Hormone therapy is a medical treatment that can help relieve the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. Hormone therapy also is called “hormone replacement therapy” or “menopausal hormone therapy.” The average age that women go through menopause is 51. Usually beginning in your mid-40s, you enter a transition phase called perimenopause.
Your hormone levels can go up and down during perimenopause. This can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, pain during sex, sleep problems, and night sweats.
How does Hormone Therapy work?
As you approach menopause, your ovaries get smaller and gradually stop making estrogen. The goal of hormone therapy is to replace and balance your body’s supply or estrogen. Estrogen can relieve symptoms of menopause in two ways:
- Systemic estrogen therapy. Estrogen is released into the bloodstream and travels to the organs and tissues where it is needed. Examples include pills, skin patches, gels, and sprays.
- Local estrogen therapy. Women who only have vaginal dryness may take local estrogen therapy in the form of a vaginal ring, tablet, or cream. These forms release small doses of estrogen directly into the vaginal tissue.
You and your ob-gyn can talk about what form may work best for you. You can decide based on your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.
Traditional hormone replacement therapy is a form of medication that contains female hormones- estrogen and sometimes progesterone. Hormone replacement therapy aims to help treat various issues, including sexual discomfort, hot flashes, bone density, and sex drive. Some basic forms of hormone therapy include systemic options (that come in various options such as a pill, patch, or ring) as well as low-dose vaginal products that help minimize the amount of estrogen absorbed in the body. For women experiencing hypoactive sexual desire disorder, specific versions of bio-identical hormones known as pellets may serve as an effective treatment.
What are alternatives to Hormone Therapy?
Many women are interested in options other than hormone therapy to treat menopause symptoms such as:
- Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants
- Non Hormonal medications
- Plant and herbal supplements, including some soy products
It also is important to know that few plant and herbal supplements have been studied for safety or effectiveness. Talk with your ob-gyn about which type of treatment is right for you.
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones come from plant sources and are similar to hormones produced by the body. They include commercially available products that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as compounded drugs that are not regulated by the FDA.
Customized compounded hormones pose more risk because they vary in strength and purity. That means you can take too little or too much of a hormone without knowing it. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends FDA-approved hormone therapy over compounded hormone therapy.
What Hormone Therapies are available to patients of TP4W?
In addition to the traditional estrogen and progesterone therapies, TP4W is proud to use an FDA-approved bioidentical hormonal pellet called “Testopel.”
Testopel pellets deliver consistent, healthy levels of testosterone for 3-5 months in women avoiding the fluctuations of hormone levels seen with other methods of delivery. Further, these pellets do not increase the risk of blood clots as can occur in rare cases with estrogen replacement therapy because they do not contain estrogen.
In studies, when compared to conventional hormone replacement therapy, pellets have been shown to be excellent for relief of menopausal symptoms and improvement in sex drive, libido, sexual response, and performance.
For questions about any of our Hormone Therapy services, we recommend the following pages:
To schedule an appointment to speak with our physicians for these are any of our services, please call our office at (919) 678-6900.