What to Expect With Hormone Replacement Therapy

What to Expect With Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, bone loss — these are some of the major side effects of menopause that we can address through hormone replacement therapy. Here’s a look at how this treatment works.

In your mid to late 40s, your ovaries start to shut down, and you begin your journey through perimenopause and menopause. Though the idea of not having your menstrual cycles anymore is appealing, this hormonal transition can leave you with unwelcome side effects. From vaginal dryness to hot flashes, the loss of hormones can have a major impact on your life.

To help ease some of the symptoms of menopause, the team of board-certified OB/GYNs here at Bay Area Physicians for Women’s Health offers hormone replacement therapy.

Here’s a look at what you can expect with hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Evaluating your hormone levels and health

Before we embark on hormone replacement, we first want to determine the existing levels of estrogen and progesterone in your system. Through a blood test, we can get an accurate count of your reproductive hormones to give us a better idea about the level of hormone replacement that will benefit you most.

We also evaluate your current and past health to figure out which combination of hormones will work best. For example, if you don’t have a uterus, we may use only estrogen hormones. If your uterus is still intact, we will likely suggest a combination of progesterone and estrogen.

Lastly, if you have a history of reproductive cancer, HRT may not be an option.

Deciding on delivery method

There are several ways in which we can deliver replacement hormones. If you’re only dealing with vaginal dryness, we may recommend a more targeted hormonal treatment, such as a vaginal cream or suppository. In using these methods, we’re only delivering hormones to a specific area.

If, like many women, you’re struggling with a host of side effects after menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, a decline in vaginal health, and bone loss, a systemic approach may be best. By systemic, we’re referring to introducing the replacement hormones into your bloodstream, and they will circulate throughout your body. There are several delivery methods, including:

  • Pills
  • Patches
  • Injections
  • Vaginal rings
  • Gels
  • Sprays

We also offer bioidentical HRT, an approach involving slow-release pellets that we place under your skin. Bioidentical hormone pellets last about three to four months, at which point we can implant more pellets.

Results from your HRT

When it comes to how quickly you will see results from your HRT, it really varies from one woman to the next and depends on the severity of symptoms. That said, most women report positive results about three weeks after starting HRT.

When it comes to how successful these results are, this, too, varies between women, We can say that The North American Menopause Society calls HRT, “The most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.”

If we haven't answered your questions about HRT here or you’d like to find out whether HRT is right for you, contact our office in Mobile, Alabama, to set up an appointment.