As a woman approaches menopause, the levels of female hormones in her body can fluctuate. Lowered levels of some hormones can cause symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, and can contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was thought to relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and dementia.
Studies revealed that in some cases, HRT actually posed greater health risks to some women, and doctors prescribed HRT more sparingly.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
- Moderate to severe hot flashes
- Lowered bone mass
- Early onset menopause
- Anxiety or depression
Risks of having HRT
The largest clinical trial studying the effects of combined estrogen/progestin taken in pill form showed an increased risk for:
- Heart disease
- Blood clots
- Breast Cancer
Extrogen/progestin therapy may make the breast tissue appear more dense on mammograms, making it more difficult to detect breast cancer.
Treatment for Hormone Imbalance
There are a variety of approaches to HRT, including both synthetic and bio-identical hormones.
Systemic therapies are administered orally in pill form, or via a patch, gel, spray, or cream.
Vaginal approaches are administered via a vaginal ring, tablet, or cream.