As we age, our organs begin to produce less key hormones that help to keep our bodies in optimal shape. One of these hormones is estrogen, and surprisingly, both men and women have estrogen in their bodies. In women, it’s the ovaries that begin to produce less estrogen due to the transition to menopause. The results are symptoms that include fatigue, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, sleep disorders, loss of bone density that can lead to osteoporosis, migraines and many other problems.
While there are some steps people can take to address menopausal symptoms, including exercise, calcium supplements and diet, the most productive treatment for low hormones is hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. And while HRT may not be indicated for everyone, the estrogen treatment can effectively help to reduce the symptoms associated with low estrogen due to menopause.
Who will benefit from HRT?
While both men and women produce estrogen, it plays a key role in helping to managing a woman’s reproductive system. Women who are displaying moderate to severe symptoms due to menopause will benefit from current hormone replacement therapy. And while there are some risks associated with the treatment, when it’s administered and managed by experienced physicians it is safe and effective.
Replacing estrogen with HRT has helped many women overcome the myriad of menopause symptoms, particularly vaginal dryness, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, and extreme sweating. And while not all women require hormone replacement therapy, women who have symptoms that are disruptive to their daily lives will benefit greatly from the treatment.
What are the key benefits of HRT?
When women stop producing enough estrogen due to menopause, one of their main complaints is vaginal dryness. This condition can lead to painful intercourse, inflammation of the vagina, and in severe cases it can lead to vulvar atrophy, a condition that can cause vaginal pain, dryness and urinary incontinence. Replacing estrogen using HRT can help to manage or eliminate these problems.
Another key benefit is preventing bone loss after menopause begins. Bone loss leads to brittle bones and can cause osteoporosis, which can become a major risk factor as women age. Estrogen replacement can help alleviate this problem, helping to prevent future bone breaks. There are some new medications on the market that target bone loss, but many of them have extreme side effects, and physicians resort to HRT when those medications can’t be tolerated by their patients.
Migraines, which affect 1 in every 4 women, are often exacerbated due to menopause. More research is currently underway, but hormone replacement therapy has been shown to help symptomatic women by reducing the severity and frequency of their migraines.
When women transition to menopause, they often develop symptoms of clinical depression, which increases 2 to 4 times over women who are not undergoing menopause. But new research conducted at the UNC School of Medicine has found that HRT during the transition to menopause can prevent the onset of depression.
This research is the first time that research shows there could be a way to prevent depression in women – depression that often lasts 5 years or longer. And the earlier in the menopause transition that women are treated, the better the results.
Talk to your healthcare professional
Because there are some risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, the treatment is not for everyone. You should discuss the pros and cons with your healthcare professional to see if you will benefit from HRT. Just remember when estrogen replacement via HRT is performed by an experienced professional, it is both safe and effective in alleviating the symptoms associated with menopause.