Hormone therapy (HT) can help women find relief for a number of menopausal symptoms when lifestyle changes don't work. When your body stops producing hormones, you may experience:
- Night sweats, hot flashes, sleeplessness
- Vulvovaginal symptoms like dryness, burning, itching, urinary frequency/urgency, painful intercourse
- Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), a collection of symptoms involving the vagina, labia, clitoris, urethra and bladder
A range of hormone therapies exist that can:
- Restore a healthy vaginal environment, increasing bloodflow and moisture
- Improve mood, sleep and sexual relations
- Lower urinary tract infections by reducing bacterial growth
- Prevent bone loss
Hormone Therapy Treatment
Systemic HT comes in the form of a pill, patch, spray, gel or ring, infusing the whole body with hormone. Other hormone treatment comes in a cream or vaginal ring, delivering medication directly or topically.
The type of hormone, dosage, duration treatment method depends on your symptoms and health risks. Your provider will need to adjust your prescription as your healthcare needs change.
Types of Hormone Therapy
Whether or not you've had a hysterectomy to remove your uterus determines the type of hormone you can safely use.
We offer therapies that include:
- Estrogen therapy (ET), effective for hot flashes in women without a uterus
- Estrogen progestogen therapy (EPT), recommended for women with a uterus who need relief from menopausal symptoms along with protection from uterine cancer
- Estrogen with SERM, a non-hormonal compound, helps reduce hot flashes in women with a uterus while protecting the uterus and preventing bone loss
- Progestogen or progestin alone can provide treatment for women who can't take estrogen
- Estrogen-progestin birth control pills can offer hot flash relief
- Low-dose vaginal estrogen applied topically or locally can reduce vaginal dryness and atrophy, as well as GSM
Precautions While Taking HT
Long-term use of HT may significantly increase a woman's risks of: Blood clots, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, endometrial cancer, strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, ovarian cancer and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
If you've had cancer or certain other conditions, certain hormone treatments may not be advisable. Talk to your doctor.
Possible Side Effects
The following side effects may disappear over time as your body adjusts to taking HT:
- Breast tenderness
- Return of monthly periods
- Swelling of feet and lower legs
- Rapid weight gain