Hormone therapy involves the use of estrogen or estrogen plus progestin to help relieve the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, from hot flashes and night sweats to vaginal dryness. Also called “hormone replacement therapy” or “menopausal hormone therapy,” it can even protect against the bone loss that occurs early in menopause. If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms, talk with your Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida provider about whether hormone therapy might be right for you based on your personal and family medical history. And if you decide to take hormone therapy, talk with your provider every year about whether to continue it. The decision should be made with your doctor or certified nurse midwife, taking into account your symptoms, as well as the risks and benefits.
How hormone therapy works
As women approach menopause, their ovaries shrink and gradually stop making estrogen. Hormone therapy seeks to replace and balance the body’s supply of estrogen.
Estrogen can relieve symptoms of menopause in two ways:
- Systemic estrogen therapy releases estrogen into the bloodstream, where it travels to the organs and tissues that need it. Systemic estrogen therapy comes in the form of pills, skin patches, gels, and sprays.
- Local estrogen therapy releases small doses of estrogen directly into the vaginal tissue. It is useful for women whose only symptom is vaginal dryness and comes in the form of a vaginal ring, tablet, or cream.
When progestin is added, it can come in different forms, including pills taken by mouth, or tablets and gels placed in the vagina. An intrauterine device (IUD) that releases progestin may also be an option. Progestin can be combined with estrogen in the same pill or patch.
If your primary symptoms are vaginal dryness and painful intercourse, an alternative to hormone therapy is treatment with the MonaLisa Touch®, a special gynecologic CO2 laser.
You and your Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida ob-gyn or certified nurse midwife can talk about what form may work best for you. You can decide based on your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.
Learn more about hormone therapy
The experienced team of physicians and certified nurse midwives at Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida will help you weigh the benefits and risks of hormone therapy. To learn more, you can request a new patient appointment online. If you are already an established patient, you can book online through the patient portal. Or you can always call (239) 432-5858 to schedule a consultation with one of Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida’s women’s health-care providers in Fort Myers or Cape Coral.