Hormone Replacement Therapy For Women: What It Means and Why You Need a Compounding Pharmacy
Did you know menopause could be from a primary ovarian insufficiency, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hysterectomy? Whatever the causes are, hormone replacement therapy for women is considered the most effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause.
Millions of women around the world are going through menopause or the permanent cessation of the menses.This is a natural part of a woman’s reproductive cycle, the symptoms that come with it like hot flashes, emotional instability and pain—could affect a woman’s ability to carry on with daily living and even her quality of life.
Menopause is caused by the natural decline of reproductive hormones. The body is used to certain levels of estrogen and progesterone, any dip in one or both of these hormones could cause uncomfortable symptoms that may be hard to tolerate for some women.
What is hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
Hormone replacement therapy is essentially used to help balance estrogen and progesterone levels in a woman’s body during menopause. In other words, it helps relive symptoms like hot flashes, excessive sweating and emotional issues like anxiety and depression.
Also, HRT has been proven to reduce the risks of osteoporosis in older women and some patients have even reported that hormone replacement therapy helped their skin look younger.
Also, hormone replacement therapy can contain both progesterone and estrogen depending on the needs of the individual patient. In some cases, testosterone could be used, especially for men who undergo hormone replacement therapy due to “male menopause” or a decline in testosterone levels in the aging male.
Before anyone can undergo hormone replacement therapy, it’s very important to consult with a doctor first so medical history could be examined to determine if HRT is right for the patient or not.
What are the benefits of HRT?
The use of hormone replacement therapy for women may have had its share of fans and critics, but more experts agree that it is still the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms and other health issues caused by hormonal imbalance.
1. Hormone replacement therapy for women helps alleviate hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
The North American Menopause Society, the Endocrine Society and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine approves the use of hormone replacement therapy to alleviate the two most common symptoms related to menopause: hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Hot flashes occur during the first few months leading up to menopause and up to 80% of women could experience heat in the face, chest and head followed by excessive sweating, chills and flushing. In fact, this is usually experienced during the nighttime where women may find themselves waking up drenched in sweat or shivering from the cold.
According to New York gynecologist Robin Phillips, “those sleep interruptions make fatigue the primary symptom of menopause around the world.”
Did you know that Vaginal dryness, is experienced by a third of all women going through menopause and it causes painful urination and sex. Also, some even find themselves leaking when sneezing or coughing.
With hormone replacement therapy, these symptoms can be alleviated or eliminated altogether giving women the chance to live a normal life as they go through menopause.
2. Hormone replacement therapy for women helps improve urogenital symptoms.
Aside from vaginal dryness, a lot of menopausal women also experience vaginal atrophy that may cause sexual problems and urinary frequency due to the proliferative effect of hormonal changes to the urethra and bladder.
Hormone replacement therapy for women in Pasco County, FL has been proven to improve urinary and vaginal symptoms by improving epithelial maturation and decreasing pH.
3. Hormone replacement therapy reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is one of the risks factors associated with menopause in women because it could cause pain, discomfort and even fractures.
Sometimes hormone replacement therapy can be used as a first-line treatment for menopause women under the age of 50 who are experiencing osteoporosis symptoms, especially estrogen that has been proven to increase bone mineral density and prevent osteoporotic fractures in menopausal women.
4. Hormone replacement therapy lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.
According to a clinical trial done by the Women’s Health Initiative, the risks of colorectal cancer were lower in women taking medroxyprogesterone acetate and combined conjugated equine estrogens.
Other studies have also proven the use of oral combined hormone replacement therapy to reduce the risks of the same disease.
5. Hormone replacement therapy for women improves mood.
A lot of women who experience mood changes and depressive symptoms have reported a huge improvement with the help of hormonal replacement therapy, especially when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy.
What are the types of hormone replacement therapy for women?
Hormone replacement therapy is created depending on the needs of the individual. Some of the most common types of therapies include estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy, which is used primarily in women who had hysterectomy since they don’t need progesterone anymore.
Sequential HRT is used in menstruating women who experience menopause symptoms. This includes a daily dose of estrogen and progesterone is given for 14 days every 13 weeks or a dose at the end of the menstrual cycle lasting for 14 days.
Long-cycle HRT, which is deemed controversial by some studies, is another common treatment; although it may cause withdrawal bleed every three months. Local estrogen, which includes creams, vaginal rings and tablets are used mainly for treating vaginal dryness, irritations and urogenital problems.
What is a compounding pharmacy?
According to the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP), compounding is “the preparation, mixing, assembling, altering, packaging and labeling of a drug, drug-delivery device, or device in accordance with a licensed practitioner’s prescription, medication order or initiative based on the practitioner/patient/pharmacist/compounder relationship in the course of professional practice.”
Compounding pharmacies cater to the unique needs of patients who may not be able to buy the drug or the exact preparation of a drug they need at a regular pharmacy or if the drug they require has been discontinued or currently in shortage.
A compounding pharmacist can customize drugs based on its dosage, strength, flavor or alter the formulation of a drug so it doesn’t include any ingredients that are not suitable for the patient or add drugs into topical creams, suppositories, liquids and transdermal gels.
However, it is illegal for a compounding pharmacy to re-create a drug that’s commercially available in the market.
What are the benefits of using a compounding pharmacy for HRT?
Hormonal replacement therapy is created around the needs of a patient, which means that standardized drugs may not be able to achieve the best results.
A hormone replacement therapy pharmacy can formulate a medication in the right dosage, strength and administration method that suits the patient.
1. A compounding pharmacy helps ensure the best results in HRT.
Hormone replacement therapy , as they say, is a very personal treatment option, which means that there’s no one-size-fits-all drug for it. Also, some individuals can take commercially available drugs for simple menopausal symptoms, most of them need a specific formulation to really alleviate their symptoms.
A compounding pharmacy becomes a valuable option because it allows a practitioner to prescribe HRT that really targets the patients needs and lessens its risks and side effects to the body, if not eliminate them altogether.
This helps give the maximum benefits to the patient’s well being by making sure that the best results are achieved for the treatment.
2. A compounding pharmacy helps promote better tolerability and safety in HRT.
According to experts, it’s safe for most women to take hormone replacement therapy within 10 years of menopause to address hot flashes. However, this varies among patients because some have good tolerance to the drug while others don’t.
HRT is also not free of any risks. As with other drugs, it has side effects that could trigger other symptoms, especially when a patient has an existing health condition.
With the help of a compounding pharmacy, these side effects are better managed because formulations are created specifically to the needs of a patient.
Lower doses are usually given to individuals with medical histories of cardiovascular diseases or blood clots to eliminate the risks of triggering these conditions while maximizing the benefits of HRT to the individual.
Hormone replacement therapy for men has also not been free of speculations about its safety, but that can be addressed with the help of a compounding pharmacy.
3. A compounding pharmacy offers different administration methods.
Although most patients receive HRT orally, some practitioners recommend other administration methods that may not be commercially available in a regular pharmacy. This is when a compounding pharmacy becomes beneficial because it offers patients a variety of administration methods to allow them to get the best results from the treatment in the most comfortable and convenient ways possible.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved estrogen therapies applied to the skin through sprays, patches and gels as well as low-dose estrogen pills because they lower the risks associated with hormonal replacement therapy while allowing menopausal individuals to get the most out of the treatment.
4. A compounding pharmacy offers the exact dosages to ensure efficacy.
Hormone replacement therapy differs for each individual in terms of the amount of hormones used, the other ingredients incorporated in the drug and of course, the exact dosage to be administered to the patient.
A compounding pharmacy caters to these needs by creating custom-compounded hormone replacement therapy that allows for precise dosages to be given to a patient in the method that’s most beneficial to her.
5. A compounding pharmacy opens the opportunity for bioidentical hormone therapy.
With the interest in more natural approaches to hormone replacement therapy, the use of bioidentical hormones have taken center stage over the last few years.
Compounded progesterone is especially being seen as a good alternative to synthetic progesterone because it binds naturally to the body’s receptors. This alternative form of HRT is a lot less detrimental than its synthetic counterpart.
According to some clinical studies, administering synthetic tablets resulted in higher risks for stroke, heart attack and even breast cancer. Bioidentical progesterone, on the other hand, has been seen to have anti-proliferative effects on breast tissues. This helped lower the risk for breast cancer in women taking progesterone.
Synthetic progesterone is also only available in specific dosages, which means that there are significant limitations in dosing ranges for women who might not be able to tolerate 100mg and 200mg capsules.
This is why a compounding pharmacy is extremely beneficial since it can create compounding progesterone in preparations and dosages recommended for patients undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
How important is it to find the right compounding pharmacy?
Whenever you require hormone replacement therapy, it’s best to find the right hormone health practitioner to look into your symptoms, medical history, lifestyle and health goals and create a treatment plan that’s in line with your needs to make sure that you get the best results.
Also, it is very important to find the right compounding pharmacy near you to create a formula of the medication you need according to the recommendations of your hormone health practitioner.
The pharmacist should be able to adapt to any changes in dosage, form or administration over time, as you go on with your treatment.
A personalized treatment plan is the best way to go because it gives you more options and control over your treatment plan. Rather than just settling for what’s commercially available, which might not be in line with your needs.
With the help of a hormone health practitioner and compounding pharmacy, it’s easier to achieve a more personalized experience that allows you to enjoy the benefits of hormone replacement therapy while reducing as much of the risks as possible.
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