Menopause could use a good public relations agent. It’s a natural phase of a woman’s development, but with all its unpleasant symptoms, it’s no walk in the park.
At the Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia, Dr. Melissa Delgado and our expert team of nurse practitioners take your suffering to heart. Your symptoms are unique and so is our approach to treating them.
We take into account your medical history, the severity of your symptoms, and your feelings and opinions so we can customize a treatment plan as individual as you are. This may include a variety of techniques, such as acupuncture, meditation, medication, or hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Whichever combination of treatments you and Dr. Delgado choose, you can trust that they will be safe, effective, and intended to enrich the quality of your life. If HRT becomes part of your menopausal journey, here are some things you should know.
Menopause officially begins when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months. So if you still have intermittent bleeding or irregular periods, you’re considered perimenopausal. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 48 and 55, but plenty fall outside those ranges. There are no hard-and-fast rules, so don’t worry if you experience things differently.
Here are a few of the most common menopause symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Dry vagina/painful sex
- Urination problems
Can I trust hormone replacement therapy?
First things first — Dr. Delgado always begins with a thorough exam and a health history to make sure HRT is right for you. That’s where her holistic approach to health care makes a big difference in your life.
Dr. Delagado’s number one priority is your safety. She understands HRT comes with some cautions attached, but for many women, the benefits outweigh the risks. You may have heard about the potential links between HRT and heart disease and breast cancer, but these outcomes have not been proven. In fact, some studies have demonstrated that HRT can actually reduce your risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
Benefits of hormone replacement therapy
HRT is the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, but it’s not for everybody. Studies show that any risks associated with HRT tend to increase if it’s been more than 10 years since you reached menopause, if you’re over 60 years of age, or if you have a higher-than-average risk for blood clots or stroke.
If you’re a good candidate for HRT, here are some of the benefits you can expect:
HRT relieves menopause symptoms
This is the HRT benefit most people know about and the primary reason women use it. Whether you take your HRT in pill form, as a patch, a spray, or a gel, you’ll notice definite relief from your hot flashes. These forms are called systemic therapies because they are absorbed into your system and are used throughout your body.
If your main complaint is vaginal dryness or urinary problems, Dr. Delgado might give you a cream, a suppository, or a ring that’s inserted into your vagina to relieve those symptoms. These are called genitourinary hormones because they affect that specific region of your body.
HRT can revive your sex drive
After menopause, 30%-70% of women report a lack of sexual desire. This is no surprise, as their reproductive hormones have decreased significantly. However, 44% of women who take HRT that contains both estrogen and progesterone report an increase in their libido.
If your sex life and your interest in it has waned since menopause, HRT may help turn things around.
HRT does not increase your risk of breast cancer and heart disease, and may help decrease the risk of osteoporosis
Contrary to the popular school of thought regarding the connection between HRT and health issues such as breast cancer and heart disease, some global studies have shown that in the right doses and with the right combination, HRT does not increase your risk for these conditions. It has also been shown to maintain bone density while you’re taking it which is important, as many older women suffer from bone loss.
HRT can help you sleep better
Because hormone replacement therapy addresses hot flashes and night sweats, many women find they sleep much better. Sleep, of course, is integral to your overall health and is essential to your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Insufficient sleep has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. So if you are missing out on sound sleep due to your menopause symptoms, talk to Dr. Delagado about how HRT might help you get some rest.
Call us today to schedule a consultation or click the “Request Appointment” button. Relief from your menopause symptoms is an office visit away.