During the years leading up to menopause, your body produces lower levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This normal part of aging leads to the cessation of your monthly menstrual periods.
Some women get through menopause and perimenopause (the 5-10 years before menopause) without uncomfortable symptoms. But others experience one or more symptoms that range from irritating to severe.
Replacing those hormones with treatment known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can relieve some menopausal symptoms.
If you're wondering whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you, we're here to help. At Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, Susan Crockett, MD, and our all-female team of highly trained care providers specialize in helping women experiencing menopausal symptoms.
Here, we offer important information on whether HRT makes sense for you.
The hormonal changes of menopause can cause a long list of symptoms, including:
HRT replaces some of the hormones that your body no longer makes with supplemental hormones. HRT may consist of estrogen alone or estrogen with progestin (progesterone).
At Virtuosa GYN, we recommend bioidentical hormones because they are identical to the natural hormones that your body produces. They are a more natural, more effective treatment than synthetic hormones.
We personalize your hormone regimen based on your specific needs. After testing your blood hormone levels, we formulate your optimal dosage, which is filled by a custom-compounding pharmacist. This ensures that you get only as much hormone therapy as you need.
HRT can be a viable option for women who have symptoms that are interfering with their quality of life. For example, if hot flashes and night sweats are making it difficult for you to get a good night's sleep, HRT could provide you with much-needed relief.
Women who go through early menopause or who have their uterus removed (hysterectomy) may also benefit from HRT.
But HRT isn't for everyone. For example, you may not be a good candidate for HRT if you have a high risk of certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, blood clots, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis.
We may also advise against HRT if you’re a breast cancer survivor, because some types of breast cancer cells grow faster in the presence of estrogen. Likewise, having a history of other types of health conditions, such as endometrial cancer or liver disease, may make HRT too risky for you.
These are rough guidelines. We take many factors, including your personal health history, family medical history, and symptoms into account before making a recommendation about whether HRT is right for you.
In some cases, women with severe menopausal symptoms can take HRT for a short time even if they have health risks that might otherwise make them ineligible. For these women, taking low doses for a short time may provide benefits that outweigh the risks.
Our caring staff of providers can help you make smart choices about HRT, managing menopause, and a full range of other women's health decisions. Contact us today at our San Antonio, Texas, office to schedule an evaluation.