Menopause Care | Hormone Replacement Therapy

What is menopause?

Menopause happens when female reproductive hormones start to decline. It is a natural occurrence that usually starts between age 40 and 60. A female person is considered to be in menopause when their last period was 12 months ago. Menopause ushers in many changes that can cause physical and emotional discomfort.

Menopause symptoms include:

  • Hot flashes

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Bone weakening

  • Hair changes

  • Hormone changes

  • Memory problems

  • Mood swings

  • Vaginal dryness

Talk with your provider if you believe you may have menopause symptoms.

How do you treat menopause symptoms?

  • Self-care: Healthy eating, meditation, relaxation exercises and yoga

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): Estrogen, progesterone, or a combination of estrogen and other medications can help balance the hormone changes during menopause. There are risks that come with HRT that you will need to discuss with your provider.

  • Counseling: Talk therapy can help you work through the changes and learn the best ways to treat your body in its new stage.

  • Osteoporosis treatment: Menopause can cause loss of bone strength and durability which can lead to osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones. Your provider may recommend a bone scan to check for signs of osteoporosis. Depending on the diagnosis, you may be advised to adjust your diet, do weight-bearing exercises and take medication.

Complete OB/GYN care

MaineHealth provides obstetrics and gynecology services at doctor’s offices, specialty clinics and community hospitals in Maine and New Hampshire.

What is hormone replacement therapy?

Hormone replacement therapy is medicine containing female hormones, usually estrogen, progestin or both. It is used to help treat these symptoms of menopause. It can also prevent osteoporosis. But hormone replacement therapy also has risks. Talk to your provider about the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy.

Hormone replacement therapy can increase your risk of:

  • Breast cancer

  • Heart disease

  • Stroke

Your provider may look at your medical history and lifestyle when discussing whether HRT is right for you. If you decide to take HRT, it should be at the lowest effective dose.

Who should consider HRT?

Women who are healthy and:

  • Have moderate or severe menopause symptoms like hot flashes

  • Have lost bone mass

  • Stopped having period before the age of 40

Who should avoid HRT?

Hormone replacement therapy isn’t for everyone.You should not take hormone replacement therapy if you:

  • Think you are pregnant

  • Have had certain types of cancers, or have a family history of certain cancers

  • Have had a stroke or a heart attack

  • Have had blood clots