Choosing an HRT method

Hormone Replacement Therapy Options in Colorado Springs

Hormones produced by the ovaries are Estrogens: (Estrone (E1)), Estradiol (E2), Estriol (E3), Progesterone, Testosterone, and DHEA. Each of these hormones are responsible for stimulating receptors in our body that produce various physical and mental effects. These levels can individually decline with age causing a host of symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, mood changes, and low sex drive that can lead to women feeling “not her usual self” or commonly called “hormonal”. These symptoms can start before the end of women having a regular menstrual cycle (peri-menopause) or after the cessation of the menstrual cycle for one year (Menopause). Many women inquire about how to reduce these symptoms as they can often disrupt her quality of life. Replacing hormones in the form of medication is effective in reduction of symptoms, however some women chose to try over the counter products or other alternative therapies.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been a topic of controversy over the years due to the risks and benefits of the medication. Menopause and Peri-menopause can be a confusing and stressful period in a women’s life with physical and emotional changes. These changes can vary not only from month to month, but can linger on for a period of several years. Hormone replacement has been proven to be helpful in alleviating many of these symptoms, but does not come risk free. Previous to the Women’s health Initiative study in 2002, (HRT) was recommended from onset of peri-menopausal symptoms until well past post menopause. Early on, the choices for hormone replacement were limited to a small amount of prescription therapies, however today there are many prescription and non-prescription medications/treatments available.

Recently, there has been an interest in “bio-identical” hormone therapy (Bio-identical hormones are hormone compounds that are chemically identical to the natural hormones that are produced by our bodies and are not proven to be safer than traditional therapies but are effective for treating hormone imbalance). One advantage of bio-identical hormone compounds is that they can be prescribed and custom made to match an individual’s symptoms and hormone levels that are evaluated in saliva and/or blood samples. The individually designed compound for those women can be adjusted as needed as her symptoms change. Each woman who is going through hormonal transitions will have different ranges of symptoms. If she chooses to take HRT to help alleviate these symptoms, the standard of care is to give the smallest amount necessary to alleviate the symptoms for the shortest duration. This standard of care is due to the potential risks of stroke, heart attack, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis), and increased risk of breast cancer. Women who take HRT should understand that the benefits of reduced and improved physical and emotional symptoms can help her quality of life, but should be informed and understand the potential for the risks.