Hormone Replacement Therapy, HRT, is still a hot topic of debate in our country. Some doctors recommend women take HRT only for a year or two after menopause whereas others recommend taking it only in the event of menopausal symptoms. After hysterectomy, some doctors recommend only taking HRT until the patient reaches “typical menopausal” age, and some actually discourage its use altogether!
Although prescribing HRT is done at my office on a case-by-case basis (no two women are the same and HRT cannot be prescribed as such) I generally encourage women to take HRT for the rest of their lives. I greatly consider estrogen to be the miracle drug for women– it not only prevents hot flashes and night sweats after natural or surgical menopause, but it supports good cholesterol, keeps your bones dense and strong, and it could help prevent heart disease risk that rises in typical post-menopausal women. Additionally, estrogen helps protect you from unwanted weight gain (especially weight gain in the mid-section) and can help keep your vagina from becoming uncomfortably dry.
If a woman enters menopause earlier than expected due to surgery (hysterectomy, having ovaries removed, etc) she must have plan for hormonal care after surgery. Denying your body what it should be making could be dangerous. Taking natural, safe, bio-identical hormones is necessary. Women who have surgery and enter menopause around the time they were expecting to enter menopause anyways will find that taking estrogen will help them feel better for many more years to come.
Of course, as you age, the amount of estrogen you need will change too. Your annual visit is a great time to discuss and adjust your prescription; although if you are having any uncomfortable symptoms please don’t wait; call and schedule an appointment sooner.