In recent years, the use of hormone therapy in women’s health has become more widely known. Yet, there are still many misunderstandings regarding what exactly hormone therapy is, how it can help women, and even how it can occasionally cause harm. This blog helps to clarify not just simple answers to these questions but explores some complex issues of women’s health as well.
What is hormone therapy?
Hormone therapy (HT) is the use of synthetic or natural hormones to relieve the symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy is also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
During menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone, which are female hormones. A large body of research links these lower levels of hormones to hot flashes and other bothersome symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy (HT) helps restore hormonal balance in your body.
Which hormone is usually used for females?
The hormones used for hormone therapy in women are estrogen and progesterone (also called progestin).
Some women also use testosterone. Testosterone is one of the main hormones produced by the ovaries, but it is normally found in small amounts in the blood of women who still have their uterus. Testosterone supplementation is not approved for women who have had a hysterectomy.
Estrogen therapy: Estrogen is the main female sex hormone. It helps regulate the menstrual cycle and prepares the body for pregnancy. In menopause, when your ovaries stop making estrogen, your body gets most of its estrogen from fat tissue. This can lead to symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Estrogen therapy replaces some or all of the body’s natural supply of estrogen to help relieve these symptoms.
Progesterone therapy: Progesterone is another female sex hormone that helps prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy after ovulation (when an egg is released from one of her ovaries). It also keeps the lining of the uterus healthy by regulating its build-up and breakdown during each menstrual cycle.
Who can be prescribed hormone therapy?
Doctors prescribe hormone therapy like HGH based on a woman’s specific health needs, including her age and her risk factors for different types of cancer and heart disease. Women should talk with their doctors about the potential benefits and risks associated with hormone therapy before deciding whether to use hormones.
What can hormone therapy do?
Symptoms of menopause
Menopause is when your body stops menstruating, and you can no longer become pregnant. Your doctor may diagnose menopause based on your symptoms or because you haven’t had a period for 12 months.
Menopause is a natural part of life for women. Menopause can happen earlier or later, too. It’s perfectly normal to reach menopause between the ages of 40 and 58 years old.
The time leading up to menopause is called perimenopause, especially during the first year after you’ve had your final menstrual period (FMP). Perimenopause can last up to 10 years, but it usually lasts four years. During this time, your menstrual periods may stop and start again, change in length and amount of flow, and become more irregular.
If you’re approaching menopause and are bothered by symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, talk to your doctor about hormone therapy (HT), also called postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT). Hormone therapy is used most often to deal with the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause.
Treat cancer or ease cancer symptoms
Some types of cancer, such as breast cancers and prostate cancers, depend on hormones to grow. By lowering or blocking the body’s production of certain hormones or blocking their action, hormone therapy can slow or stop cancer cell growth. This is called adjuvant hormone therapy.
Some types of cancer that have spread throughout the body may use hormones to grow and spread. Hormone therapy can help keep these cancers from growing by lowering or blocking the body’s production of certain hormones or blocking their action. This is called palliative hormone therapy.
Need to prevent bone loss or fractures
Reduce your risk of fractures and broken bones. This is especially true if you’ve already had a fracture related to osteoporosis or have low bone density. Prevent bone loss. Hormone therapy decreases bone loss and may increase bone density.
Women who experience menopause before their mid-40s have early menopause and may experience more severe symptoms. Women experiencing early menopause may seek relief through hormone therapy (HT) to prolong fertility and ease symptoms of estrogen deficiency such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings.
If there’s a hormone deficiency, a doctor may give you a synthetic version of the hormone. This is called hormone therapy. Hormone therapy can help you feel better and prevent serious health problems. Some types of it are also called estrogen replacement therapy, or ERT.
These therapies contain only the female hormone estrogen. Others are known as combined hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. They contain both estrogen and progesterone, another female hormone.
Types of Hormone therapy for women
Hormone therapy is a treatment that uses drugs to replace hormones when your body does not make enough. It can relieve symptoms caused by low levels of certain hormones. There are different types of hormone therapy for women.
Systemic hormone therapy
Systemic hormone therapy (HT) is the most common type of hormone therapy. It’s used to treat menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and changes in sexual interest. Systemic hormone therapy also can prevent future bone loss. Systemic HT comes in several forms pills, patches, gels, and creams.
In systemic HT, small amounts of one or more female hormones are absorbed into the bloodstream. This helps restore hormone levels to those similar to a woman’s premenopausal levels.
Low-dose vaginal products
Low-dose vaginal estrogen comes in the form of a cream, tablet, or ring. These products treat vaginal dryness, itching, and burning by replacing lost estrogen directly in your vagina. Vaginal estrogen doesn’t raise your blood levels as high as other forms of hormone therapy do. Vaginal estrogen products have fewer side effects than oral or transdermal (skin) products, and they may help improve sex by increasing moisture and elasticity in the vagina.
Hormone therapy influence for female body
Benefits of hormone replacement therapy may include:
- Decreased hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness
- Improved mood and energy levels
- Increased sexual desire and satisfaction
- Reduced risk of colon cancer
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis
The risks of hormone therapy depend on many factors, including your age and your personal and family medical history.
- Breast cancer
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Increased risk of gallbladder disease
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased risk of a heart attack in women older than 60 or within 10 years of menopause
- Increased risk of dementia in women older than 65
All in all, it is clear that hormone therapy in women is a very important topic that affects every woman’s life. The hormonal health of women as well as menopause symptoms can influence the mood and overall psyche of a woman and has an impact on her everyday life. That’s why it’s always best to know about your hormones and the importance of HRT.