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Menopause, Perimenopause and Considerations of Hormone Replacement Therapy

At this current time-as you navigate perimenopause and menopause-there are lots of options and lots of websites, opinions and information. At our office—we are ready and willing to hear your concerns and help you plan an individualized approach to your changing hormones and reproductive status. Through proper attitude, some personal adjustments, reasonable goals and careful testing and discussion-you and I will continue to work for your best health in this important time of life!!!

In the past, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was widely recommended for the treatment of menopause and menopausal symptoms as well as in the prevention of osteoporosis and heart disease. A large study known as the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shed new light on how HRT is viewed.

What Is Perimenopause?

This transition starts years before your period stops. Symptoms during this time include mood swings, hot flushes, and loss of sex drive.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is a normal part of aging; about 70% of woman experience symptoms. Lifestyle changes, diet, exercise, and medications can help. Awareness of health during this stage is essential

What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy is used to supplement the body with either estrogen alone or estrogen and progesterone in combination during and after menopause. Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that are produced by a woman's ovaries. When the ovaries no longer produce adequate amounts of these hormones (as in menopause), HRT can be given to supplement the body with adequate levels of estrogen and progesterone.

Why Does the Body Need Estrogen and Progesterone?

Estrogen and progesterone together thicken the lining of the uterus, preparing it for the possible implantation of a fertilized egg. Estrogen also influences how the body uses calcium, an important mineral in the building of bones, and helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood. Estrogen also keeps the vagina healthy.

As menopause nears, the ovaries reduce most of their production of these hormones. Lowered or fluctuating estrogen levels may cause menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, and medical conditions such as osteoporosis. Hormone therapy helps to replenish the estrogen, relieving some of the symptoms of menopause and helping to prevent osteoporosis.

Why Is Progesterone Taken?

Progesterone is used along with estrogen in women who still have their uterus. In these women, if taken without progesterone, estrogen increases a woman's risk for cancer of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). During a woman's reproductive years, endometrial cells are shed during menstruation. When the endometrium is no longer shed, estrogen can cause an overgrowth of cells in the uterus, a condition that can lead to cancer.

What Are the Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

There are many ways to take hormone therapy. Our office has expertise with bioidentical hormones, transdermal gels, creams, and patches as well as pill regimens. Since each woman’s needs are different @ age 40, 50 ,60, etc—I highly recommend coming to the office for consultation so we can sit down and review your goals, lifestyle, family history, risk for osteoporosis and breast cancer and depression, possible related symptoms of poor sleeping, your personal difficulties with vaginal dryness and libido. Menopause is a natural and important part of every woman's life. Most women experience this stage after age 40 and spend a third of their life in this phase. Making a decision for or against HRT is complicated and should be done with careful thought.

WE ARE HERE TO KEEP YOU WELL CARED FOR and WELL INFORMED-come see us soon!

 

Resources: As you know there are many—start with WebMD and consider reading Dr. Hess- 7 Steps to a Perfect Menopause.

 

© Copyright 2012, Mary J. Kotob, MD, FACOG. All rights reserved.
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