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HORMONE THERAPY CAN HELP WITH THE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE—HOT FLASHES, NIGHT SWEATS, VAGINAL DRYNESS AND MOOD SWINGS. BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT’S RIGHT FOR YOU?


A normal part of aging is the start of menopause—another milestone in every woman’s life. Men also face mid-life changes, but the changes for women are more dramatic. Women are considered “postmenopausal” when their menstrual periods have stopped for one year. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 54, and the average woman will begin menopause around age 51. A woman can also go through menopause at an earlier age if she’s had surgery to remove her ovaries. Around the time of menopause, your body starts to produce less of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. When this happens, you may start to develop some symptoms. But menopause is different for every woman—not everyone experiences the same symptoms. The most common include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, trouble sleeping and mood swings.


Estrogen also helps keep your bones strong, and when estrogen levels fall, your bones become brittle and can break more easily. So, it’s important to take steps to keep your bones strong and healthy. Sometimes, the symptoms of menopause go away after a few months without treatment, but there’s no way to know if and when they’ll stop. If your symptoms are bothersome, there are many treatments available. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the options. One such treatment that is often prescribed for the symptoms of menopause is hormone therapy.


How hormone therapy works


When a woman is on hormone therapy, she takes regular doses of estrogen alone or estrogen with progesterone to replace the falling levels of the hormones in her body. Women who have a uterus


should take estrogen and progestin (the synthetic form of progesterone). Progestin protects a woman from uterine cancer. Women who have had a hysterectomy—who do not have a uterus—can take estrogen alone. Hormone therapy can be taken in several ways orally, through a patch on the skin, with a vaginal cream or


gel, with an


intrauterine device (IUD) or vaginal ring. Your doctor will discuss which option is best for you based on your symptoms. For instance, if you are having vaginal dryness, but not hot flashes, you may be prescribed a vaginal cream or gel. The schedule for what days you take the hormones vary, depending on whether you’ve had a hysterectomy and need to take progestin. The two common schedules are:


Cyclic therapy


estrogen every day and progestin added for 10 to 14 days out of every four weeks


Continuous- combined therapy


Precautions


Like any medication, hormone therapy carries some risks. Long-term use of hormone therapy may increase a woman’s risk for heart attack, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer. Because of these risks, hormone therapy should be used only for a short time—never for long-term treatment of menopausal symptoms—and only if your symptoms are severe. Talk with your doctor about how long you should continue hormone therapy. Some women may need to continue therapy more than a year, but only you and your doctor can make that decision.


midwest health+wellness issue 1, 2014 21


estrogen and progestin every day


hormone therapy THE FACTS ABOUT


R E VI T ALI Z E YO U R HO RMO N ES


During menopause, the brain loses control over the hormonal system, causing our bodies to lose hormonal balance. Today, over 250 million women worldwide are experiencing menopausal symptoms, with thousands more becoming menopausal each day. Clinically- proven Amberen naturally balances your own hormones to alleviate symptoms, so you can return to a more youthful pre-menopausal state without side effects. Amberen reduces hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, sleeplessness, etc. Find out more about Amberen online at tryamberen.com.


Source: Lunada Biomedical; Los Angeles, CA


did you know?


Until you have gone a full year without a period, it’s still possible for you to get


pregnant. So be sure to keep using birth control while you’re going through menopause.


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