As women age and enter the highly dreaded years of menopause, the discussion of hormone therapy becomes more prevalent. As a young woman, your body regularly produces hormones and cycles them throughout your body. However, this process slows as women, and men, age. Thus, replacing the hormones that your body isn’t making as much of any longer is desirable for many.
Losses of estrogen and chemical imbalances are not only troublesome in a painful manner to a woman, her health is at risk as well. During menopause, women experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness and night sweats.
In addition to these cumbersome physical symptoms, women also become at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease attributed to the loss of bone mass. Millions suffer from the debilitating disease, and menopause is the leading cause.
When looking to soothe these excruciating symptoms of menopause, the topic of hormone therapy inevitably arises. Even though scientists have researched the topic of hormone therapy for decades, there is still not much conversation in the medical world about it.
Many are beginning to consult the possibility of hormone therapy on their own. In order learn about hormone therapy, read these eight crucial things you just have to know.
1. The Definition And What It Does
Hormone therapy is generally a treatment intended to replace female hormones once the body has ceased to produce them adequately. Sometimes the hormones replaced are solely estrogen and others they are a combination of estrogen and progesterone.
Originally, hormone therapy was for menopausal women in order to keep them healthy during their most crucial time. However, later, doctors discovered many other new benefits as a result of the treatment.
Hormone therapy could also help prevent heart disease and dementia. Thus, doctors are now discussing the possibility of other benefits to the treatment.
2. It May Not Be For You
Various studies have found that hormone therapy can be harmful to a particular group of patients. At one time, doctors believed that hormone therapy could be beneficial for all menopausal women. Many women began trying it.
The results were astounding for many. Specifically, older postmenopausal women were finding some difficulties with the treatment. Older postmenopausal women experienced dangerous side effects quite contradictory to the original intent of the treatment. So, women were encouraged to stop the treatments.
Hormone therapy is also not for anyone with a past or present history of breast, ovarian or endometrial cancer. In addition, any woman suffering from blood clots, liver disease, or strokes should not take partake in hormone therapy treatment.
It is important to remember that hormone therapy is not the only option for healthy women experiencing menopausal symptoms. Doctors stress the importance of discussion options at their next checkup.
Even though these groups of women did not benefit from the treatment, others still can. Doctors claim that hormone therapy does not help postmenopausal symptoms, such as dementia and heart disease. However, hormone therapy helps other groups of women, depending on their medical history.
3. The Alternatives Are Not Necessarily Safe
Three synthetic hormones, Premarin, Provera and Prempro dominate the pharmaceutical industry. However, once you learn how they are made, you may change your mind.
The urine from a pregnant mare makes Premarin. Doesn’t this sound gross? Provera is a synthetic progestin. And, Prempro is a combination of the horse urine and synthetic progestin.
As if this were not enough to deter you from synthetic hormones, what is even worse is the side effects produced by withdrawal from these drugs. Many women were immediately pulled off the pills after scientists found the drugs to be unsafe and unsuccessful back in 2002. However, they were not safe yet.
Millions of women complained of nasty withdrawal side effects, upon the removal of these synthetic hormones. These withdrawal symptoms recorded were similar to that of heavy narcotics. Despite this disaster of a drug, many scientists still preach by the synthetic hormones. Scientists claim that through a lower dosage, these drugs can be effective.
Of course, if medication is not entirely an option then typical treatment could work. Typical treatments for menopausal symptoms include maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and limiting caffeine and alcohol can help alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Recommended exercises and activities include yoga and centering oneself. Acupuncture is also a great form of finding tranquility and ultimate health. Ultimately, finding the right exercise that works for you is best.
4. There Are Different Types Available
There are many different options when seeking hormone therapy. Most popularly, patients chose either low-dose vaginal or systemic. Systemic hormone therapy is basically as the consumption of systemic estrogen.
This type of hormone therapy comes available as a pill, patch, spray, cream and even gel. This option is extremely popular as the application is relatively easy.
Systemic hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for common menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. Other alleviated symptoms from this type of hormone therapy include vaginal dryness, discomfort during intercourse, itching, and burning.
The other popular form of hormone therapy is low-dose vaginal product, which is typically, available via a cream or tablet. This type of estrogen is effective for some symptoms that the systemic therapy is not, such as urinary difficulties. However, low-dose vaginal creams don’t work to help with typical menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes or night sweats.
5. Bioidentical Hormones May Be Safer
Large companies throughout the United States manufacture pharmaceuticals. Thus, not much education exists in regards to Bioidentical drugs, such as natural progesterone.
Despite the years and years of research, 25, to be exact, many U.S. physicians do not endorse this option. On the surface, this may appear to be a sign that Bioidentical hormones are not a great option. However, upon further investigation the fact that many physicians are simply not educated on this topic comes to light.
While it may not be widely accepted, many women today are resorting to Bioidentical hormone therapy. The FDA has approved of the production of natural progesterone in the United States.
Doctors are simply unaware of the benefits and information behind this option. Of all the women who are taking Bioidentical progesterone, Bioidentical hormone therapy appears to be a much safer and more effective means than the synthetic hormones on the market.
6. You May Be Fooled
Inarguably, drug companies are in a business to look out for themselves. Sure, we see commercials stating that they want what is best for us. But, the truth is that they want profit. Therefore, some apathy exists in regards to the truth about hormone therapy.
Hormone therapy works to replace hormones that have been washed-out. Mature women usually suffer from depleted hormones. As a woman ages, she begins to lose estrogen. Without estrogen and the proper balance of hormones, many women succumb to a slew of undesirable side effects.
Therefore, doctors advise women to have hormone therapy. Typically, these hormone replacements look to restore the natural levels of progesterone.
However, be sure to take the correct hormones. Popular synthetic hormones on the market include Provera and Premarin. These synthetic drugs may sound like they are working to restore hormone levels appropriately. But, they are actually doing something different.
For example, pregnancy specialists often prescribe progesterone to help protect a pregnancy. Meanwhile, Provera, which is a medroxyprogesteorone, is a morning after pill. As you can see, these two therapies are quite contradictory.
7. Is Hormone Therapy Right For Me?
Earlier we discussed the group of people who have not benefitted from hormone therapy. Even though postmenopausal women are not supposed to partake in this treatment, there are still proven benefits for menopausal women, especially for those who are experiencing hot flashes or have lost bone mass.
It helps those women who either cannot take or benefit from other treatments, or had a stopped period before the age of 40.
Women suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms will definitely benefit from hormone therapy. And, so long as they are healthy it is vital that they consult the help of it.If a woman has experienced early menopause, then it is essential they choose hormone therapy. Any woman suffering from premature menopause may have a higher risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, sexual dysfunction or early death.
8. Making Hormone Therapy Work For You
If you choose to opt for hormone therapy, then there are a few ways that you can make it work for you. For example, make sure to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible.
Physical activity and a healthy diet will help ensure that the therapy does not work to counteract the desired benefits. Limiting alcohol consumption and smoking is also highly advisable.
Besides remaining as healthy as possible, it is important to figure out the best type of hormone therapy for you. Instead of listening to the stories and recommendations of other women, compile your own research and be sure to enlist the help of a professional. Also, when you begin your medication, start with as small of a dosage as possible.
Lastly, be sure to regularly consult your health care provider. Help them keep an eye on your progress to make sure that your treatment is helping you.
Hormone therapy could potentially hold the power to both soothe and rewind some of the worst diseases of our time. Symptoms of breast cancer, osteoporosis, and even menopause are less of an ordeal with the help of this highly underrated treatment. Make sure to research and consult your primary physician to see if this new treatment is the right fit for you.