Determining Whether Hormone Replacement Therapy is Right for You

During menopause, women’s hormone levels naturally drop, which can lead to unpleasant side effects. You might think menopause is an unavoidable and uncomfortable part of life, but hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help relieve your menopausal symptoms. 

As a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. John Kirk and our team at Adventist Health can help you make an informed decision as to whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you. Adventist Health offers bioidentical HRT options at our three convenient offices located in Napa, St. Helena, and Hidden Valley Lake, California. If you’re dealing with menopausal discomfort, read on to find out how HRT can improve your life. 

What causes menopause?

Menopause is the natural time in a woman’s life where she no longer has menstrual cycles and can no longer get pregnant. Menopause usually occurs in your 40s and 50s and is medically diagnosed when you have gone 12 months without a menstrual period. 

Menopause usually occurs when your body stops releasing eggs and your ovaries reduce hormone production. This reduction in hormone levels leads to many of the uncomfortable symptoms that menopause is known for, such as:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability 
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Loss of libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary incontinence

These symptoms can be disruptive to every part of your life, leaving you feeling drained and unlike your natural self. Even if you still have periods, you may experience similar symptoms due to perimenopause, which can occur a full four years before your periods finally stop. 

While menopause can be caused by the natural decline of reproductive hormones, there are other conditions that can cause early menopause as well. If your ovaries have been removed due to a total hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy, you might experience immediate-onset menopause. This sudden drop in your hormone levels is likely to cause severe menopausal symptoms that could benefit from HRT. 

Nearly 1% of women experience primary ovarian insufficiency, where ovaries fail to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones, which leads to premature menopause before the age of 40. Estrogen and other hormones play an important role in protecting your body from the risk of health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia. HRT can help reduce your risk of developing these conditions. HRT is also approved to treat conditions such as osteoporosis (loss of bone density) or estrogen deficiencies. 

What is hormone replacement therapy? 

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps relieve many of your menopausal symptoms. HRT works by using bioidentical hormones derived from plant sources. 

These hormones are molecularly identical to those in your body and work the same way. By taking these replacement bioidentical hormones, your hormone levels will start to normalize, which can reduce your menopausal symptoms.

Here at Adventist Health, we offer multiple HRT options, including pills, creams, patches, injections, and rings. There are single-hormone and combined-hormone replacement options. Each type of replacement and delivery option has its own advantages and disadvantages. We can help you understand which option is the best for you. 

During an HRT consultation, Dr. Kirk asks about your current symptoms to determine if HRT can help with managing your discomfort. Dr. Kirk also conducts a medical and family history to determine if you have any risk factors that would make you ineligible for HRT.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Kirk has been dedicated to improving women’s wellbeing through a patient-centered and holistic approach to health care. Call us or book an online appointment today to find out how Dr. Kirk can help reduce your menopausal discomfort.