Hormone Therapy for Menopause

Lee Gynecology Offers Menopausal Hormone Therapy To Meet Your Needs.

Hormone therapy comes in many different forms. I have experience working with all of them.
– Dr. Michael J. Lee

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:

  • Pills
  • Skin patches
  • Gels and sprays applied to the skin

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.

How Do I Know Which Hormones are Right for Me?

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.

Benefits

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.

Risks

Hormone therapy can sometimes increase the risk of certain types of cancer or other conditions:

  • Uterine cancer
  • Small increase in risk for breast cancer
  • Small increase in risk for gallbladder disease
  • Small increase in risk for heart attack. Risk level depends on age, existing medical conditions and when hormone therapy begins.
  • Small increase in risk of stroke and deep vein thrombosis

Are There Other Medications or Therapies Available?

  • An antidepressant can be prescribed to help treat hot flashes.
  • An anti-seizure medication called gabapentin as well as a blood pressure medication (clonidine) may help reduce hot flashes and sleeping problems.
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulators can be prescribed for the relief of hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
  • Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants can relieve vaginal dryness, but they do not contain hormones and therefore don’t have an effect on the vagina’s thickness or elasticity.

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.

What About Plants and Herbal Supplements?

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.


Lee Gynecology Welcomes You!

…And don’t worry. We won’t limit the number of medical issues you can bring for evaluation at your appointment.

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