Do you have hot flashes that leave you drenched in sweat? Feelings of moodiness or anxiety that have your family hiding from you? (Even the dog?) Have you experienced weight gain to the degree that you can’t find one thing to wear in your closet? Are you feeling mentally foggy and forgetful? Leaving your keys in the fridge and the raw chicken in the cupboard?
It’s possible you may be suffering from a hormone imbalance. It’s very likely estrogen replacement therapy can help.
What Is Estrogen Replacement Therapy?
Hormone imbalances can bring on a host of symptoms that can be annoying or uncomfortable at best. At worst, they can be life-changing and even life-threatening. Women who have low or elevated estrogen levels not only experience hot flashes, moodiness, anxiety, weight gain, brain fog and more, but are also at higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) using bioidentical hormones can change all that. Bioidentical hormones are cultivated from plants. Unlike synthetic hormones, their natural composition is easier on the human body and reduces the likelihood of dangerous side effects.
ERT supplements natural hormone levels. For women who’ve gone through surgical menopause (hysterectomy), ERT is administered in the form of estrogen alone. For women experiencing natural menopause, progesterone is combined with estrogen, which decreases the risk of endometrial cancer.
Am I a Good Candidate for ERT?
For women experiencing menopausal symptoms that are interfering with their quality of life, ERT is a good option. You may want to consider ERT if you are perimenopausal or menopausal and experiencing:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Brain fog
- Decreased libido
ERT will help balance the levels of estrogen and progesterone, leading to:
- Easing of menopausal symptoms
- Increased energy
- Clearer thinking
- Improved vaginal health
- Decreased bone loss
- Improved libido
However, there are women for whom ERT is not recommended. They include:
- Women with mild menopausal symptoms
- Women at risk for osteoporosis
- Women with a family history of breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, blood clots, or stroke
As with any medical procedure, it’s important that you discuss treatments, side effects, risks, and benefits with a medical professional.
What’s the Best Type of ERT for me?
ERT comes in many forms. Depending upon your lifestyle, some forms may be preferable over others:
- Pills. The most common form of ERT, pills are usually taken daily. Oral ERT is also the most studied form of estrogen, so the risks and benefits are well known. Side effects can include painful, swollen breasts, vaginal discharge, headache, and nausea.
- Patches. Patches are changed once or twice a week, making them more convenient than taking a daily pill. Because patches go directly into the bloodstream via the skin, they bypass the liver, making them a safe alternative for people with liver problems. Side effects are the same as those of pills, but generally milder.
- Creams, Gels, and Sprays. As with patches, topical ERT is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. However, it’s important to be sure they are completely dry before putting on clothes, as they can rub off before being fully absorbed.
- Vaginal Suppositories, Rings, and Creams. These work particularly well for women who experience vaginal dryness, itchiness, and burning or pain during intercourse. However, they’re not effective in dealing with other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. Dosing is generally insertion once every three months, making them very convenient. Typically, they work locally, making them safer than other forms because they don’t expose the entire body to high doses of estrogen.
Is ERT safe?
In 2002, the results of a study performed by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) revealed that the combination of non-bioidentical (synthetic) hormones increased a woman’s risk for breast cancer, heart attack, and stroke. Then in 2004, investigators of the WHI study published further analysis of the original study, finding that some of the risks reported in 2002 may have been over-estimated. In fact, the new findings suggested that for women between 50-59 years of age, there tended to be lower risk of heart disease and stroke with the use of bioidentical hormones.
Bioidenticals are not human in origin but identical in organic structure and function to human hormones. Extracted from plants such as soybeans and wild yams, bioidentical hormones are designed to replicate the same chemical structure present and naturally occurring in a woman’s body.
Because these hormones are derived naturally, designed to match a woman’s individual hormonal needs, and can be easily metabolized, they are preferable to synthetic hormones.
You Can Find Relief Today
Back in the mid-1800s, English physicians believed that the cure for what ailed menopausal women could be found in a range of caustic, harmful compounds including vaginal injections with an acetate of lead solution. By the Victorian Age, things got even worse, as menopausal women were diagnosed with “climacteric insanity” and committed to asylums.
While menopause may make you feel a little crazy, we all know that being locked away someplace isn’t the solution.
You can find relief from your menopause symptoms today. If you’re suffering and your quality of life is diminished, there are effective alternatives available to you in the form of Estrogen Replacement Therapy.