Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment option that involves replacing body hormones that the body is no longer producing adequately. HRT is used to deal with symptoms of menopause which include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.
If you are considering HRT for the first, it is natural to have questions about what to expect from the treatment. Since the treatment itself is extensive, it’s also important to know what you’re getting yourself into.
On the website of NV Medical Orlando, a clinic that provides Hormone Replacement Therapy for women in Orlando, FL, there’s a six-week timeline that highlights what you’re getting into and what to expect.
It highlights that in the first week, you’ll experience fewer hot flashes and notice improvements slowly. By the third week, your anxiety levels will be down, and you’ll have fewer mood swings. By the fourth week, you’ll notice drastic improvements in your menopausal symptoms. Finally, by the sixth week, things will feel normal, and you’ll feel so physically.
This timeframe, of course, is only applicable once you start HRT. However, before you start, you must know a few more things which are discussed in detail below.
Consultation With a Healthcare Provider
As is the case with most other types of medical care, before starting your HRT, you will first need to schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider. This, of course, has to be someone who specializes in hormone therapy.
During your consultation session, your healthcare provider will ask you several questions related to your medical history, discuss the benefits and possible risks of HRT, and determine whether or not you are suitable for the treatment.
Your healthcare provider might also ask you to undergo a few physical tests and blood tests to evaluate your hormone levels.
Types of Hormone Therapy
There are different types of hormone therapy, and your healthcare provider can help you choose the type that is best for you. Their suggestions will be solely based on your individual needs and medical history. You can rest assured that an experienced professional will only suggest whatever is best for you in the long run.
Currently, there are two main types of HRT. These are estrogen-only therapy and combination therapy. The combination therapy includes estrogen, but it has progesterone too, and thus it’s referred to as a combination therapy.
You can take estrogen in various forms. These include everything from pills and patches to creams and gels. Progesterone for HRT, on the other hand, is typically taken in pill forms.
As with any medication, HRT can cause side effects. Therefore, you should be ready to deal with a few unpleasant symptoms.
Common side effects of HRT include breast tenderness, bloating, headaches, and vaginal bleeding. You can expect all these side effects to go away after a week or two of the treatment.
There are a few serious side effects as well, which include blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer. Such side effects are rare but can occur if you’re taking hormone therapy for a long time. Rest assured that your healthcare provider will discuss all the risks associated with your treatment with you and help you weigh the potential benefits and risks of HRT.
Timeframe for Relief of Symptoms
Many women experience relief from menopausal symptoms within a few weeks of starting HRT. However, it may take up to three months for the full effects of HRT to be felt.
If you don’t experience relief from your symptoms after three months of treatment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dosage or switch you to a different type of HRT. This, too, will be done after holding discussions with you.
Monitoring of Hormone Levels and Health
Once you start HRT, your healthcare provider will frequently monitor your hormone levels and overall health condition. They might ask you to do blood tests every 6 to 12 months. These tests are for evaluating your hormone levels and checking for any potential side effects.
If you have a history of certain medical conditions, such as breast cancer or heart disease, your healthcare provider may recommend more frequent monitoring. They might even ask you to rethink the therapy entirely if they’re uncertain about its effectiveness or the risks it might pose.
That’s everything you need to know before your first HRT session. While it may not seem like a lot, there are still a lot of things you have to take into account for the first session, so prepare yourself accordingly.