Is Hrt Treatment Advisable For Treating Perimenopause
Menopause begins on the date of your last menstruation. The time before this is called the perimenopause. It starts due to the reduced functioning of the ovaries and can cause mood fluctuations and other physical problems. Ovulation during this time is sporadic or may cease completely. The frequency of menstrual cycles becomes irregular as well as the flow. This phase may last up to ten years before menstruation finally stops.
Usually women experience symptoms like mood swings, altered sex drive and others which are very similar to PMS. The symptoms vary from woman to woman. Some suffer night sweats but not hot flashes. Severe and rapid mood changes, headaches and sleep disorders are common symptoms. Some women experience lack of sex drive accompanied by vaginal dryness and consequent painful intercourse. One of the very frequent problems is difficulty in concentrating. You don?t seem to forget everything and feel that you are losing your mind. There is a story of such a woman in a furniture store who wanted to call her husband to request him to come and pick up the table which she just bought. She just could not remember her own phone number. Her previous sales slips helped the salesclerk to locate her number. Such forgetfulness is common to women going through perimenopause.
Making some changes in your food habits and lifestyle can bring relief to perimenopausal symptoms. Foods rich in soy and flax combined with regular exercise help. Vitamin E supplements and a few herbal treatments are considered effective too.
A viable treatment option is Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT. To keep a balance in the hormone levels, a low dose birth control pill may be advised. An antidepressant to manage the mood swings and a progesterone to handle the PMS symptoms are two popularly prescribed medicines.
In the light of the many controversies surrounding HRT during the past few years, it is wise to discuss the clinical studies with the doctor before you decide which treatment is good for you. The doctor could prescribe an estrogen replacement therapy, or may find HRT suitable which is a mix of estrogen and a synthetic progesterone. Of course there are equal amount of advantages and disadvantages of HRT.
Study results published in 2002 showed HRT resulting in an increased chance of heart attack, blood clots and breast cancer. Chances of fracture and colorectal cancer however are reduced. The results never showed any protection against cognitive disorders and dementia for women above 65 years of age.
If your choice of therapy is HRT, the Food and Drug Administration advises to take the lowest dosage for the shortest duration of time. A estrogen-progesterone combination or estrogen-only treatment is no longer considered viable for the prevention of cardiac attacks.
HRT can be administered in various ways : estrogen-only pills, estrogen-progesterone combination pills, estrogen patches and cream. Pills can be taken in cycles or non-stop. The cyclic intake pills may result in breakthrough bleeding that is monthly, whereas continuous pill regimen may cause irregular bleeding, if at all.
Hormone patches are available. These skin patches when applied on the abdomen or buttocks release estrogen or estrogen-progesterone combination into the bloodstream. Patches are to be kept from three and a half day to seven days. When you apply a new patch, the old one is thrown away. Monthly bleeding may result from the use of patches.
Vaginal creams which release estrogen are also available. Smeared in the area locally around the vulva, eases vaginal dryness and urinary problems.
The best part about HRT is that it can be personalized to suit individual needs. Women should always inform the doctor if there is any discomfort which she feels or any side effects. The treatment can then be modified to alleviate the symptoms.
A woman experiencing perimenopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and mood fluctuations does have many choices for treating them. Only a doctor can tell you whether you should go for HRT. Or you go for herbal cures, physical exercise or other natural remedies. In case you find that you are not getting adequate relief by using these medications, then you should seriously consider HRT.
Amanda Thompsen is a staff writer at Aging Guide and is an occasional contributor to several other websites, including Wellness Digest.