If you are bothered by the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and vaginal dryness or are worried about long-term effects of menopause, such as bone loss, you can choose hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to combat these symptoms and keep enjoying your healthy, active lifestyle.
If you are looking for a comfortable, compassionate place to talk about hormone replacement therapy, consider The Med Spot in Woodland Hills. Here, Dr. Michelle Reyes wants everyone to feel welcome and open in talking about their concerns. Since 1997, Dr. Michelle Reyes has been helping women in the Calabasas area to enjoy better lives. Over time, she has expanded her practice at the request of her patients to include both minimally invasive cosmetic treatments and healthy age management techniques such as hormone replacement therapy.
Technically, menopause is the time at which a woman’s ovaries stop releasing eggs. However, this is associated with wide-ranging changes in a woman’s body caused by the changes in hormone production related to menopause. In particular, a woman’s body dramatically reduces estrogen production, causing women to experience significant problematic symptoms that might include:
These symptoms can be difficult to deal with. Hot flashes and night sweats can make it hard to be comfortable. Difficulty sleeping can make one irritable and unproductive.
Vaginal dryness and sexual discomfort can reduce your quality of life if sexuality is important to you. Sexual problems can also make it hard to maintain one’s relationship with an intimate partner.
Low energy and weight gain can be particular problems for people who have always lived active lives and loved their trim figure. All the above issues can feed into mood problems and make it hard to be productive, healthy, and happy.
In addition, hormone loss has been associated with long-term loss of bone mass (osteoporosis). This can put you at increased risk for bone fractures, especially hip and spine fractures, which can be dangerous, even deadly, as we get older.
Hormone replacement therapy seeks to replace the hormones your body has stopped or dramatically reduced production of. The type of hormones being replaced depends on your situation.
Estrogen therapy is the most straightforward type of HRT. Estrogen can help control most symptoms related to menopause, but it can increase the risk of uterine cancers. Estrogen therapy is usually recommended for women who have had a hysterectomy—removal of the uterus—or an oophorectomy—removal of the uterus and ovaries.
For most women, combination therapy is considered best. This combines estrogen, progesterone, and/or progestin, and doesn’t come with increased uterine cancer risk, though all HRT comes with some risks.
Pharmaceutical hormone therapy is the standard medical approach to hormone therapy. These drugs are formulated and mass-produced to achieve hormone replacement, but some people are uncomfortable with their chemical nature.
Natural hormone therapy uses naturally sourced hormones to replace the hormones in your body. However, the source hormones may not be identical to the ones your body produces. Therefore, some women experience side effects from this type of hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) seeks to replace your hormones with ones that are identical to the ones your body produces. Ideally, your body shouldn’t be able to distinguish between the replacement hormones and the ones your body used to produce. This should give you the most effective symptom relief with the lowest risk of side effects.
This is the type of hormone replacement therapy we favor at The Med Spot.
Compounded hormone therapy treatment is a custom approach to hormone replacement therapy. In this treatment, we take blood draws and test your blood. This lets us determine exactly which hormones you’re missing. We can then formulate a specific blend of hormones to help your body restore its youthful hormone balance.
We can formulate this compound as a pill, injectable, or cream. The injections we will perform in our office, but the other forms you can use at home. Compounded hormone therapy treatment can be combined with BHRT or other treatments to help fine-tune your results.
Hormone therapy comes in two basic forms:
In systemic hormone therapy, the goal is to increase the overall balance of hormones in the body to be similar to pre-menopause levels. This can be done with pills, patches, rings, gels, or creams. We also offer the BioTE® pellet form of delivery. This involves placing a pellet under your skin a few times a year. Your body slowly absorbs the bioidentical hormones from the pellet.
However, if you are primarily concerned about immediate vaginal effects from menopause, such as dryness and sexual discomfort, you might choose a low-dose therapy where the hormones are delivered directly to the vagina in the form of a cream, ring, or absorbable tablet.
Although hormone therapy can be effective at countering menopausal symptoms, it does come with several significant risks, including:
Hormone therapy can improve many aspects of sexual and vaginal health, but it does so at the cost of possible vaginal bleeding. This might need to be assessed by a biopsy to rule out certain cancers. Women were also more likely to develop urinary incontinence after taking hormone therapy.
Women over the age of 65 were more likely to develop dementia if they took hormone replacement therapy.
Cardiovascular risks increased for women taking hormone replacement therapy. This is such a significant concern that the treatment isn’t recommended for women who already have an elevated risk of stroke, blood clots, or heart attack.
Breast cancer risk is a little more complicated. Some studies indicate that women who take estrogen-only HRT have a lower risk of breast cancer. However, women who take estrogen plus progestin seem to have an elevated risk of breast cancer.
It’s worth noting, however, that some long-term studies show that the mortality risk was about the same for women taking hormone replacement therapy for about 5-7 years as for women taking a placebo. This suggests that the overall risks of hormone replacement therapy are relatively low.
We understand that after looking at the potential risks for hormone replacement therapy, you might want to pursue alternative treatments.
You may be able to counter some of the symptoms related to hormone loss by improving your body’s access to important nutrition. We offer Nutraceuticals by BioTE®. This works by helping your body produce more hormones.
This probiotic supplement can help stabilize your hormone levels. It can also help improve digestive function, which can give you more energy and combat symptoms like brain fog.
If your primary symptoms of menopause are related to sexual function and satisfaction, consider the O-Shot®. The O-Shot® uses your body’s natural growth factors, concentrated into PRP (platelet-rich plasma). When injected into the vagina and the clitoris, this can lead to vaginal rejuvenation and improve some aspects of sexual function and satisfaction, including arousal, desire, and lubrication.
The CO2RE® Intima is another treatment for women concerned primarily about sexual symptoms of menopause. This laser causes controlled thermal injuries that stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms. This healing can improve sexual function by producing tissues with more youthful characteristics, such as improved blood supply and greater collagen.
We understand that talking about aging can be a sensitive subject. That’s why Dr. Michelle Reyes works hard to make The Med Spot a welcoming, comfortable place. Not only are all welcome here, but you are encouraged to set your own goals for living your best life. We will happily answer all your questions and design an approach that helps you achieve your personal goals.
Since 1997, Dr. Reyes has been helping women in the Calabasas area to live better lives. Over the years, patients have asked that she extend her gentle, compassionate practice to include a variety of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures and age management techniques. She has assembled a skilled, professional team that shares her vision. Together, we work hard to ensure that you achieve the results you desire and have a great experience, too.
Please call 818-208-1218 or contact The Med Spot in Woodland Hills today for a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Michelle Reyes.