During menopause, women may experience many unpleasant complaints that have a strong impact on their daily life and well-being. By the way, peak hormonal changes also increase the chances of developing diseases such as osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease.
The purpose of hormone therapy
Hormone therapy replaces female hormones whose production drops dramatically during menopause. The treatment is often used to relieve and eliminate common symptoms of menopause – hot flashes, vaginal dryness and increased sweating, but it has also been shown to reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis and reduce the risk of various cardiovascular diseases.
The main types of hormone therapy
Hormone replacement therapy primarily focuses on replacing the estrogen that the body no longer produces after menopause. There are two main types of estrogen therapy:
• Systemic hormonal therapy: This treatment can take the form of tablets, skin patches, rings, gels, creams, or sprays – these usually contain a larger dose of estrogen that is absorbed throughout the body. It can be used to treat any common symptoms of menopause.
• Low-dose vaginal products: Low-dose estrogen vaginal preparations, which are mainly in the form of a cream, tablet or ring, have a more topical effect. For this reason, only low-dose vaginal preparations are usually used to treat the vaginal symptoms of menopause.
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If a person still has a uterus, a doctor will usually prescribe estrogen along with progesterone, which is a progestin. This is because an imbalance of estrogen with progesterone increases the risk of endometrial cancer. You may not need to take a progestin after a hysterectomy.
This is when hormonal therapy is safe
Most doctors agree that it is safe to take hormone therapy:
- In the case of moderate heat waves and vaginal dryness,
- up to the age of 59,
- Within ten years after menopause,
- At the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time.
However, an individual’s general health strongly influences the decision.
However, there are risks associated with the use of hormone therapy. These risks depend on the type of hormone therapy, the dose, the duration of the medication, and individual health risks. For best results, hormone therapy should always be customized, and even re-evaluated, to make sure both doctor and patient outweigh the risks, says Dr. Gabor Hetini, MD, a gynecologist at the Center for Gynecology.
Hormone therapy is not recommended in the following cases:
- High risk of developing certain tumors, especially tumors of the female reproductive system
- After or with a higher chance of having a heart attack or stroke,
- High risk of thrombosis – it is useful to participate in the assessment of the risk of thrombosis beforehand,
- coronary heart disease
- Liver disease.
The risk of hormone therapy depends on several things, including the following:
Illness: Those over the age of 60 or those who started hormone therapy more than ten years after the onset of menopause are at greater risk. But if hormone therapy is started before the age of sixty or ten years after the onset of menopause, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Type of hormonal therapy: The risk of hormone therapy also varies depending on whether estrogen is used alone or with a progestin, and the dose and type of estrogen.
Personal and family history: If your personal and family history includes certain types of cancer, heart attack, stroke, thrombosis, and liver disease, it greatly increases your risk, so it is not worth using hormonal therapy.
Diet to relieve symptoms of menopause
Hormonal fluctuations are a completely normal process, but lifestyle factors still play an important role: the goal is to relieve symptoms and reduce postmenopausal risk. By normalizing body weight and providing the right nutrients, it is possible to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances, improve mood and reduce risks.
(Image source: Getty Images Hungary.)
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