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Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Be a Benefit to Senior Women?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or menopausal hormone therapy is a treatment used to relieve menopausal symptoms such as mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. An average menopausal woman who experiences menopause symptoms and hormonal imbalance/hormone imbalance (defined as either hormone deficiency or high hormone levels) would ideally take HRT to relieve her symptoms.

But can HRT actually be a benefit to senior women? Any treatment will always come with its share of pros and cons, but with HRT, it’s better to start early so the benefits will outweigh the risks. Hormone therapy must therefore start before the age of 60 or within a decade of menopause to avoid blood clots, breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Feel Like The True You With Hormone Replacement Therapy Today

Hormones determine so much of the way we look, feel, and act, which is why caring for your essential hormone levels is crucial to being the best you can be. RevitalizeYou MD can help you with all your hormone needs; contact us today to learn more.
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Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Recommended for Senior Women?

Hormone replacement therapy is believed to improve the quality of life and prolong the life of elderly women regardless of whether it was started at menopause or later, but it comes with some risks, and many reports claim that it’s better to start HRT early. Postmenopausal women should be properly oriented and educated about hormone replacement therapy, especially the fact that estrogen can lower the chances of death and disability from osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

Cleveland Clinic reported that one study has shown that hormone therapy that began early in postmenopausal women reduced death rate, heart failure, and heart attacks by a significant amount. These women who began taking hormone therapy early and used it for more than a decade were not at risk of stroke or breast cancer.

Hormone replacement therapy that had an estrogen-progestin pill (Prempro) increased the risk of blood clots, breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. In addition, those who start hormone therapy at age 60 or older, or more than a decade from the onset of their menopause, are at greater risk of the mentioned conditions. This is why hormone therapy must begin before the age of 60 or within a decade of menopause.

When it comes to bone health, hormone therapy has a lot of bone health benefits for women up to 60 years old. In some cases, they may continue HRT after 60 depending on their bone density and general health, among others. But one must note that it’s not very common to begin hormone therapy for bone health at 60 or after that. This is because, by the time we reach 60, our arteries become stiffer and women are more at risk of cardiovascular disease.

In general, HRT for women above 65 years old is still quite controversial. While there are still limited data about this, some research claims that women shouldn’t start HRT after they turn 60.

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone Replacement Therapy acronym on sticky notes

When you approach menopause, your ovaries produce less progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone is a hormone that occurs in the body naturally, and estrogen is a hormone that’s responsible for reproduction (Micronized progesterone is approved by the FDA for its use with estrogen as an element of HRT).

These hormones can affect the condition of your heart, your bones, and your vagina. Thankfully, it’s possible to replace these hormones with ones made in a lab — which is what we know as hormone replacement therapy or menopause hormone therapy.

While HRT can ease menopausal symptoms, we must first understand its benefits and risks.

HRT Benefits

HRT can:

  • Relieve night sweats and hot flashes (vasomotor symptoms)
  • Allow you to sleep better
  • Make sex less painful
  • Ease vaginal dryness and itching

More than this, HRT can also be beneficial to your health after menopause. HRT can also:

  • Lower the risk of dementia
  • Help prevent fractures due to osteoporosis (bone loss)
  • Make one less likely to develop heart disease

However, a document published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains that HRT shouldn’t be used for the prevention of coronary heart disease. This is because there isn’t enough evidence to confirm that long-term estrogen therapy/estrogen replacement therapy or hormone therapy use can improve cardiovascular-related outcomes.

On the other hand, a 2009 publication by NCBI reported that oral HRT has been associated with a 63% relative reduction in colorectal cancer risk in postmenopausal women after necessary adjustment for other known risk factors.

HRT Risks

The Women’s Health Initiative’s findings in 2002 show that HRT may slightly raise the chances of breast cancer, stroke, and heart disease in women who went through menopause and took a combination of estrogen and progestin (a form of progesterone).

It’s important to note, though, that many of the women in the study were above the age of 60 and the results weren’t clear. The publicity of this still caused many women to stop or not begin doing HRT.

Research has since shown that the benefits of HRT can be greater than the risks, but HRT can still heighten the risk factor of:

  • Endometrial cancer (If estrogen is taken without progestin and you still have your uterus)
  • Breast cancer risk
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots

When researching HRT, you may come across the term “bioidentical hormones” or “bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.” Bioidentical hormones are man-made estrogen and progesterone, so chemically, they’re the same as your hormones. While some of them are made by drug companies and are FDA-approved, others are produced by pharmacists according to doctors’ orders. They’re called compounded, and compounded bioidentical hormones haven’t been tested by the FDA for safety.

When you hear that bioidentical hormones are “natural,” it means they come from plants or animals, but they still need to be processed.

Lower the Chances of HRT Risks

Here are some measures you can take so hormone therapy will be less likely to cause issues:

  • Begin your HRT journey within 10 years of menopause or before you turn 60.
  • If you still have your uterus, take progesterone or progestin (Progesterone is one of the sex hormones that occur naturally. Progestogen is defined as the synthetic form of progesterone).
  • Take the lowest dose that works best for you for the shortest time possible.
  • Ask your doctor about other forms of HRT (other than patches, pills, mists, gels, vaginal creams, vaginal rings, and vaginal suppositories).

Your doctor may recommend against HRT if you have or have had:

  • Endometrial cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Blood clots
  • Unexpected vaginal bleeding

When Should I Start Taking HRT?

A senior woman, wearing a protective face mask, talks with a female nurse during a medical appointment

If you wish to start HRT, be sure to first discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor, and be sure to consider your medical history, age, personal preferences, and risk factors. For most women who use HRT for short-term treatment of menopausal symptoms, the benefits usually outweigh the risks.

HRT is a licensed treatment for osteoporosis prevention and can also be the choice of treatment for those starting treatment below 60 years old, especially those with premature or early menopause (Early menopause, or menopause before you’re 45, could mean that you don’t have enough estrogen that will protect the body, so you may need HRT to prevent disease). When you begin to feel menopausal symptoms, you could see a doctor to discuss what to do and how to proceed.

HRT can usually begin as soon as you start noticing symptoms of menopause. Let your doctor explain the different types of HRT available so she could also help you choose the best one for you (some options for treating menopausal symptoms include conjugated equine estrogen and systemic hormone therapy or systemic estrogen).

What Are the Alternatives to HRT?

Hormone replacement therapy is an effective and safe way to treat your symptoms, but some people still like to rely on home remedies to help them with their symptoms. Some alternatives include:

  • Changes in diet: Lessen your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and spicy food. Also, be sure to increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D. Limiting your intake of coffee and tea may help reduce hot flashes, while consuming foods that have calcium and vitamin D can make your bones stronger and boost your mood.
  • Regular exercise: Regular exercise can help you reduce your risk of osteoporosis. It can also improve your sleep quality and aid in weight management. 
  • Stress management: Mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy may be helpful ways to deal with stress.
  • Lifestyle changes: Having a ventilated space and quitting smoking are some of the ways to improve your quality of life.

Always remember that even though some alternative therapies have been backed by research, others have only anecdotal evidence as their support. Be sure to discuss with your doctor or healthcare provider before trying alternative treatments.

Experience Quality HRT With Revitalize You MD

Treatments such as vaginal estrogen are commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms (e.g., vaginal dryness, itching, and burning), but the best and safest treatment you can go for is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy — especially with Revitalize You MD.

At Revitalize You MD, our reliable medical staff will first do an assessment of your needs before they treat you with bioidentical hormone replacement products. We also treat patients depending on their specific imbalance, and we guarantee excellent and quality care. If you’re interested in receiving BHRT from us, contact us now at (678) 304 - 1850 or info@revitalizeyoumd.com.

Feel Like The True You With Hormone Replacement Therapy Today

Hormones determine so much of the way we look, feel, and act, which is why caring for your essential hormone levels is crucial to being the best you can be. RevitalizeYou MD can help you with all your hormone needs; contact us today to learn more.
CONTACT US

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