Estrogen Hormone Therapy
During menopause, the production of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) decreases. This occurs because no eggs are released from the ovaries. Without that previous level of estrogen, women experience a variety of symptoms. Learn how estrogen hormone therapy can reduce your symptoms and help thwart problems like osteoporosis.
First, it is important to explain what estrogen hormone therapy is all about. A woman’s body decreases its production of estrogen and progesterone. Lower levels of estrogen can lead to hot flashes, irritability, vaginal dryness, sleep issues, headaches and other symptoms during menopause. Lack of estrogen is linked to osteoporosis in menopausal women.
Many doctors use hormone therapy to counteract these conditions. The most complained-about symptom is hot flashes and night sweats. Adding estrogen can eliminate or greatly decrease hot flashes. Hormone therapy can consist of administering estrogen alone (estrogen hormone therapy) or a combination of estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone). If a woman still has her uterus, a doctor is more likely to prescribe a combination hormone therapy. When a hysterectomy has been performed (removal of uterus), estrogen hormone therapy is more common.
Why is that the case? Estrogen levels have been linked to increased risk of endometrial cancers. The combination of estrogen and progestin combats that risk. The synthetic progesterone protects the body from cancer risk in women who still have a uterus when they go through menopause. Without a uterus, there is no risk and estrogen can be taken alone.
Not everyone needs estrogen hormone therapy. Some women transition into menopause without severe symptoms. If they do experience hot flashes, they opt for alternative medicine choices as opposed to estrogen hormone therapy. Eating more soy protein in the diet introduces plant estrogens into the system that have been shown to lessen the effect of hot flashes. If you are not one of these women, estrogen therapy can keep you from going stir crazy with the constant overheating experience.
There are other symptoms that can be bothersome to women besides hot flashes. Vaginal dryness is another big issue for women during menopause. Vaginal dryness makes it harder to have a satisfying sexual experience with your mate. Lack of lubrication can cause pain and discomfort. Estrogen hormone therapy can stop dryness and restore the vaginal area to normal.
Estrogen hormone therapy is also helpful when osteoporosis is an issue. It is an alternative to taking bone-building pills like Fosamax and Boniva. Using estrogen hormone therapy in the short term combined with a healthy diet can maintain bone health. For the long term, using pills like Fosamax will have fewer side effects especially if you still have your uterus.
Talk with your doctor about estrogen hormone therapy and if you are a good candidate. Discuss the various ways to manage your menopause symptoms and choose which works best for you.