If you’re struggling with the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany menopause, you might be wondering if hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help. For decades women have received mixed messages about HRT, and it can be hard to navigate the ever-changing research.
Patricia Nevils, MD, and her experienced team at Vibrant Woman Health Center in Lafayette, Louisiana can help steer you toward a solution. With more than two decades of experience as an OB/GYN practitioner, Dr. Nevils has studied hormone replacement extensively and will work with you to determine the best course of action.
Read on to learn more about menopause and when hormone replacement therapy is the best solution for your menopause symptoms.
What is menopause and what are the symptoms?
Menopause is not an illness to be treated. It’s a natural and inevitable part of the aging process. It begins once a woman has been period-free for 12 months. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles and other symptoms, is called perimenopause.
Although menopause is a natural process, you don’t have to struggle through this major change on your own. At Vibrant Woman Health Center, Dr. Nevils provides you with the expert support you need to manage the symptoms and health changes that occur with menopause and perimenopause.
The average age of menopause is 51, but symptoms often begin when women are in their mid-40s and last an average of seven years. Some women experience symptoms for shorter or longer periods of time.
The most common symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Night sweats
- Changes in libido
- Painful intercourse
Recent studies demonstrate hormone replacement therapy is safe when used correctly. In fact, the North American Menopause Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and The Endocrine Society all agree — most healthy women can use HRT for relief of symptoms.
However, age is an important consideration in determining whether HRT is the best solution for your menopause symptoms. Be sure to share with your doctor the age your symptoms began, as HRT can be initiated in women aged younger than 60 years or who are within 10 years of menopause onset. For women 10-20 years past menopause onset, the risks may outweigh the benefits for some hormone therapies.
Women with early onset menopause (symptoms beginning before age 40) or who have lost ovarian function due to surgery or a medical condition should also consider HRT.
How severe are your menopause symptoms?
During menopause, hormone levels change. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop significantly, and for many women, uncomfortable symptoms follow.
Not all women experience the symptoms of menopause in the same way. For women whose symptoms are mild and don’t interrupt daily life, HRT or other treatment options may not be necessary.
Hormone replacement therapy is most useful for women with moderate-to-severe symptoms. Different types of HRT have different benefits. Dr. Nevils will evaluate your unique situation to determine the type of HRT for you.
Do you have other underlying health conditions?
As with any medical treatment, it’s important to consider other underlying health conditions before starting HRT. While HRT can help some conditions, such as bone loss, it can exacerbate others.
If you have a history of heart disease or associated risk factors, a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, or endometrial cancer, active gallbladder disease, a history of blood clots in the legs or lungs, liver disease, or a history of unexplained vaginal bleeding, HRT might not be for you.
At Vibrant Women Health Center, Dr. Nevils meets with you to go over your medical history and any current conditions. Together you’ll determine a comprehensive, tailored course of therapy.
If you’re struggling with the symptoms of menopause, getting the right care is essential. Dr. Nevils and the skilled team at Vibrant Women Health Center can help. Call or schedule an appointment online today.