Just like you would before starting any other course of treatment, you should consult with a medical professional before beginning any kind of hormone replacement therapy. Since these treatments are tailor-made to each individual patient’s needs, preliminary examinations and consultations are not only recommended, but an essential first step in the treatment process.
That being said, it can be helpful to know a little bit about the options available to you before your first meeting with your physician, as well as what you should ask your doctor about when it comes to your unique hormonal needs. Dr. Edward Jacobson could address any questions or concerns you have during a confidential consultation and get you started on the HRT treatment that would be best for you.
Hormone replacement therapy is not a one-size-fits-all treatment option, so the first question you should ask your doctor before pursuing HRT is what type of treatments might best address the specific issues you are dealing with. The decision between bioidentical versus synthetic hormone therapy or estrogen-only versus progestogen therapy is an important one, and you should go into the decision-making process fully aware of all your options.
Furthermore, hormone replacement therapy can come in patch, gel, spray, injection, emulsion, or oral tablet form if you are using a systemic product meant to circulate through your entire body, or in cream, ring, or tablet form for localized use. It may even be worthwhile to ask whether any non-therapeutic treatment options might be helpful for you, including small lifestyle changes like changing your diet.
Regardless of the type of therapy you pursue and the method of application, your doctor will almost always start you off with the lowest dose possible to ensure that your body can acclimate to the treatment and that it is having its intended effect. However, depending on your symptoms and needs, the minimum dose can vary a lot, so it is often a good idea to seek clarification from your physician about the right dosage for you.
While a few studies have detected a correlation between synthetic hormone treatments and increased risk of heart disease, strokes, blood clots, and other health complications, the same fortunately cannot be said for bioidentical hormone treatments. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to discuss with your doctor what symptoms and risks have been associated with HRT so you can be fully informed. You should also ask about what contraindications. For example, a history of smoking might preclude you from safely taking hormone replacement therapy.
The amount of time an individual patient may need to continue hormone replacement therapy depends on their unique needs and symptoms, so there is no standardized length of time that this type of treatment will go on for. However, low-dose HRT treatments can be taken with relatively little risk for up to five years. A discussion with a medical professional could clear up what sort of time scale you could expect for your treatment.