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Hormone Replacement Therapy

What is Menopause?

Menopause occurs when the ovaries steadily decline in the amount of estrogen they produce over time. This usually occurs in women in their 40s to 50s during which their menstrual periods come to an end.

Menopause occurs gradually over several years and most women experience various symptoms including hot flashes, mood changes, night sweats, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness. These symptoms occur due to declining levels of estrogen in the body.

How do you treat the symptoms of menopause?

Since the symptoms of menopause can be very challenging to manage, treatment is often sought after. There are several options available including hormone replacement therapy (“HRT”), which means replacing estrogen (and progesterone) in the body as natural levels decline. HRT can be given several different ways including as a pill, estrogen patch and vaginal estrogen preparations.

Is Hormone Replacement Therapy right for you?

HRT is best suited for women in their 50s (between the age 50 – 59) who are undergoing menopause or who have just completed menopause. Some of the benefits of HRT include a decline in hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Some studies also show HRT may have a positive effect on bone health and may reduce the risk of an osteoporotic fractures to some extent. There is also data to suggest that HRT may have mortality benefits to some extent in younger females who start HRT early on in menopause.

Is Hormone Replacement Therapy safe and effective?

The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was a study done to determine the benefits and potential risks with the use of HRT during menopause. The study found that although HRT is effective in treating the symptoms of menopause, there were an increased risk of heart attacks, breast cancer, blood clots and strokes in certain females who did take HRT.

Who should avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Although HRT is effective in treating menopause, HRT should be avoided in women with a history of breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots, heart attacks, strokes and women who are at risk of developing these complications.

When to seek treatment?

If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, you may benefit from visiting one of our Houston-area Endocrinologists here at the Endocrine Center to see what options you have available to you for treating your symptoms and to see if HRT is right for you. You can schedule an appointment through our website at www.endocrinecenter.com or by telephone at 713-973-3459.

-Dr. Mohammed Qureshi

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