Menopause is a time of great change for women and one where confusion often looms heavy. There are pros and cons of estrogen therapy that can make it difficult to know whether to ask for or accept treatment or whether to suffer with the never-ending hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats that can make sleep elusive.
Yes, previous research has made estrogen hormone replacement sound dangerous. The higher degree of blood clots and heart attacks can have any woman turn and run to the nearest health food or vitamin shop in search for alternative means of treatment. This does not have to be the case. Arming oneself with the facts about estrogen therapy can uncover phenomenal benefits that can be achieved in a safe manner.
What are some of the benefits of estrogen therapy for menopausal women?
First up: the restoration of elasticity and lubrication to the vaginal tissue. This helps decrease the risk of infections, improves urinary incontinence, and restores libido, sexual arousal, and pleasure.
The next item high on the list of estrogen therapy benefits is the reduction or cessation of night sweats and hot flashes. No more soaked sheets and clothes changes to get through the day and night!
Another positive result of estrogen therapy is the lowering of bad (LDL) cholesterol and the raising of good (HDL) cholesterol.
Estrogen therapy can also help balance erratic mood swings and stabilize emotions.
About Estrogen Therapy
Estrogen therapy is not advised in women who have had or are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Females with blood clotting issues should also avoid estrogen therapy.
Kingsberg Medical has different types of estrogen hormone therapy, and knowing which one is best for your needs is vital before beginning treatment.
Estrogen pills can reduce the symptoms of menopause and lower the risk of developing osteoporosis. On the negative side, they can bring a slight increase in blood clot and stroke risks. When combined with synthetic progestin, estrogen therapy can increase heart attack and breast cancer risks. Oral estrogen should not be used by individuals with liver problems.
Estrogen patches are safe for women with liver issues as the estrogen bypasses that organ and goes through the skin into the bloodstream. There is a belief that the risk of blood clots is lower with estrogen patches, along with the risks of stroke and cancer. Do not expose estrogen patches to high heat, tanning beds, saunas, or direct sunlight.
Topical estrogen such as creams, gels, and sprays are absorbed directly into the skin and through to the bloodstream. This also makes them a safer alternative over pills. It is important to make sure not to allow the treated area to get wet or sweat until after the estrogen has had the chance to dry. Also, do not put on clothes until the area is completely dry. Remember to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after application. There have not been enough studies to determine safety factors at this time for topical estrogen therapy. Do not allow others to come into contact with the treated area until dry to avoid cross contamination.
Vaginal estrogen treatments may consist of suppositories, creams, and rings. These forms of hormone replacement therapy only treat the vaginal symptoms of menopause, so if there are other issues, this is not the best choice of treatment. Long-term use of vaginal estrogen is not recommended for women with an intact uterus as it may increase the endometrial cancer risk.
One very important thing to remember is that progestin and progesterone therapy are not the same things. Progesterone is a natural form of hormone replacement whereas progestin is synthetic. The use of progestin in menopausal women increases the risk factors exponentially. Progesterone is safe to use with or without estrogen therapy.
How Can Estrogen Therapy Actually Help?
Estrogen therapy can help women facing the adverse effects of menopause by entering the bloodstream and going directly to the estrogen receptors in the body. Aside from the benefits mentioned in the first section, other positive changes will occur.
Estrogen therapy helps to maintain strong bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. Estrogen works with testosterone, vitamin D, growth hormone, and calcium to stimulate bone production and keep it from slowing down as old bone cells are resorbed. This can prevent the concern that women lose up to 20 percent of their essential bone mass after menopause.
In order to avoid estrogen dominance where estrogen levels become too high, and progesterone levels are lower than needed, hormone replacement therapy specialists often prescribe progesterone cream to help maintain proper hormone balance. Speak with an HRT specialist before beginning any type of hormone replacement therapy.
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