Menopause Treatment / Hormone Replacement Therapy

menopauseIn the past, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was widely recommended for the treatment of menopause and menopausal symptoms, as well as for the prevention of osteoporosis and heart disease. A large study known as the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) shed new light on how HRT is viewed.

What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy is used by Dr. Valone your Des Moines gynecologist to supplement the body with either estrogen alone or estrogen and progesterone in combination during and after menopause. Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that are produced by a woman’s ovaries.

When the ovaries no longer produce adequate amounts of these hormones (as in menopause), HRT can be given to supplement the body with adequate levels of estrogen and progesterone.

What Are the Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

There are two main types of hormone replacement therapy:

Estrogen Therapy: Estrogen is taken alone. Dr. Valone your Des Moines gynecologist most often prescribes a low dose of estrogen to be taken as a pill or patch every day. Estrogen may also be prescribed as a cream. You should take the lowest dose of estrogen needed to relieve menopause symptoms. Rarely if ever does Dr. Valone prescribe estrogen only in a women with her uterus in place.  The risk for endometrial cancer is increased if estrogen alone is taken.

Progesterone/Progestin-Estrogen Hormone Therapy: Also called combination therapy, this form of HRT combines doses of estrogen and progesterone (progestin is a synthetic form of progesterone). Estrogen and a lower dose of progesterone also may be given continuously to prevent the regular, monthly bleeding that can occur when combination HRT is used. The current recommendation is to take the lowest dose of hormone therapy for the shortest time possible. Like all prescription medications, HRT should be re-evaluated each year.

Estrogen is prescribed to relieve:

  • Hot flashes;
  • Vaginal dryness that can result in painful intercourse;
  • Other problematic symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats and dry, itchy skin.

We want to be your Des Moines gynecologist; if you feel that you may be a candidate for Hormone Replacement Therapy, call our office today at (515) 225-7201 to set up an appointment or to talk to any of our highly qualified staff members. We look forward to serving you.

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