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Questions about Hormone Therapy?
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Women who typically handle hormone replacement therapy well include those who start the therapy in their 50s. Women with moderate to severe hot flashes are most likely to benefit from it, as are those who experience pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse due to the vaginal dryness that comes with menopause.
Women who are at risk for osteoporosis may find hormone therapy especially effective, especially if they can’t tolerate other treatments for bone loss, such as biophosphonates. In addition, women who have an estrogen deficiency are helped by hormone replacement therapy. These include women who have experienced early menopause, those with primary ovarian insufficiency and women who have had their ovaries removed.
However, hormone replacement therapy isn’t for everyone. Women with the following conditions should avoid hormone therapy in most cases:
- Blood clots
- Heart disease or previous heart attack
- Gallbladder disease
- Pregnancy (known or suspected)
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Liver disease
- Breast, ovarian or endometrial/uterine cancer
In addition, many doctors recommend that women quit smoking before they embark on hormone replacement therapy.
For many women, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy far outweigh its risks. But it can increase the risk of several serious conditions, including:
- Blood clots
- Breast cancer
- Heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
The type of estrogen taken and the age at which you begin hormone therapy are important factors when it comes to certain risks. For example, if you still have your uterus and take estrogen without progestogen, your risk of endometrial/uterine cancer rises — but that risk is ameliorated by taking estrogen with progestogen. If you start hormone therapy after mid-life, you may have an increased risk of dementia (but if you start it during mid-life, your risk of dementia is actually reduced). In addition, the risk of breast cancer is more significant with long-term use of hormones.
Your personal health history also plays a factor in the decision to pursue hormone replacement therapy. If you have a personal or family history of any of the serious conditions listed above, you may decide that hormone therapy is not a good choice. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and benefits against each other.
Regardless of your personal risk, you should plan to take the lowest dosage of estrogen that you find helpful. Your doctor will want to check on you every three to six months to make sure that hormone replacement therapy is still appropriate.
Hormone Therapy for Women in Massachusetts
We’ll help you assess the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy for your unique body and lifestyle. We’ll listen to your concerns about your menopausal symptoms and go over your medical history to help you make the right decision.
As we listen to your needs, our doctors will help you find the best hormone therapy products and delivery system for you. We’ll make sure you get the lowest dose that you find effective, and we’ll provide the follow-up care you need.
Highly Individualized Hormone Therapy in Greater Boston
We understand that every woman is unique. We want to provide you with the best possible treatment to deal with your menopausal symptoms. That may include hormone replacement therapy — or we may decide together that, for you, the benefits aren’t worth it.
The decision to pursue hormone replacement therapy is a personal one. We are dedicated to having the conversation with you about this choice, taking you through the pros and cons so that you can feel comfortable that you are making the right decision for your health. Make an appointment with us today to learn if hormone therapy is right for you.