You must weigh the symptoms against the side effects of estrogen replacement
In BioBalance Healthcast episode 154, Brett Newcomb and I discuss the decision-making process for a woman who is thinking about taking estrogen replacement therapy. There are side effects of estrogen replacement and there are serious symptoms to suffer when you do not replace it. We cover both sides of the treatment coin.
First, it helps to consider the symptoms that estrogen treats, see how severe the symptoms are, and how much they impair your life. Here is a list of symptoms estrogen replacement therapy treats:
- hot flashes
- dry vagina
- stress incontinence
- irritable bladder
- painful intercourse
- skin irritations
- facial skin wrinkling
- hair loss especially in the front of the head
- recurrent urinary tract infections
These are the conditions you may develop when you don’t replace estrogen after losing it naturally with menopause or after you’d had your ovaries removed. Not all women suffer all of these symptoms, which is why it is necessary to consider the symptoms that you have and then you must then discuss them with your doctor.
You should also consider the cost benefit ratio to the decision: What will it cost you in terms of money and suffering if you do not replace your estrogen? How possible is it that you might have one of the side effects if you do replace estrogen? How does estrogen replacement work? What are the methods of delivery and the cost of the type of estrogen your doctor chooses for you?
I generally talk to my patients about how to make the best decision about hormone replacement. Important to the decision making process is having a clear understanding of the symptoms you have or are likely to develop. In this episode we cover these additional questions:
- What does it cost in terms of money and effort to treat each symptom separately?
- What would it cost in the same terms to treat them all by replacing estrogen?
- How can a woman and her physician make a good decision for her health care?
- What actions bring the best results over time and how does cost factor into the process of deciding?