Considering Hormone Replacement Therapy? Ask These Questions First
Hormone replacement therapy — the use of medications containing hormones to replace those the body is no longer making sufficiently — has been the go-to treatment option for a number of health conditions for many years, including menopause symptoms in women and low testosterone symptoms in men. Yet you may have heard that hormone replacement therapy can be dangerous. Is there truth to these rumors, or can hormone replacement therapy provide benefits for your overall health? Here are some considerations to help you determine if you could benefit from hormone replacement therapy as you seek to achieve your health goals.
How Severe Are Your Symptoms?
One of the first considerations to make when determining if hormone replacement therapy is right for you is if your symptoms are severe. Women who are dealing with intense hot flashes, vaginal dryness and a low quality of life due to other menopause symptoms may need hormone replacement therapy to restore their normal quality of life. Those who are dealing with bone loss may need hormone replacement therapy to protect their bone health. Men who find that their sexual fulfillment, physical endurance and overall mood are dampened by low testosterone levels may wish to consider treatment. Those with mild symptoms may not need treatment.
What Is Your Age and Family Health History?
Age is another consideration to make, as some of the potential complications from hormone replacement therapy increase as a person gets older. For example, women who are in their 50s and starting menopause may see a lower risk of heart and brain problems if they choose hormone replacement therapy. Yet those who are over 60 may have a higher risk with treatment. Women who are younger than 50 and dealing with menopause symptoms may need hormone replacement to reduce the risk of complications from estrogen insufficiency, such as bone loss. Your age will help determine whether hormone replacement is the right solution for your health needs.
Family health history is another consideration that must be made. If you have a family or a personal history of heart attack, blood clots, stroke or hormone-related cancers, you may wish to find an alternative option for dealing with your symptoms. If, on the other hand, your family history is free of these risks, then hormone replacement therapy is less of a risk for you.
Sometimes family history can show a need for hormone replacement therapy, rather than an increased risk. For example, men who are at high risk of heart disease and who have low testosterone can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke with male hormone replacement therapy. It's important to consider your whole health picture when making this determination.
Is It Safe?
Even after answering these questions, you may still find yourself wondering if hormone therapy is a safe option to deal with your symptoms. The answer is yes. As with any medication, there are potential risks with hormone replacement therapy, but when managed with the oversight of a medical professional, you can safely use these medications to manage your symptoms while reducing your risk of complications. The keys are to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time possible, and to plan for regular follow-up care with your healthcare provider.
Are you considering hormone replacement therapy for your healthcare needs? Progressive Health and Rejuvenation wants you to know that hormone replacement therapy can be a safe option for treating your symptoms. Contact us to learn more about our treatment protocols and how they can benefit your health.