Benefits You Never Knew about Hormone Replacement Therapy

As we age, we experience a drop in production of the sex hormones that keep our reproductive organs healthy — primarily estrogen and progesterone for women, and testosterone for men. These hormones, though, benefit many body systems, and it can be helpful to restore “normal” levels through hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

At the primary care office of Terry L. Franklin, MD, in the downtown region of Monterey, California, we understand how important maintaining your sexual and overall health can be as you get older, and we’re pleased to offer hormone replacement therapy to our patients who need it. There are some misconceptions surrounding the therapy, so we’ve put together this guide to set the record straight. Here’s what you need to know.

What is hormone replacement therapy?

Menopause is a time of great change in a woman’s life. It’s a time when your body can no longer support reproduction. It can arrive anywhere in your 40s or 50s, but the average age in the United States is 51.

The period leading up to it, called perimenopause, starts when your body begins decreasing production of the primary sex hormones. During this time, your menstrual cycles can become irregular, and your body can display physical symptoms ranging from hot flashes and mood swings to disrupted sleep and lower energy. Once you’ve gone 12 months without a cycle, you’re officially considered to be in menopause.

Hormone replacement therapy primarily focuses on replacing the estrogen that your body has stopped making in order to restore good health and support an active sex life. There are two basic types of HRT:

1. Systemic hormone therapy

Systemic hormone therapy involves taking relatively high doses of estrogen, which is absorbed throughout the entire body. It comes in many forms, including skin patches, pills, gels, rings, pellets, creams, and sprays, and it can be used to treat any of the common menopausal symptoms.

Bioidentical hormone therapy (BHRT) uses a plant-based version of the estrogen produced in the body, and it can come in any form in which the therapy is normally delivered.

Dr. Franklin is a certified provider of BioTE® pellet therapy. With this therapy, he inserts a BHRT pellet under the skin, and it releases a steady stream of hormones into the bloodstream. It's an easy and reliable process, and it requires as little as two insertions per year. Of course, dosages are customized for each patient.

2. Low-dose hormone therapy

Low-dose products are used vaginally and come in the form of creams, tablets, or rings. These products allow your body to absorb low amounts of estrogen and thereby decrease any potential side effects of high-dose HRT treatments. These products only treat the vaginal and urinary symptoms of menopause.

Benefits of hormone replacement therapy for women

Hormone replacement therapy may be able to reduce troublesome perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. The therapy may be able to help:

Hormone replacement therapy may also help improve or lessen your chances of developing certain health conditions. Hormone replacement therapy may be able to do the following:

Are you bothered by the side effects of menopause? We can help you determine if hormone replacement therapy is right for you. To learn more, book an appointment with Terry L. Franklin, MD, online or give us a call at 831-647-3190 today.

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