Why Hormone Replacement Therapy May Be the Best Solution for Managing Your Menopausal Symptoms

You may have recently entered menopause or be on the cusp of that stage of life. Some women have a smooth transition to menopause, but as your estrogen level drops, you may suffer with extreme hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, sleeping problems, and more. Dr. Andrew Krinsky, board-certified gynecologist and Certified Menopause Specialist through The North American Menopause Society, brings special expertise and knowledge to his patients in Tamarac, Florida, who are going through menopause. 

Menopausal symptoms can disrupt your life

Many jokes about women having hot flashes exist in popular culture, but actually having them is no joke. You feel a sudden rush of extreme heat in your chest and back that rises up to your head and neck, followed by flushing and sweating through your clothing. Hot flashes may drench your clothes and cause sweat to drip down your neck and back. Night sweats can soak the bed and upend your sleeping habits. 

Sometimes hot flashes diminish a few months after menopause, but they can last for more than a decade in many women. These symptoms can make everyday life more difficult and significantly impact your sexual activity and, ultimately, your intimate relationship. 

Lifestyle remedies may not work

Home remedies for these menopausal symptoms include avoiding caffeine, alcohol, hot drinks, and highly spiced foods; dressing in layers so you can remove outer layers; and doing deep-breathing exercises when the hot flashes begin. But do you really want to give up things you enjoy? Is there an alternative to giving up your morning coffee, forgoing wine tastings when you join friends at a winery, and heaping on pullover sweaters? 

Hormone replacement therapy is a good option for many women

It’s helpful to know what your options are when symptoms occur. Dr. Krinsky follows the menopause guidelines of the North American Menopause Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and The Endocrine Society; these professional medical societies agree that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a good option for relieving menopause symptoms in most healthy women who’ve recently entered menopause. 

Who can take hormone replacement therapy? 

Experts agree that HRT is a good option when you’re a healthy woman who has menopausal symptoms that disrupt your life, any time from the start of menopause up to a time period within 10 years. For example, if you enter menopause at age 52, HRT is an option up to around age 62. 

Research indicates that the most effective treatment for hot flashes and vaginal dryness is HRT. Dr. Krinksy reviews your medical history and decides whether you’re a good candidate for this therapy. If you are a candidate, and if you’ve had your uterus removed from a hysterectomy, you can take estrogen-only therapy. If you still have your uterus, Dr. Krinsky prescribes two hormones: estrogen plus progestin (an artificial form of progesterone). 

If your main symptom is vaginal dryness during intercourse, and if pharmacy lubricants don’t work for you, Dr. Krinsky may recommend a low dose of vaginal estrogen, which comes in different forms: a cream that you insert with an applicator, a pill you take by mouth, or a ring that’s inserted into your vagina. 

If you have other health risks such as blood clots, heart disease, or have already had breast or uterine cancer, he can prescribe other medications for you. 

How many years can I take hormone replacement therapy?

HRT is designed to ease menopausal symptoms and help you as your body makes a significant adjustment. It’s not meant as permanent medication. If you need to take estrogen and progesterone, the recommended length of time for this is a total of five years. The Women’s Health Initiative study, completed more than a decade ago, found that women who used only estrogen for an average of seven years didn’t increase their risk of breast cancer. 

Research on HRT 

Estrogen comes in various forms — for example, transdermal application with gels or patches applied to the skin. Studies on HRT indicate that transdermal therapy and low-dose estrogen pills may produce less risk of blood clots or strokes than standard doses of estrogen pills.

Estrogen and progesterone both slightly increase the risk of blood clots, just as birth control pills do, but the risk to 50- to 59-year-old women is extremely low. Millions of women have taken HRT to relieve debilitating menopausal symptoms. 

Call or book an appointment online with Andrew Krinsky, MD, FACOG, for expert, compassionate gynecological care.  

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