The end of women’s childbearing years, also known as menopause, tends to occur in the early 50s, but it isn’t unheard of to happen in one’s late 30s or early 60s. For most women, the process leading to menopause can last from 10-12 years. You can know for sure that you’ve started menopause when you go without a period for 12 consecutive months.
There are many symptoms of menopause besides a stopped period. Though they are common, not all women experience the same symptoms, or with the same frequency. It’s possible to have heavy periods for several months, and then suddenly no period for another several months. Erratic menstrual cycles, even for women who are used to being regular, tend to happen. Other symptoms include “hot flashes” (moments of intense body heat), night sweats, decreased libido, insomnia, mood swings, weight gain, and thinning hair.
Because of the frustration experienced with these symptoms and the impact they can have on your daily life, many women turn to hormone replacement therapy as one treatment option to feel like themselves again. The staff at Cary OB/GYN in Cary and Morrisville, North Carolina can help determine if this treatment option is right for you.
How to know if hormone replacement therapy is right for you
Hormone replacement therapy comes in many forms: pills, patches, pellets, and vaginal rings, to name a few. It is also available as a topical cream for vaginal dryness. The benefits of this treatment depend, partly, on the dosage and the method of treatment that you choose.
Hormone therapy may be the best option for managing your menopause symptoms if you experience multiple symptoms besides hot flashes and lifestyle changes don’t work consistently for you.
Different types of hormone therapy
Just as there are many different symptoms of menopause, there are different types of hormone treatment. A provider at Cary OB/GYN can evaluate your symptoms to determine which form is right for you. Your options include
Systematic hormone therapy
This form of therapy comes in pill, gel, cream, and spray forms. It’s one of the most popular and effective treatments for hot flashes and night sweats.
Combined estrogen and progesterone therapy
This form of therapy helps to prevent osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease, and can decrease your risk of heart disease when taken at the beginning of menopause.
Low doses of estrogen
Also available in cream, tablet, or ring form, this therapy treats vaginal symptoms such as dryness (which can make for uncomfortable intercourse) and urinary problems. It does not help with night sweats or hot flashes.
Possible risks of hormone replacement therapy
Though rare, the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy depend on the type you choose and how long you have taken it. Therefore, the Cary staff tailor therapy to the unique needs of each patient, rather than prescribing a generic form.
Schedule an appointment to discuss your options
To find out if hormone replacement therapy is right for you, you can speak with a provider by calling 919-551-7644. You can also request an appointment online.