Hormone Therapy vs. Non-Hormonal Therapy | Which Is Best For Menopausal Relief?
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What Is Hormone Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), for short, is basically taking female hormones in the form of medications to replace the estrogen your body stops producing naturally during menopause.
The primary goal of HRT is to mellow down common menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and vaginal discomfort. Other than that, it helps prevent bone loss and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women.
Having said that, you must factor in the risks associated with this therapy, such as the type of treatment, dosage, duration, and individual health factors. Personalized treatments have shown the best results, so it is better to devise a plan according to your individual situation.
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Who Can Benefit from Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is the best route if you are in good health and experience the following symptoms:
- Moderate to severe hot flashes: Systemic release of estrogen is the most effective treatment for relieving hot flashes and night sweats for a peaceful day and rest at night.
- Vaginal Discomfort: Estrogen helps ease vaginal dryness, itching, burning, and discomfort during intercourse.
- Bone loss prevention: After the addition of this hormone, osteoporosis, a condition characterized by bone thinning, is seen to improve to a considerable extent.
- Early menopause or estrogen deficiency: In case of early menopause or ovarian insufficiency, your body has less estrogen. This therapy can help reduce the risk of health conditions like cardiovascular issues, stroke, dementia, and mood changes.
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Non-Hormonal Treatments for Menopause
While hormone therapy is a wave of magic spells for some, others still prefer non-hormonal alternatives. These options do provide relief for menopausal symptoms but are not as potent as estrogen therapy. Here are a few alternatives:
– SSRIs for Hot flashes: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Brisdelle, have FDA approval for treating hot flashes. Another drug, oxybutynin, is best for overactive bladder.
– Vaginal symptoms: Vaginal lubricants (e.g., K-Y, Astroglide) and moisturizers (e.g., K-Y Liquibeads, Replens) can help alleviate discomfort and dryness.
Regular exercise improves many menopausal side effects, like weight gain, sleep disturbances, memory, and bone weakening.Kegel exercises that support pelvic muscle strength can aid in reducing urinary incontinence. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine and consider working with a licensed physical therapist or exercise physiologist for a safe and effective plan.
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. While a balanced diet is the best approach for obtaining essential nutrients, some women may require supplements, such as calcium and vitamin D, to maintain bone health.