Aging causes significant internal changes affecting estrogen and progesterone production. Hormone therapy treatment maximizes hormone levels in menopausal women. John H. Kirk, MD, and his team offer Napa hormone therapy to enhance vitality in women and preserve long term health.
The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone. Several years before menopause (perimenopause), your ovaries begin to shrink, causing a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels. During this period, you will experience irregular menstrual cycles, with occasional heavy bleeding.
After some years, usually at the ages of 45-54, your period will stop, marking the start of menopause. A surgical procedure to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) also causes cessation of the menstrual cycle without necessarily causing menopause. However, surgical removal of both ovaries will cause immediate menopause.
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Common Menopausal Symptoms
- Hot flashes or flushes: A feeling of heat in your face and body causing blood vessels to expand and the skin to appear red
- Night sweats
- Sleep disturbances
- Painful intercourse and urinary infections due to changes in the vaginal and urinary tracts
Your doctor may prescribe hormone therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms. Hormone therapy involves the use of estrogen to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. Your doctor may also combine progesterone or progestin in its synthetic form with estrogen to enhance results and prevent the overgrowth (hyperplasia) of uterine lining cells, which may cause uterine cancer. Your doctor will only administer estrogen plus progesterone or a progestin if you have not had a hysterectomy.
Side Effects of Hormone Therapy
Depending on the mode of administration, common side effects include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Breast tenderness or enlargement
- Mood swings
- Reduced libido
- Night sweats
What to Expect During the Hormone Therapy Procedure
On your initial hormone therapy consultation, Dr. Kirk will perform a comprehensive physical assessment, including blood tests, to evaluate your current hormone levels. He also reviews your menopausal symptoms and medical history, and responds to additional concerns you may have. Depending on your results, he will develop a personalized treatment program to restore your vitality. Hormone therapy involves bio-identical (synthetic) hormones to treat menopausal symptoms.
Hormonal Therapy Administration
The hormones can be taken in several ways: orally, with an intrauterine device or vaginal ring, through a patch on the skin, injections, surgically, or topically using creams or gels. The different administration methods vary depending on your symptoms; for example, a vaginal estrogen ring or cream relieves vaginal dryness and infections or urinary incontinence and infections.
An additional clinical application of hormone therapy is in the treatment of breast cancer.
- Hormone therapy plus other cancer treatments can:
- Reduce tumor size in preparation for surgery or radiation therapy (neoadjuvant therapy)
- Lowers the risk of recurring cancer following treatment (adjuvant therapy)
- Destroy recurring or spreading cancer cells
Risks associated with hormonal therapy vary depending on the patient’s personal medical history, age, and treatment type. Hormonal therapy risks include heart disease, blood clots that may cause strokes, and weight gain. Your care provider will recommend a special diet to help you manage your weight during the therapy.
To learn more about hormonal therapy, contact the office of John H. Kirk, MD, or schedule your appointment online.