Menopause and Estrogen
  Some frequently asked questions in my practice revolve around hormone treatment. Menopause is defined as cessation of periods for more than12 months in women over the age of 40. Menopause is not defined as "having hot flashes." Laboratory tests or hormonal levels are unnecessary in women with a uterus and not on birth control pills to diagnose menopause. 
 
Once you are menopausal, the decision to use estrogen and/or progesterone is up to you based on your symptoms. If your symptoms are severe and affect your enjoyment of life, the use of hormone replacement therapy is a good option. 
 
Symptoms of menopause there are reduced or eliminated with hormone use are:
  • Hot Flashes
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Painful Sexual Intercourse
  • Possibly Mood Changes
  • Possibly Skin and Hair Changes
     
You should not use hormones in menopause if:
  • You have had Breast Cancer
  • You have had Uterine Cancer
  • You have had Blood Clots
  • You have had a Stroke
  • You have significant Heart Disease

By using hormone replacement there is a 1 in 1,000 risk of developing breast cancer at the age of 40 and 1 in 250 chance of developing breast cancer a the have of 60 per year. The same is true for hormone replacement. If you feel dramatically better on hormone replacement, the small risks can be reasonable for the great benefits you receive.
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