Hormone therapy (HT) is medicine to treat symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and sleep problems. It replaces the hormones that drop at menopause. Most women get relief from these symptoms within weeks of starting HT.
HT contains two female hormones, estrogen and progestin. HT may come in the form of a pill, patch, gel, spray, or vaginal ring. A vaginal cream or a vaginal ring that has a much lower dose of estrogen may be used to relieve vaginal dryness only.
HT has some risks. Most doctors recommend that women only take HT for as short a time as possible. This is to reduce the chances of heart disease, breast cancer, blood clots, and stroke that may be connected to HT. Be sure to have regular checkups with your doctor when taking HT.
Talk with your doctor about whether HT is right for you. If you decide that the benefits of HT outweigh the risks, ask your doctor to prescribe the lowest effective dose for as short a time as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: October 13, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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