by Aymee Wilson, Owner & Founder, Wilson Aesthetics
Hormone Replacement Therapy frequently is used to treat women who experience menopause symptoms caused by the natural decline of hormone levels associated with aging.
During perimenopause and menopause, women can experience uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating physical and emotional symptoms. Many women are familiar with the use of hormone therapy to help alleviate vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, but there are other benefits associated with hormone replacement therapy.
In addition to treatment of hot flashes, the FDA has approved this kind of therapy for prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and for the treatment of vulvovaginal symptoms associated with menopause.
Vulvovaginal symptoms including vaginal dryness, tissue atrophy and painful intercourse can be especially debilitating for some women, and genitourinary symptoms such as recurring urinary tract infections, incontinence and overactive bladder can have a negative impact on quality of life.
Use of hormone replacement therapy, specifically vaginal estrogen, may improve sexual function in women with vulvovaginal symptoms and improve genitourinary symptoms.
Other benefits include: improvement in skin thickness, elasticity and collagen; less joint pain and stiffness; a reduction in fracture risk; and improvements in sleep.
Studies have demonstrated hormone replacement therapy significantly reduces the diagnosis of new-onset Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and observational studies suggest a reduced incidence of colorectal cancer in women taking this therapy.
Although not used to treat depression, it may enhance mood and improve overall sense of well-being.
Hormone options include synthetic or bio-identical estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Routes of administration include oral, topical, vaginal and pellets placed under the skin. Hormone replacement therapy should be individualized, and women should consult with a knowledgeable health care professional to discuss risks and benefits and determine if this therapy is right for them.