For many women, the onset of menopause can come with a whole host of issues. Symptoms may include hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, vaginal dryness, and frequent urination, to name a few. While this is a normal part of aging, it can truly seem torturous for women going through it. To help women treat some of these menopause symptoms, qualified physicians can prescribe either traditional or bio-equivalent hormone replacement therapy.

Hormone therapy’s main purpose is to replenish depleted or imbalanced estrogen and/or progesterone levels in order to alleviate negative symptoms and to regain optimum mental and emotional wellness, as well as physical wellness. The type of hormone replacement therapy you may need will depend on your hormone levels. At times, both progesterone and estrogen are used, whereas other times, only estrogen is used. In some cases, testosterone may be used. If you suffer from hormone imbalance, had a hysterectomy, or are going through peri-menopause or menopause, hormone therapy could very well be the solution you are looking for.

Depending on the medication, there are some risks associated with traditional hormone therapy, particularly for those with a family history of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, or blood clots. For instance, Premarin (estrogen) was proven to have zero negative effects regarding heart disease and breast cancer, whereas studies on Prempro (a combination of estrogen and progestin) indicated that there may be a slight negative influence on breast cancer and heart disease in those who are genetically susceptible. However, it is important to note that the findings were not able to conclusively say that hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. Studies and research have shown that the risks of hormone therapies vary depending on if estrogen is given alone or with a progestin, your current age, age at menopause, the type and dose of estrogen, and other health risks including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and your family’s medical history.

Regardless of some of the reported health risks associated with hormone therapy, estrogen is regarded as the most effective treatment against menopause symptoms. Furthermore, there have been reports of improved muscle function and reduced risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart failures or heart attacks attributed to hormone therapy. Some even claim that hormone replacement therapy can be “quite effective” when it comes to preventing skin aging. The known benefits might offset the risks if you’re healthy and happen to be suffering from hot flashes, osteoporosis, premature ovarian insufficiency, or are under 40 and stopped having periods. Women who go through early menopause or from have their ovaries surgically removed under the age of 45 are at a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, early death,

Parkinson’s-like symptoms, depression, and anxiety.

If you are suffering from hormonal imbalance and are seeking hormone replacement, talk to a reputable OBGYN about your options. Establishing clear communication about your issues, concerns, options, and needs with your physician is extremely important to ensure you have a positive experience and optimal health.