Common Side Effects Of Hormone Replacement During Menopause
Menopausal hormone replacement therapy is essential for dealing with menopause symptoms and protecting bone, heart, and brain health for the long-term. However, side effects can make it difficult for patients to continue with hormone therapy and they end up stopping HRT prematurely.
Side effects of hormonal therapy are worse when you begin treatment, but they get better over time as your body adjusts after a few weeks or months. These side effects largely depend on the dose, the type of hormone therapy, and how long the medication was taken they could also vary from drug to drug. If there are side effects, its important to alert your healthcare provider because you will be taking hormone therapy for some time. Your doctor could also prescribe an alternative remedy in case the side effects interfere with your daily life.
Taking estrogen-only therapy usually causes symptoms like headache, breast tenderness, and nausea. However, its usually the progesterone part of combined HRT that presents side-effects specific types of progesterone can cause low mood, irritability, acne, fatigue, or headaches.
Weight Loss And Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
If you just eat less and exercise more you will lose weight its simple math. How many times have you heard that and argued back that you ARE eating less and you ARE exercising more? While calorie intake contributes to weight loss, it turns out metabolism and hormones play a bigger role.
Energy loss that often comes with age-related hormonal imbalance contributes to weight gain in both men and women. Bioidentical hormone therapycan bring your hormones back into balance so that you can experience weight loss from the increase in energy, better sleep, and higher metabolism.
When Hormone Therapy Is Indicated
HT can be administered before, during or after a localized treatment, such as radical prostatectomy, radiation, high-intensity focused ultrasound or cryotherapy. When given before a localized treatment, it is called neoadjuvant therapy. When given after localized treatment without evidence of prostate cancer recurrence, it is called adjuvant therapy. When HT is prescribed after localized treatment for a prostate cancer recurrence, it is called salvage therapy. If a patientâs PSA starts rising after a radical prostatectomy, HT is typically given in combination with radiation therapy. Treatment recommendations are based on each patientâs specific circumstances.
Sometimes we give neoadjuvant HT while the patient is deciding on his primary treatment or to reduce the tumorâs size before starting primary treatment. Neoadjuvant HT will usually slow or stop cancer growth for a period of time.
Many radiation oncologists use HT along with radiation treatment in the belief that HT weakens cancer cells so that theyâre more susceptible to destruction by the radiation. Clinical studies have suggested a synergy between radiation therapy and hormone therapy meaning they work better together. Clinical trials have shown improved outcomes for patients who receive combined therapy.
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Radiation Therapy Side Effects
Because the prostate is close to several vital structures, radiation therapy can disrupt normal urinary, bowel, and sexual functioning.Short-term ComplicationsYou may experience some temporary urinary symptoms, such as waking up in the night and needing to urinate, needing to urinate more often during â¦
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Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy In Women
In women, the two hormones most present are estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones can promote the growth of some cancerous tumors, which may be blocked through HRT.
For most womens health, hormone replacement therapy side effects are worse at the beginning of treatment and will settle down after a few weeks.
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What Is Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Menopausal hormone therapy also called postmenopausal hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapyis a treatment that doctors may recommend to relieve common symptoms of menopause and to address long-term biological changes, such as bone loss, that result from declining levels of the natural hormonesestrogen and progesterone in a womans body during and after menopause.
MHT usually involves treatment with estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin, a synthetic hormone whose effects are similar to those of progesterone.
Women who have a uterusthat is, who have not had a hysterectomyare generally prescribed estrogen plus progestin for MHT. This is because estrogen alone is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer, but estrogen plus progestin is not. Estrogen is used alone only in women who have had a hysterectomy.
How Should This Medicine Be Used
Hormone replacement therapy comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day. To help you remember to take hormone replacement therapy, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take this medication exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor.
Activella, FemHrt, and Prempro come as tablets containing estrogen and progestin. Take one tablet every day.
Ortho-Prefest comes in a blister card containing 30 tablets. Take one pink tablet once daily for 3 days, then take one white tablet once daily for 3 days. Repeat this process until you finish all the tablets on the card. Begin a new blister card the day after you finish the last one.
Premphase comes in a dispenser containing 28 tablets. Take one maroon tablet once daily on days 1 to 14, and take one light-blue tablet once daily on days 15 to 28. Begin a new dispenser the day after you finish the last one.
Before taking hormone replacement therapy, ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient and read it carefully.
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You Should Know About These Hormone Replacement Therapy Side Effects
Because the human body is both intricately connected and extremely complicated, changing one thing can often change something else.
This ripple is referred to as side effects.
Every type of medical procedure or intervention has the possibility of side effects, including hormone therapy.
Learn more about hormone replacement therapy side effects in this article.
What Are Estrogen Therapy And Hormone Therapy
Estrogen, in pill, patch, or gel form, is the single most effective therapy for suppressing hot flashes.
The term estrogen therapy, or ET, refers to estrogen administered alone. Because ET alone can cause uterine cancer , a progestin is administered together with estrogen in women who have a uterus to eliminate the increased risk. Thus, the term estrogen/progestin therapy, or EPT, refers to a combination of estrogen and progestin therapy, as is given to a woman who still has a uterus. This method of prescribing hormones is also known as combination hormone therapy.
The term hormone therapy is a more general term that is used to refer to either administration of estrogen alone , or combined estrogen/progestin therapy .
All forms of hormone therapy that are FDA-approved for therapy of hot flashes are similarly effective in suppressing hot flashes.
It is still controversial which of these side effects are due to the estrogen component as compared to the progesterone component. Therefore, if side effects persist for a few months, the doctor will often alter either the progesterone or the estrogen part of the hormone therapy .
Contrary to common belief, recent research has confirmed that women who take commonly prescribed doses of hormone therapy are no more likely to gain weight than women not taking hormone therapy . This is probably because menopause or aging itself is associated with weight gain, regardless of whether or not a woman takes hormone therapy.
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While Youre Taking Hormonal Therapy
- Tell your doctor or nurse if youre taking any medications, including patches and creams, or if youve changed medications. Some medications may change the way hormonal therapy works. Tell your doctor if youre taking:
- Medications that require a prescription
- Medications that dont require a prescription
- Any herbal remedies, vitamins, or dietary supplements
Managing Hrt Side Effects
Ultimately, the choice to get hormone therapy is a decision that relies on you. Some postmenopausal women would rather experience the symptoms of menopause over the unpleasant HRT side effects, while others would prefer to take a chance on HRT than suffer through menopause. What matters most is if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. The benefits still outweigh the risks if youre healthy and you:
- Have moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, which can be treated with systemic HRT
- Suffer from vaginal symptoms of menopause like dryness, itching, burning, or discomfort during intercourse
- Need to prevent bone loss or fractures caused by weakened bone density
- Experienced early menopause or premature menopause that led to estrogen deficiency
The side-effects of hormone therapy are often short-lived they are only bothersome when you start HRT, switch up your HRT method, or switch to a different hormone as your body tries to get used to the hormones. And despite the risks of hormone therapy, it can also protect you from osteoporosis, diabetes, and colorectal cancer — so it should still be considered as a treatment option. Here are some tips on how to deal with HRT side effects:
1) Wait at least three months before making changes to your prescription: The side effects could disappear or become less severe during that time, as your body adjusts to new hormone levels.
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Do Local Formulations Of Menopausal Hormone Therapy Have Different Risks
Both systemic and local treatment options for MHT are available in the United States. Which option a woman receives depends on the menopausal symptoms the treatment is meant to address. Systemic MHT is usually prescribed to treat hot flashes and to prevent osteoporosis. Systemic MHT with combined estrogen plus progestin or with estrogen alone can be given as oral medications as transdermal patches, gels, or sprays and as implants.
Local MHT is prescribed to treat genitourinary symptoms such as vaginal dryness. Local MHT contains low-dose estrogen only and is prescribed to women regardless of their hysterectomy status. Local MHT with low-dose estrogen alone includes creams, tablets , and rings.
Findings from the Womens Health Initiative Observational Study showed that, among women with an intact uterus, those who used vaginal estrogen and those who didnt had similar risks of stroke, invasive breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and pulmonaryembolism/deep vein thrombosis .
What Are The Risks Of Taking Hormone Therapy
While hormone therapy helps many women get through menopause, the treatment is not risk-free. Known health risks include:
- An increased risk of endometrial cancer .
- Increased risk of blood clots and stroke.
- Increased chance of gallbladder/gallstone problems.
- Increased risk of dementia if hormone therapy is started after midlife. HT started during midlife is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.
- Increased risk of breast cancer with long-term use.
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What Is Unique About Receiving Hormone Therapy At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers
At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, your cancer care team will design a personalized cancer treatment plan that provides the ideal combination of therapies for the best possible outcome. Under our care, you will be monitored closely to determine if your hormone therapy is working. This involves regular PSA tests for prostate cancer treatment and regular checkups for breast cancer treatment.
Rest assured, you are in good hands with Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers. We believe in treating the whole person, not just the disease, which is why we will work hard to create the best cancer treatment plan for you.
Other Problems From Hormone Pellet Therapy
Whether using pellets or topical treatment, hormone replacement therapy with bioidentical hormones is a safe effective treatment for hormone imbalance symptoms. The pellets do add some increased risk of side effects as noted above. In addition to the side effect noted above, the most common problem I have seen with hormone pellet therapy is the very high levels of hormones that are maintained. This typically occurs from poor monitoring of the hormone levels. As a result we see women with testosterone levels that are as high as men and men that have testosterone levels that are well above the upper reference range.
Now this can happen from time to time with any method of hormone treatment. With pellet therapy it seems to be a more common occurrence rather than an exception. This may occur from infrequent lab testing or checking when the hormone levels would naturally be running out and hence lower. This lower lab test then justifies a higher milligram pellet dose. While a more frequent lab monitoring may resolve this, pellet therapy is rarely monitored this way. For some excessively high hormone levels can make you feel just as poorly as low. If you started hormone pellet therapy and you dont feel any better or feel worse consider having the levels checked a month after pellet insertion.
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How Hormone Replacement Therapy Works
As women become older, their hormone levels gradually decrease as part of the natural aging process. The natural decline in estrogen and progesterone can produce a range of unwanted symptoms that put women at risk of serious medical conditions and that compromise their well-being and quality of life.
HRT supplies women with a boost in these hormones so they can reduce their risk of serious diseases like osteoporosis and cancer, stave off symptoms of menopause, and get back to feeling more comfortable and enjoying their lives.
HRT can be delivered in the form of creams, gels, tablets, vaginal rings, skin patches, and pellets. Some forms of HRT, such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, can be personalized for women to ensure they receive the exact doses of estrogen and progesterone that their bodies need. This helps reduce the risk of health conditions associated with having high hormone levels such as chronic fatigue, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer.
How To Get Started On Hrt
Speak to your local GP practice if you’re interested in starting HRT.
You can usually begin HRT as soon as you start experiencing menopausal symptoms and will not usually need to have any tests first. However, a blood test to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re aged 40 to 45. Blood tests may also be carried out to help diagnose suspected premature menopause if youre under 40 and have menopausal symptoms.
Your GP can explain the different types of HRT available and help you choose one that’s suitable for you.
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Types Of Hormone Therapy For Men
If your doctor recommends testosterone treatment, you have numerous alternatives. These are some examples:
- Intramuscular testosterone injections. These are administered by your doctor every two to three weeks into the tissues of your buttocks.
- Testosterone patches. These are applied daily to your back, arms, buttocks, or abdominal muscles. Make sure that the application sites are rotated.
- Topical testosterone gel. It is applied to your shoulders, arms, or abdominal muscles daily.
Is It Safe For Women Who Have Had A Cancer Diagnosis To Take Mht
One of the roles of naturally occurring estrogen is to promote the normal growth of cells in the breast and uterus. Some cancers also use estrogen to promote their growth. Thus, it is generally believed that MHT may promote further tumor growth in women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer. However, studies of MHT use in breast cancer survivors have produced conflicting results, with some studies showing an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and others showing no increased risk of recurrence .
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Are There Alternatives For Women Who Choose Not To Take Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Women who are concerned about the changes that occur naturally with the decline in hormone production that occurs during menopause can make changes in their lifestyle and diet to reduce the risk of certain health effects. For example, eating foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D or taking dietary supplements containing these nutrients may help to prevent osteoporosis. FDA-approved drugs such as alendronate , raloxifene , and risedronate have been shown in randomized trials to prevent bone loss.
Medications approved by the FDA for treating depression and seizures may help to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes . Drugs that have been shown in randomized clinical trials to be effective in treating hot flashes include venlafaxine , desvenlafaxine , paroxetine , fluoxetine , citalopram , gabapentin , and pregabalin .
Estrogen Side Effects And Risks
Hormone therapy isnt without its risks. In fact, hormone therapy isnt used as widely as it once was because research began revealing risks with long-term use, such as cancer and heart risks.
However, thanks to these studies, doctors and medical researchers have a better understanding of who will benefit most from estrogen therapy and who should try other treatments.
The risk factors and side effects associated with estrogen use include:
- Blood clots. Estrogen increases your risk of blood clots, which can cause a stroke, a heart attack, and even death.
- Cancer. Estrogen may increase your risk of certain cancers, specifically breast cancer. Talk with a doctor about your personal health history, your family history, and your risk of breast cancer.
- Birth irregularities. If youre using estrogen or hormone therapy and become pregnant, your pregnancy may end prematurely. If youre able to carry a pregnancy to full term, birth irregularities are common for babies born to people using estrogen.
- Dense breast tissue. People who take estrogen may develop dense breast tissue. Dense tissue makes reading mammograms harder, so identifying breast cancer in its early stages may be difficult.
Doctors typically prescribe estrogen-only medication if youve had a hysterectomy but still have your ovaries.
If you havent had a hysterectomy, youll usually receive a combination estrogen-progesterone medication. Thats because estrogen-only treatments increase your risk of endometrial cancer.
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