5 Hormone Therapy Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

hormone-therapy

There are times in life when simple functions that used to happen in our bodies like clockwork taper off, which sometimes results in symptoms that are uncomfortable, or in some cases life changing. This is true for both men and women, and it happens with age. Hormone levels that were once at an ideal level that made us feel healthier and more vibrant gradually change. These changes are completely natural, but when they create symptoms that become bothersome, some people try methods like hormone replacement therapy in an attempt to regain some of the healthier attributes they once had.

Hormone therapy is often used in women during perimenopause years and during menopause itself to relieve uncomfortable symptoms that happen normally with age, when hormone levels decrease. Hormone replacement therapy is often used to counteract uncomfortable side effects like hot flashes, night sweats, and disruptions to sleep that can make life more difficult, especially when the symptoms are so pronounced that they are significantly affecting a person’s ability to function. In men, hormones are sometimes used for occurrences of prostate or testicular cancer, or even for unwelcome symptoms like tiredness, sluggish feelings and loss of muscle strength.

Hormone Use Comes With Side Effects
One thing that people need to understand before they think of undergoing hormone replacement therapy is that using these hormones, whether they are pharmaceutical or herbal plant-based, can result in unwelcome side effects. Here are some hormone therapy facts that you might not know:

1) Heart Attack and Stroke Risks Increase – Using hormone therapy long-term can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. This is one reason hormone therapy is usually recommended as a short term solution for relief of the most troublesome symptoms that occur with hormone decreases, according to Health & Wellness Medical Center.

2) Hormone Therapy and Osteoporosis – Hormone replacement can have beneficial side effects for women, who often experience a decrease in bone mass and strength as they age called Osteoporosis. Bones can weaken and become brittle, eventually leading to breaks. The bones most often affected according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are those in the wrists, hip and spine. Hormone therapy can help to lessen Osteoporosis. However, hormone therapy is usually recommended for short-term use because of other serious risks.

3) Using Hormone Replacement Wisely – Hormone replacement should be used under the care and supervision of a professional. The risks presented by hormone therapy should be weighed against other risk factors for illness that also exist like being over 55, obesity, poor lifestyle choices, smoking, medical history of heart attacks, strokes or deep vein thrombosis.

4) Hormone therapy in men – You might not have known that hormone therapy is sometimes used in men. Reasons for use range from attempting to increase survival rates in men who have been diagnosed with prostate or testicular cancer, to alleviating symptoms like persistent fatigue and reduction of muscle mass. Testosterone replacements are often the therapy used. The length of treatment is based on things like the Gleason score, a method used to grade the way cancer tissue looks under microscope, and on the PSA levels of men, determined through blood tests.

5) Estrogen used in men – Another little known fact about hormone therapy is that estrogen was once used in men to decrease androgen levels. This was thought to help in certain cancer cases. Today, estrogen is no longer used for this purpose because of the same risks that women have encountered when using estrogen, like increased risks of heart attack and stroke.

Hormones are Combined For Safety

When hormone therapy is prescribed, hormones are often combined to increase the safety in using hormones. This way, hormones are more similar to those that are produced naturally by the body when people are younger. Estrogen is used along with Progestin to keep an imbalance in hormones from being created.

If estrogen is used alone, the lining of the uterus can thicken. This overgrowth, known as hyperplasia of cells, can eventually cause uterine cancer. When hormone therapy is used, it’s often advised for the use to be short-term, and for relief of the most prominent and troubling symptoms.

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