Menopause brings so many physical and psychological changes that it can be hard to tolerate for some women. But Gary F. Willen, MD, can help ease the process with hormone replacement therapy, restoring lost levels of estrogen and progesterone to decrease uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and bone loss. If you live near Carson City, Nevada, and you’re ready to take control of menopause, call or visit Tahoe Women’s Care online to set up an initial appointment. Dr. Willen also services the surrounding communities of Southlake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Minden, and Gardnerville.
Hormone replacement therapy uses hormone treatments to replace levels of estrogen and progesterone that the ovaries stop producing during menopause. In your childbearing years, those hormones control your menstrual cycle.
During the first part of the cycle, estrogen causes your endometrium to thicken in preparation for fertilization. Then, when estrogen levels dip, the body sheds the endometrium during menstruation.
When estrogen levels dip during perimenopause and menopause, it causes numerous changes in your body. Replacing those hormones helps ease some of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
There are two types of hormone replacement therapy: systemic and local.
Systemic hormone replacement therapy delivers estrogen to the body’s tissues through your bloodstream. Dr. Willen applies local treatments to one external area, typically around the vagina, to relieve vaginal dryness.
From there, the type of hormones he recommends depend on whether or not you’ve had a hysterectomy. If you still have your uterus, Dr. Willen recommends an estrogen and progestin combination.
Taking estrogen by itself can increase endometrial tissue build-up in your uterus, increasing your risk of endometrial cancer. Progesterone thins out that lining, decreasing that risk. So, it’s important to combine progesterone with estrogen therapy.
If you’ve had a hysterectomy, you may be a good candidate for estrogen-only therapy. Estrogen is available in a low dose in the following forms:
Hormone replacement therapy may help you manage some of the symptoms of menopause caused by low estrogen levels including:
Although hormone replacement therapy can ease some of these symptoms, it’s important to remember that it’s not meant to slow the aging process.
Since everyone’s body reacts so differently to menopause and therapy, it’s important to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Willen. You ought to weigh the benefits against potential side effects and make sure you’ve considered all the alternatives.
Dr. Willen suggests replacement therapy at the lowest dose possible for the shortest timespan. It may take some trial and error to find the right approach for you, but Dr. Willen evaluates continued use on a case-by-case basis if symptoms persist.
If your menopause symptoms are bothersome, contact Dr. Willen by phone or online to discuss hormone replacement therapy.
*Individual results may vary