In the years before you have your last period, your body’s estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate. This can cause the symptoms people associate with menopause, such as hot flashes and mood swings. In some cases, these symptoms go away after you have your last period. In others, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help with symptom management.
“For women who experience hot flashes and night sweats, HRT can be a helpful treatment option,” said Caresse Wesley, DO, family medicine physician with CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group. “It can also help prevent bone loss and fractures, both of which become more of a risk during menopause.”
Some forms of HRT have a combination of estrogen and progesterone, while others have only estrogen. If you choose to take HRT, make sure to follow up with your provider every three to six months to check if it is still necessary.
Who Should Not Use HRT?
As with all medications, HRT is not without risks. If you have any of these health concerns, speak with your provider about other ways to treat your symptoms.
You should not use HRT if you:
- Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
- Have been diagnosed with certain types of cancer
- Have liver disease
- Have cardiovascular problems, including blood clots, heart attack or stroke
Ask your primary care provider (PCP) if hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate your symptoms. If you don’t have a PCP, visit www.CHISaintJosephHealth.org to find one who is right for you.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.