Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a type of hormone therapy for women that restores the normal balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body. HRT may be provided to prevent or treat menopausal symptoms. Since women are different when it comes to aging, their hormones also change accordingly. Therefore, if you are asking for the best time to get hormone replacement, you will get different answers.
Typically, the best time to start taking hormone replacement therapy would be as soon as you start experiencing menopause symptoms. These symptoms remind you that your body is no longer what it used to be, and it needs some assistance and may include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, thinning of the hair, mood disturbances, insomnia, etc. By the time you reach menopause, your periods might have become irregular or stopped altogether. Some women may start experiencing these symptoms as early as 30, while others as late as 50. Note that the difference in aging can be affected by a number of factors such as ethnicity, history of menstrual cycles, unhealthy lifestyle, chronic diseases, and genetics. Regardless of the time you start experiencing the symptoms; it’s never too late for the HRT. Women as old as 65 years can still benefit from the therapy.
How To Get Started On HRT
First, you need to have a talk with your general practitioner. They will take you through a few tests to determine which type of therapy is the best for your body and symptoms. Typically, you will have to have a blood test and pelvic exam as well as a full lab workup. Your physician may also recommend some additional tests depending on your personal situation. The blood test will help determine whether you are experiencing menopause or not, and it will tell the amount of estrogen, testosterone, FSH, and LH hormones in your body. Once you have selected the appropriate type of therapy, the practitioner will start by administering a low dosage of hormones to minimize any side effects.
If there are no contraindications, you can move on to the next step of having the therapy administered by using a pump instead of tablets or capsules. If you choose to have the therapy administered orally, it is recommended to start with a low dosage and increase it each month as your body adjusts.
Who Is Eligible to Receive HRT
Any woman experiencing symptoms of menopause is eligible to start hormone therapy. However, if you have the following conditions, it may not be advisable to be on this treatment program:
- Previous history of breast or ovarian cancer.
- You are allergic to any of the ingredients in the HRT, such as estrogens or progestins (both hormones).
- You have high cholesterol (over 200) or triglycerides (over 150), diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Previous history of a blood clot.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you think that you have any serious health problem that will affect your ability to take HRT, such as kidney anemia or heart conditions, or liver disease
- If you have had a stroke within the past three months
Side Effects of HRT
Treatment for menopause comes with minimal side effects. These may include the following:
- Breast tenderness and enlargement
- Weight gain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Vaginal itching and dryness
- Bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation
- Mood swings, memory changes, or depression
Most of these side effects are easily manageable. However, if it becomes a concern, you can contact your physician. Ask for a different dosage or a change in the type of therapy. They can also manage these side effects by suggesting some lifestyle changes such as weight loss, regular exercise, and stress reduction.
Hormone replacement therapy is designed to help women with menopause symptoms and improve their quality of life during their menopause years. If you need to know when is the best time to get hormone replacement therapy, the earlier you start, the better. Starting this treatment at an early age will give you more years to benefit from. If you are seeking for HRT services, feel free to contact us today at 205-352-9141.