This therapy can help to relieve the symptoms of either perimenopause or menopause. This can mean taking estrogen or progestin for those who haven’t had a hysterectomy and still have a uterus. It is a form of progesterone. Taking progestin will help to reduce the risk of cancer within the uterus.
The first type is local therapy, which is commonly used in women who have vaginal dryness only. This is done with a vaginal ring, cream or tablet. These forms release small amounts of estrogen into the tissue of the vagina, which helps to restore the elasticity and thickness of it while helping with irritation and dryness overall.
With this type of therapy, hormones are releases into the bloodstream and travel to where they are needed. This form uses estrogen in pills, gels, sprays, skin patches and more. If progestin is prescribed to the patient, it will be given separately or combined with estrogen in order to be taken. For estrogen-only therapy, it will be taken daily or every few days. For women in combined therapy, they will use cyclic or continuous therapy methods. With cyclic, estrogen is taken daily and progestin every few days. Continuous therapy is when both estrogen and progestin are taken daily.
Medications such as antidepressants have been shown to help with symptoms. Plant-based alternatives such as Chinese herbal remedies have shown some improvements in some patients too.
Ultimately if someone chooses to use hormone therapy, regular follow ups are important. Benefits and risks can also change over time too. Your health care provider can assess your use of continued hormone therapy and change your dose and methods over time as things change. Always report any side effects to your health provider immediately.