen and progestin. When estrogen is used alone, it can cause the lining of the uterus to grow, increasing the risk of uterine cancer. Only a woman who has had their uterus removed is an estrogen-only candidates.
Systemic hormone therapy (estrogen-only and combined methods) has been proven to be the most effective treatment for relieving hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Systemic methods can also help to protect against the bone loss that typically occurs during early menopause. This may reduce the risk of hip and spine fractures. Combined estrogen and progestin therapy may also decrease the risk of colon cancer.
Hormone therapy can sometimes increase the risk of certain types of cancer or other conditions:
These products can restore moisture and the vagina’s natural acidity and can be used each time you have sexual intercourse or every 2 to 3 days as needed.
Soy, black cohosh, and Chinese herbal remedies have been used to relieve menopause symptoms. However, only a few of these plants and herbs have been studied for safety of ingestion and medical effectiveness. Because these substances are not regulated, there is no guarantee that they will work. If you do choose to ingest these substances, let Dr. Lee know.
Bioidentical hormones are those derived from plant sources and are commercially available for purchase. It’s important to know that these compounded preparations made by a pharmacist are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and therefore have no solid evidence that they are safer or more effective than traditional hormone therapy. In addition, they pose the same risks as traditional hormone therapy.
…And don’t worry. We won’t limit the number of medical issues you can bring for evaluation at your appointment.