Making Menopause Manageable

During menopause, the blood level of estrogen goes down sharply. The average age where ovaries begin to produce lower levels of estrogen is 50, nudging the body toward menopause. The severity of symptoms depends, but some women experience hot flashes, depression, irritability, anxiety, and more. Using a blend of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, DHEA or testosterone, doctors seek to manage severe symptoms of menopause that last 5 years or more. While minimizing symptoms can help many women live more easily with menopause, the benefits depend on age and family medical history. For safe and long-lasting results, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) must be tailored to the individual patient and lifestyle.

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Look before you leap

The efficacy of HRT depends on both the patient’s age and overall state of health. Hormones are most effective in healthy women under age 60, starting treatment within 10 years of menopause. Women using HRT that are older than 60 could be at an increased risk for potential health risks, including heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. To maximize the symptom-busting benefits of HRT, start hormone therapy within 10 years of the beginning of menopause.

The benefits of hormone therapy

Along with age, the level of risk associated with HRT depends on the type of hormones and the patient. Many OB/GYN recommend minimizing medication intake while engaging in hormone therapy to reduce the likelihood of any health issues. Estrogen, alone or with progestogen, effectively manages severe menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, and bone loss. Many women report a much higher quality of life with these symptoms alleviated.

Considering health history

Although HRT lowers the risk of specific medical problems, health history is the key to correctly utilizing hormone treatment. HRT may not be a good fit if a particular person shows a proclivity to health risk. Women with a family medical history, including certain types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, liver disease, and osteoporosis, are generally not recommended for HRT. Ultimately, the patient must assess the family history and decide if the benefits of HRT outweigh the potential risks.

Thriving with HRT

While HRT must be tailored to the individual to prevent potential health risks, hormone therapy can effectively treat hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal discomfort, and bone thinning. Whether hormones benefit a woman depends on age, type of hormone replacement, and family history. To ensure safe and effective treatment, women must maintain a healthy lifestyle while regularly pursuing and attending follow-up care. Menopause inevitably happens, but HRT offers an easier transition.

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