Estrogen Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy involves the use of estrogen and other hormones to minimize and control the physical and emotional effects of menopause. Hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain or loss and vaginal discharge are all a part of the menopause process.
As a woman’s body ages, the production of hormones can be dramatically reduced. This eventually can lead to unpleasant reactions within the body. Boosting the supply of these hormones with HRT can have a dramatic impact on a woman’s health and greatly improve her quality of life.
There are many ways hormone replacement therapy can be administered, depending on what the woman is most comfortable with and what works best for her. At Turtle Creek Medical Center, we work with each woman individually to determine her ideal course of treatment.
Oral pill forms of hormone replacement can effectively minimize the effects of menopause. One of the biggest drawbacks of HRT in pill form is the increased risk of blood clots, strokes and certain types of cancer like ovarian, breast and uterine. HRT pills must be taken on a regular basis to maintain a constant level of the hormones within the body or they won’t be truly effective.
Estrogen patches offer the same basic effects as HRT pills, but they do not send the medication through the liver before it is utilized. The patch is applied to the skin and the estrogen is absorbed into the tissues and then into the bloodstream. Although the risk of blood clots is similar to that of oral types of HRT medication, studies suggest patches may be safer. The one drawback to using any patch medication is skin sensitivity. If irritation occurs, consult your physician immediately.
Topical Creams, Sprays and Gels
Much like the patch, topical HRT creams, sprays and gels are absorbed through the skin. This form of HRT is used on a daily basis and does not have a negative impact on the liver. More studies are being performed on the effectiveness of topical creams, gels and sprays because it is unclear as to how long their effects actually last. Unlike the patch that provides continuous absorption, other topical forms may not stay in place as long due to exposure to the outside environment.
Vaginal forms of HRT are applied directly to the genital area. Suppositories, creams and rings are used to not only increase the amount of estrogen, they also eliminate outward signs of menopause, such as vaginal dryness and the burning and itching that sometimes occurs during intercourse. These forms of HRT are somewhat effective when regulating estrogen levels, but work best for treating the outward signs and symptoms. The level of estrogen they contain can still increase a woman’s risk of various types of cancer as well as strokes and blood clots, so – as with all HRT products – they should be used with care as directed.
Turtle Creek Medical Center
If you are experiencing the effects of menopause and are looking for information on estrogen hormone replacement therapy, please contact the professional staff of Turtle Creek Medical Center. We can answer your questions and help determine what type of HRT, if any, would be best for you.