Prevalent during and following menopause, hormone imbalance can wreak emotional and physical havoc. During menopause, hormone levels fall, causing uncomfortable symptoms like vaginal dryness, hot flashes and sometimes osteoporosis. Restoring hormone levels is possible, but the key is in the proper diagnosis and the introduction of the missing hormones to balance the body.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) uses the hormones estrogen and progesterone to treat the common symptoms of menopause and aging.
What are the types of hormone replacement therapies?
- Systemic hormone therapy is available in pill, skin patch, gel, cream or spray form. Man-made compounds such as Provera and Premarin are hormone substitutes intended to supplement the hormones that naturally occur in your body. But they can be dangerous. Premarin is made form an extract of the urine of pregnant mares. Although it contains a human estrogen (estrone), it also contains a number of estrogens not found in humans. Additionally, the use of Premarin and Provera together may produce a number of adverse effects such as increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, and heart problems.
- Low-dose vaginal preparations of estrogen, such as creams, tablets or a vaginal ring can effectively treat vaginal symptoms and some urinary symptoms, while minimizing absorption into the body.
- As a treatment alternative, BHRT, using bio-identical hormones, is a safer alternative; the hormones are natural and plant derived.
- Bio-identical hormones do not contain chemicals made from animal waste, but are formulated form soy products or yams to match your body’s hormones. They have the same chemical structure as the ones made in your body.
- They are extremely safe and effective when properly prescribed. They also have many benefits for overall health.
- Once bio-identical hormones are introduced into the body, many symptoms such as night sweats, irritability, depression, anxiety, hot flashes, decreased libido and weight gain generally ease and patients begin to feel a renewed sense of well-being.
- BHRT is not for everyone. Blood tests will determine whether your hormone levels are low enough to warrant a BHRT supplement and if your symptoms are caused by a physical problem or illness.