Is hormonal replacement therapy right for you? Also known as HRT, this type of therapy can help some of the symptoms related to perimenopause and menopause. If you're not sure whether you could benefit from hormonal replacement services, take a look at what you need to know about HRT.
What Is Hormone Therapy?
As the name implies, this type of therapy replaces hormones that your body may no longer make or may not make in high enough quantities. A hormonal imbalance (due to a lack of specific hormones) can cause symptoms that interfere with your daily life. To correct this imbalance, some doctors may prescribe HRT treatments.
This type of therapy can boost estrogen or progesterone levels. Estrogen is a naturally occurring hormone that plays a crucial role in reproductive health. When you went through puberty, estrogen was responsible for physical changes such as breast development. It is also a necessary part of the menstrual cycle. This hormone helps to thicken the uterine lining (which prepares it for implantation) and affects when or if you ovulate.
Progesterone is another hormone that is essential for reproductive health. It prepares the body for implantation (after the egg is fertilized). Low levels of this hormone or estrogen can affect your menstrual cycle and cause other physical symptoms. HRT is one way to stop these symptoms.
What Symptoms Can HRT Treat?
Hormonal therapy can treat symptoms related to low estrogen or low progesterone. These often include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia, mood swings, or irregular periods.
Do You Need To Wait Until You're In Menopause To Start HRT?
No, you do not need to wait until you are officially in menopause to start HRT. You will reach menopause after you have gone a full 12 months without a period, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health. But this doesn't mean that you won't have symptoms before the one-year mark.
Many women experience significant menstrual cycle changes, hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, insomnia, and vaginal changes in the years leading up to menopause. This transitional time is called perimenopause. HRT can help to alleviate or reduce these symptoms during the perimenopausal transition.
Where Can You Get HRT?
Even though there are many commercially available products on the market that make perimenopause or menopause symptom relief claims, hormone replacement medications are only available from a licensed medical provider. Your doctor will need to prescribe these medications for you. If you have symptoms of perimenopause that interfere with your daily life or make you uncomfortable, talk to a company like Family Medicine Austin to learn about your options.