Women have a lot to think about when it comes to their hormones.
In a normal month, your hormone levels may fluctuate.
Other times, you might be feeling tired or irritable and chalk it up to any number of things going on in your life.
At what point do you begin to look at “not feeling like myself” as a sign of possible hormone imbalance?
After all, it’s not as though you get a text or email from your body that says “today is the day you need to start hormone therapy”. Though that would be nice :)
What Are the Risks?
A woman who begins hormone therapy from 10-20 years after the onset of menopause (or who is 60 or older when starting hormone therapy) is at a much greater risk of the conditions such as stroke, heart disease, blood clots or even cancer.
Conversely, women who begin hormone therapy prior to turning 60, or within ten years of menopause, are more likely to have more benefit and less risk.
The risks associated with hormone therapy are also highly dependent on whether estrogen is given alone, or is combined with progestin, as well as on the individual woman’s health and family medical history.
Despite the potential risks, estrogen remains the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms and may outweigh the risks, particularly if you are healthy.
It might be time to consider hormone therapy if:
- You stopped having periods prior to the age of 40
- You lost the normal function of your ovaries prior to the age of 40
- You have lost bone mass and are showing no benefit from other osteoporosis treatments
- You are experiencing moderate to severe hot flashes
- You are experiencing other moderate to severe symptoms of menopause
In particular, women who have experienced premature menopause may experience more protective benefits of hormone replacement therapy than risk.
If you are not significantly bothered by menopausal symptoms and you started menopause after the age of 45, you might be able to skip hormone therapy, although you might want to consider lifestyle changes and medications which offer long-term protection against heart disease and osteoporosis.
What Menopause Symptoms Does Hormone Therapy Help Relieve?
The most common symptoms of menopause, which could potentially benefit from hormone therapy, include:
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Stress incontinence
- Loss of libido
- Vaginal dryness
While the menopause symptoms of most women will pass within two to five years, that can be a very long time for moderate to serious symptoms. Further, without treatment, vaginal dryness can increase in severity, stress incontinence can persist, and osteoporosis risk can continue to increase with age.
How Hormone Replacement Therapy May Be Taken
Compounded Hormone Replacement Therapy comes in the form of a capsule. However, in retail, you can find HRT in other forms such as patches, implants, gel, or cream! Tablets are taken by mouth, a patch sticks to the skin, usually for a week at a time, and an implant consists of small pellets of estrogen which are inserted under the skin in the thigh, buttock or tummy region.
While some women may obtain hormone replacement therapy from their doctor, others may have an individualized transdermal cream, capsules, sublingual drops, or suppositories made for them at a compounding pharmacy.
Compounding has had a tremendous impact on the practice of pharmacy over the years. Because each woman’s needs are patient-specific, a compounding laboratory will be able to produce a wide variety of dosage forms and combinations, tailored specifically to those needs.
Getting the Help You Need from Your Compounding Pharmacist
A qualified compounding pharmacist can provide recommendations, patient counseling, and hormone therapy optimization, which ensures the safe, effective management of menopausal symptoms through the use of HRT.
Bio-identical hormones are the key to successful hormone replacement therapy. At Archway, we focus on your specific menopausal symptoms, including irritability, depression, a decrease in sex drive, mood swings, insomnia, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
We compound your hormone replacement therapy from scratch, made to order, just for you. This allows us to customize dosages and delivery methods, making available substances which you cannot obtain through a traditional pharmacy.
Talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy to find out if it’s right for you. Or, if you have questions and aren’t sure where to start, one of our pharmacists may be able to point you in the right direction or help you with a saliva testing kit to start the process.