The years leading up to the onset of menopause, known commonly as the perimenopause period, can be especially challenging for women. During this time, fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body can bring on a number of physical and emotional symptoms ranging from hot flashes and trouble sleeping to mood swings and vaginal health symptoms. This is why many women turn to hormone therapy as a way to control their menopause side effects. Hormone therapy uses medications to supplement the body’s supply of estrogen and/or progestogen to help minimize the effects of menopause.
Even after a woman decides that she would like to begin hormone therapy, the decision making process is far from over. Hormone therapy is broken down into two categories: systemic and local. Below we will explain both of these therapies in detail to help present a clearer picture of which type of hormone therapy may be the best fit for your personal reproductive needs.
The first category of hormone therapy is known as systemic therapy. During systemic therapy, the replacement hormones are released into the bloodstream. This can be done with through the use of a pill, injections, skin patches, or topical gels or sprays that are applied onto the skin. Once they enter the bloodstream, the hormones travel to the organs and tissues where they are most needed. Systemic therapy is typically recommended for women dealing with severe hot flashes and sleep problems.
For women who are experiencing issues more specific to the vagina, including vaginal dryness, local therapy may be the preferred option. Local therapy uses a vaginal ring, tablet, or cream to deliver small doses of estrogen directly into the vaginal tissue. This added estrogen can help restore the vaginal lining while soothing vaginal health symptoms like dryness and itching.
Choosing the appropriate type of hormone replacement therapy depends largely on your health, the degree of your symptoms, your personal preference, and what you hope to achieve through your hormone therapy treatments. That’s why it’s so important to do your research and consult with a board-certified gynecologist to help fully understand all of your potential options. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kristine Gould, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, news, and updates on our upcoming Health and Wellness events.