Facts and Myths About Treating Menopausal Symptoms with Hormone Replacement Therapy

Facts and Myths About Treating Menopausal Symptoms with Hormone Replacement Therapy

Menopause often brings to mind stereotypes like hot flashes and mood swings, yet it encompasses far more. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a viable solution for many, but myths about its safety and effectiveness persist, making decisions difficult.

At her practice in Los Gatos, California, women’s health expert Dr. Angela Pollard is dedicated to providing clear, factual information about menopause, HRT, and comprehensive gynecological care.

Perimenopause and menopause

Perimenopause marks the transition toward menopause, spanning 4-8 years. During this phase, women may experience a range of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irregular menstruation, fatigue, mood changes, and depression. 

Vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse are also common perimenopause issues.

The definition of menopause is when a woman hasn’t menstruated for 12 consecutive months. It typically occurs between ages 40 and 58; the average age of onset is 51. 

Surgical removal of the ovaries, radiation, chemotherapy, or primary ovarian insufficiency can also trigger menopause.

Dispelling myths about hormone replacement therapy

Myth: Hormone replacement therapy is unsafe.

Fact: HRT is generally safe for women under 60 or those within 10 years of menopause onset, and it can lower the risks of cardiovascular disease and other causes of mortality.

Myth: All hormone replacement therapies are identical.

Fact: HRT can replace estrogen through systemic hormone therapy, which includes pills, patches, rings, gels, creams, or sprays. For localized symptoms like vaginal or urinary issues, low-dose vaginal estrogen can be applied using creams, tablets, or rings.

For women with a uterus, Dr. Pollard might also recommend progesterone or a similar medication to prevent endometrial growth.

Myth: Hormone replacement therapy only eases severe symptoms.

Fact: Beyond alleviating hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness, HRT also helps prevent osteoporosis, fractures, and tooth loss and lowers the risk of diabetes and colon cancer.

Myth: Hormone replacement therapy involves a uniform approach.

Fact: HRT should be customized to each individual. A treatment plan, including the type and duration of therapy, should be determined based on personal needs and minimal effective dosages.

Myth: There's no control over menopause symptoms.

Fact: Lifestyle choices play a crucial role in managing symptoms. Effective strategies include exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, quitting smoking, moderating alcohol intake, and managing stress.

Consulting with Dr. Pollard about HRT is another proactive step toward managing menopause.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause and considering hormone replacement therapy, call Dr. Pollard at (408) 300-9170 to learn about your options and whether HRT is suitable for you.

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