Progressive Women's Healthcare

Facts and Myths About Treating Menopausal Symptoms with Hormone Replacement Therapy

Feb 02, 2024
Facts and Myths About Treating Menopausal Symptoms with Hormone Replacement Therapy

Women often struggle with the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. While hormone replacement therapy can frequently help, conflicting information can leave you feeling unsure and overwhelmed. Read on for the facts about this natural change.

We all know the cliches of menopause — including hot flashes and mood swings — but this life change is so much more than these annoying symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help, but with so many myths circulating, it's often hard to know what's the right medical decision for you.

At Progressive Women’s Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Lathan Overstreet and our highly skilled team can provide all the facts about menopause and HRT and meet your other gynecological needs.

Perimenopause and menopause

Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause and can last for four to eight years. Changes begin to happen during this phase.

Hot flashes are a common complaint, but they are not the only ones. Night sweats, insomnia, irregular periods, fatigue, moodiness and irritability, and depression can also be bothersome. Many women struggle with vaginal dryness and pain during sex as well.

Menopause occurs when a woman has had no periods for 12 months. Most reach this milestone between ages 40 and 58, with the average age being 51. 

Menopause can also occur for other reasons besides age, such as removal of the ovaries, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and primary ovarian insufficiency. 

Myths about hormone replacement therapy

Myth: Hormone replacement therapy isn't safe.

Fact: When used by women under age 60 and/or who are less than 10 years out from menopause, HRT reduces cardiovascular disease as well as the risk of death from all causes.

Myth: Hormone replacement therapy is all the same

Fact: HRT replaces estrogen and comes in two main types. Systemic hormone therapy involves gradual absorption through your whole body. It comes in a pill, skin patch, ring, gel, cream, or spray. 

If you have only vaginal or urinary symptoms, you can apply a low-dose vaginal estrogen in cream, tablet, or ring form.

Dr. Overstreet may prescribe progesterone or a progesterone-like medication to prevent the growth of its lining in women who still have their uterus. 

Myth: Hormone replacement therapy only helps bothersome symptoms

Fact: While HRT helps with everything from hot flashes and night sweats to vaginal dryness, it also aids in ways that aren’t always immediately apparent. For example, it reduces the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones, decreases tooth loss, and helps protect against diabetes and colon cancer.

Myth: Hormone replacement therapy is a one-size-fits-all option

Fact: HRT is highly personalized, and you should take the lowest dose that works for you. You and Dr. Overstreet determine the type and duration together.

Myth: Women are at the mercy of perimenopause and menopause.

Fact: You can take plenty of steps at this stage of your life to be as healthy and comfortable as possible.

Exercise and physical activity, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, not smoking, limiting alcohol, and managing stress play important roles. Talking to Dr. Overstreet about hormone replacement therapy can help as well.

If you’re struggling with menopause symptoms and want to get the facts about hormone replacement therapy and whether it's right for you, call our office at 404-383-7387 or click here to book an appointment today.