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No more underarm jiggle

Medicare Part D


How Hormone Therapy Works For Menopause

Most people know that menopause means that menstruation has ceased, but that’s not the only thing that happens when a woman reaches menopause. When she reaches menopause, a woman’s ovaries sharply reduce their production of estrogen and progesterone, and as a result the systems that those hormones regulate begin to change in behavior, sometimes in dramatic ways, much in the way that the body’s systems react when a habit-forming drug stops being introduced to the system, causing withdrawal symptoms.

The Role Of Estrogen In The Body

Estrogen affects the body’s use of calcium and controls the levels of cholesterol in the blood. In its role as a sex hormone, it also governs the systems that thicken the uterine wall to allow the implantation of a fertilized egg, and those that maintain the health and regular functioning of the vagina. When the body’s estrogen levels drop during menopause, these systems all go out of whack, leading to loss of bone density, abnormal cholesterol levels, and sexual side effects. There is even an elevated risk of vaginal infection. Shifts in estrogen level are also the cause of hot flashes.

The Importance Of Progesterone

Under normal functioning, progesterone triggers the shedding of the uterine lining each month. For women who still have a uterus, it is necessary to take progesterone along with estrogen when under hormone replacement therapy, or the endometrium - the lining of the uterus - will not be shed normally, creating a significant cancer risk. Progesterone replacement can sometimes cause monthly bleeding, but a dosing strategy that uses a constant, small amount of estrogen and progesterone can often avoid this side effect.

It is necessary to balance these hormones carefully, because taking excessive hormone replacements is quite risky. Using the right amount of replacement hormones, however, can significantly reduce menopause effects without generating new side effects.

Because of the risks associated with hormone replacement, it is currently considered good medical practice to take hormone replacement for the shortest amount of time possible, and reevaluate hormone treatment each year to ensure that it is still appropriate. The risks include most prominently, an elevated risk of breast cancer and heart disease, but also a small risk of blood clots and stroke. Although stroke associated with hormone replacement is rare, it is the most severe risk posed by hormone treatment. Other risks and side effects include dizziness, headaches, breast tenderness, and skin discoloration in spots or patches.


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