Menopause, according to the Mayo Clinic, is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. There are many women whose menopausal symptoms are so severe that they interfere with their daily activities. To help women manage their symptoms some women choose to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
HRT continues to be an area of interest for women that are having symptoms related to their transition. The advantages of hormone therapy can provide protection against heart disease, osteoporosis, and colorectal cancer in certain patients. The risks of taking hormone therapy are increase risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, blood blots and increase of false positives on mammograms.
Because of the 2002 landmark nurses study on women and menopause, many women began to have concerns about when to take hormone therapy (HT). The recommendations for hormone therapy generally are to take the lowest dosage of the therapy for the shortest duration to help with symptoms. Hot flashes are usually the symptoms that are best corrected. Estrogen-only therapy is the gold standard for treatment.
The Analysis Group, Inc., conducted a study of over 54,000 women in Canada and found that women that used hormone therapy using a patch had lower risk of blood clots in their legs or lungs than those that took oral hormone therapy. The reason given for the better tolerance for the patch is the administration process into the body. Since lung clots can be fatal any reduction in the risk factor for blood clots is a good health benefit.
As a naturopathic physician I am obligated to include all of the options related to improve the menopausal symptoms for my patients. When I work to restore a women’s balance during menopause I always include recommendations on dietary support, additional nutritional support, weight loss(if needed), exercise and stress management. Finally I talk about hormone therapy support if needed or wanted by the patient. I will now include the option to use patches instead of oral including the reduction of blood clots as an advantage for the patch.