One of the toughest aspects when dealing with your "change in life" is not only knowing what to expect but also coming to the realisation that "you need to do something", if in fact that's what you want to do.
I wish I had as comprehensive a checklist (refer below article) when I was sitting in my Gyn's clinic consumed in this "menopausal" haze of misery, confusion and uncertainty. How I kicked myself for not asking enough questions, not considering my complete options and the precautionary medical screening before, during and after my chosen method of treatment.
Carefully devise your "plan of attack" only after expert and researched medical advice…then you will be far more informed as to what's the best hormone therapy treatment for you! Here's a good set of questions that you can ask your Doctor or Gyn about your menopausal symptoms, and a set of questions that you should be asking of them if you decide to start hormone therapy.
- Are in their 50s or younger.
- Had their last menstrual period within the last 3 years.
- Have moderate to severe symptoms.
Estrogen therapy can protect against bone loss. However, you might have side effects like breast tenderness, spotting or bleeding, nausea, bloating, water retention, headache, or mood changes. If you have not had a hysterectomy, you will need to also take a second hormone, a progestogen, to protect your uterus from the risk of cancer.
Systemic hormone therapy at low doses does not always improve your vaginal symptoms (dryness, uncomfortable sex, urinary tract infections). If your vaginal symptoms do not improve, consider adding vaginal hormone therapy.
ESTROGEN ONLY OPTIONS
Pills - Relieve hot flashes and vaginal thinning with one daily dose.
Skin Patches, Gels or Sprays that Absrob through Skin - Relieve symptoms and are easy to use. Might be safer because they bypass the liver.
Vaginal Estrogen Ring – Can relieve hot flashes as well as vaginal dryness.
1/ Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Your Menopausal Symptoms
- Could the symptoms I have come from something other than menopause?
- Should I get checked for diabetes, thyroid disease, and colon cancer?
- How does my health history affect my risks and my decision about menopausal hormone therapy?
- What if I don't want to take hormone therapy? Are there non-hormonal options to relieve my symptoms?
- What non-hormonal prescription drugs interact with my current medications, and how? What about over-the-counter drugs?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I should make?
- What advice do you have to help me eat right, be more active, stop smoking, sleep better, or manage stress?
2/ Questions to Ask Your Health Care Provider if You Decide to Start Hormone Therapy
- Before I start menopausal hormone therapy, should I:
- Have my blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides checked?
- Get a breast exam and mammogram?
- Get a Pap smear and pelvic exam?
- Review my family history of heart disease, blood clots, or breast cancer?
- What is the lowest dose that will work for me?
- In light of my medical history, what is the safest form of therapy to take?
- How long should I take menopausal hormone therapy?
- What are the possible side effects of hormone therapy, and how can I deal with them?
- If I want to stop menopausal hormone therapy, should I stop cold turkey or taper off?
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