How is Estrogen Replacement Therapy Done?
Estrogen replacement therapy is the process of artificially replacing estrogen that has been lost because of one or more reasons. Low estrogen levels are normally caused by menopause, although they can also be caused by a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), chemotherapy or radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. In some cases, disorders of the thyroid, lack of body fat or a genetic predisposition can also cause estrogen levels to fall.
Estrogen is responsible for stimulating egg release in the ovaries, the development of sexual characteristics in women, and other body processes that are not related to sexual development, which is why it’s also present in men, albeit in smaller quantities. As a woman enters into menopause or undergoes a hysterectomy, the eggs are no longer released and estrogen levels drop.
No matter what the cause of low levels of estrogen, the symptoms are generally the same, leading many women into believing they are entering the menopause. This may not be the case and if you experience several of the following symptoms you should seek medical advice:
• Night sweats
• Hot flashes
• Loss of libido
• Significant and unexplained mood swings
• Interrupted sleep
• Irregular periods
• Problems with concentration
• Vaginal dryness
Types of Estrogen Replacement Therapy
There are several different ways that estrogen replacement therapy can be done:
• Pills or tablets
• Skin patches
• Vaginal rings
• Skin creams
• Skin gels
With the exception of the oral form of estrogen replacement, all forms of estrogen replacement therapy transfer the estrogen straight into the bloodstream. Pills and tablets must first be processed by the liver, which can cause problems if you already have a weak or malfunctioning liver.
There are two types of side effect that can occur with estrogen replacement therapy: general and high risk.
May occur in anyone who takes estrogen replacement therapy:
• Retention of fluids
• Vaginal discharge
• Weight gain
• Breast tenderness
• Skin may develop spots or turn darker, especially on facial areas
• Skin irritation
Estrogen replacement therapy can cause the following risks in a small number of women:
• Breast or ovarian cancer
• Blood clots
The Benefits of Estrogen Replacement Therapy
While there is always some level of risk with any procedure or form of therapy, estrogen replacement therapy offers several benefits. The main benefits are:
• Increase in the strength of bones
• Reduction of the risk of heart attack or heart failure
• Reduction in the symptoms of menopause
• Hormonal support for the loss of ovaries
There are certain cases where estrogen replacement therapy cannot be taken:
• If you are pregnant
• If you have a history of blood clots
• If you have had a stroke
• If you have hypertension that is not being treated
• If you have severe headaches or migraine
• If you have a history of heart disease
• If you have or have had endometrial, breast or ovarian cancer
Estrogen replacement therapy is available in the Bahamas. Consider the Bahamas for doctors that speak English, state-of-the-art equipment, and the most stunning white powder sand beaches on Earth.