Hormone replacement therapy remains the top choice when doctors want to stop hot flashes, if you’re perimenopausal or or in the early menopausal years, according to a recent WebMD column.
“A woman’s quality of life can improve substantially on estrogen, with decreasing hot flashes and night sweats, helping her sleep and raising her mood,” writes Dr. Laura Corio for WebMd. “It is a safe and effective option for menopausal women.”
Hormone replacement therapies such as estrogen can even be used as preventative menopause in the perimenopausal or early menopause years, Corio writes. It can keep your bones strong if they’re currently normal.
It can even protect a healthy heart from heart disease. The key words, there? “Healthy heart.” That’s why before you start HRT, you should take steps to reduce your risks of heart problems, such as:
- If you smoke, stop.
- Consider using cholesterol-lowering agents.
- Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be on low-dose aspirin to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Exercise daily.
Another consideration before beginning HRT: Have you had a hysterectomy? If you have NOT, it’s important that your HRT also include progesterone with the estrogen to protect from uterine cancer, Corio says.
Seventy-five percent of women will experience hot flashes and hormonal night sweats. Low-dosage estrogen remains one of the most effective ways to stop hot flashes.
Corio says it’s important to focus on timing and dosage, so she works with patients to ensure they’re given the lowest effective dosage possible for the shortest period of time. Typically, patients remain on HRT for five years, but the time should be managed on an individual basis. Some patients may use estrogen for only a year, while otehrs may stay on HRT for a longer period, she says.
Another option Corio recommends to patents are vaginal estrogen and bio-identical hormones. Vaginal estrogen can be used to stop the thinning of the layres of the vagina and bladder that occur in post-menopausal women. Without it, she notes, intercourse is likely to be uncomfortable.
Bio-identical hormones should be as natural as possible, since synthetic hormones can cause weight gain and bloating, she writes. She prefers individually compounding HRTs so they best suit the individual patient and can be adjusted as the patient’s body changes with menopause.
“There is definitely a role for HRT in the perimenopausal and early menopausal years for the relief of hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, decreased libido, and vaginal dryness,” Corio writes.
But if you’re still unsure about HRT, there are other options you can try to stop hot flashes. To learn more about those options, check out Vibrant Nation’s free report, Considering Bioidentical Hormone Therapy? What Every Woman Over 50 Should Know.