It’s Hot Enough without Hot Flashes!

As a local gynecologist practicing at Emory Johns Creek Hospital,  I am frequently asked about Hormone Replacement (HRT) therapy from peri-menopausal and menopausal women.  It is a controversial topic and it seems we all have an opinion! Summer in Atlanta is hot enough and hot flashes only compound discomfort. So- here’s some basic information on the subject of HRT.

Menopause affects women differently. Some hardly notice except their periods change and eventually go away. Others may suffer to a point that it can affect their lives. Over time, the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone.  The onset of menopause is gradual with some possible symptoms being :

-Hot flashes and sweating (lasting 3-6 min and occurring up to several times/day)

-Sleep disturbances (restlessness, trouble falling asleep, and night sweats)

-Psychological changes (mood swings, depression, and fatigue)

-Physical changes (headaches, vaginal dryness)

HRT can definitely help relieve  some symptoms of menopause and has been shown to decrease the risk osteoporosis. However, it is not for everyone as there are some risks and not everyone is a candidate for HRT.  There are two main types of HRT- estrogen replacement (ERT)only and combination therapy of estrogen and progesterone (HRT). These medications come in various forms- pills, patches, sprays, lotions, etc.

Small changes in lifestyle can also help,  such as regular exercise, stop smoking, and getting enough calcium in your diet.   One recent trend we have seen is that peri-menopause and it’s symptoms may be occurring sooner than in generations past.

Doctors are learning more about menopause every day.  Call or make and appointment with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Dr. Dori Kasparek

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