Estrogen Replacement Therapy
Estrogen Replacement Therapy in Philadelphia, PA
Women who experience a low libido, vaginal dryness, mood swings and other issues during perimenopause and menopause may suffer from low levels of estrogen. In Bala Cynwyd and Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Daniel Lebowitz, a board-certified physician at World Wellness Health Institute, uses estrogen replacement therapy to help women deal with the symptoms of menopause in order to feel normal again.
What is Estrogen Replacement Therapy?
Estrogen is the sex hormone in women (men have smaller amounts) responsible for sex organs and reproduction. Not only does it bring about puberty in girls and control the menstrual cycle, it helps keep bones strong and stabilizes moods. As women age, there is a decrease in the production of estrogen, until finally there is very little production at menopause.
As the decrease takes place, women enter the perimenopause phase of their reproductive cycle, which ultimately leads to menopause (the cessation of the menstrual cycle). When this happens, there are many side effects that can go from being a little inconvenient to very bothersome. Women typically begin experiencing perimenopause symptoms in their mid to late-40s, then menopause (12 months with no menstrual cycle) in their early 50s; however, this may begin earlier in some women, especially if they have their ovaries removed. If this is the case, estrogen replacement therapy is often recommended to prevent osteoporosis and other health conditions.
Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) is a medical treatment in which the estrogen levels are returned to normal through prescription medication. The medication goes into the body in several ways, including vaginal rings, gels or creams, injections, pellets and oral medication.
Gel/cream, injections, and pellets allow for the estrogen to enter the blood stream at the most concentrated rate, while vaginal rings are typically prescribed in low doses to specifically treat the vaginal areas. Oral medication has a tendency to lose its efficacy, as it has to metabolize in the body before entering the bloodstream.
Benefits of Estrogen Replacement Therapy
ERT is beneficial to women who are in the phases of perimenopause, premature menopause or menopause. It is best to use the lowest dosage possible to return estrogen levels to normal to have the following effects on the body:
Improved quality of sleep
Diminished hot flashes – frequency and severity
Improved vaginal health
Enhanced bone health
Improved dental health
How is Estrogen Replacement Therapy Administered?
There are several methods for ERT to be administered. The chosen method depends on several variables and a recommendation from a physician who typically starts with the lowest dosage to improve the symptoms.
Oral Medication. As the most common form of ERT, pills are generally taken once a day and do a good job at relieving some of the menopausal symptoms along with reducing the risk of osteoporosis. While oral medication is the most studied form of ERT, it takes a bit longer to get into the bloodstream because it must go through the metabolic system which may decrease the amount of the hormone entering the body.
Skin Patches. Another form of administering ERT is via skin patches. This method allows estrogen to go directly into the bloodstream and diminishes the symptoms of menopause and is very convenient as the patches are typically changed once to twice a week. They are typically placed on the lower abdomen below the waistline.
Gels/Creams. These forms are also absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream and are typically applied once a day. It is important to remember to apply them after showering and allow ample time for the hormones to fully absorb into the skin.
Vaginal Rings/Suppositories. These are usually prescribed to directly treat vaginal symptoms, such as dryness and thinning of the lining. They also provide some convenience, as rings are replaced every two to three months, while suppositories or tablets are replaced daily for a couple of weeks then only twice a week.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy Preparation
The only preparation needed for ERT is a full health checkup to ensure there are no issues preventing patients from this treatment protocol and to determine which treatment plan is best for the patient. Should suppositories be selected as the ERT treatment, prescriptions are usually filled at pharmacies with the ability to make compound prescriptions onsite.
How Much Does Estrogen Replacement Therapy Cost?
The cost of ERT depends on several factors, including the type of treatment and the dosage. We can discuss the cost with you along with payment options. We offer financing through CareCredit® and can also help determine if your health insurance plan provides coverage for ERT.
Is Estrogen Replacement Therapy Right for Me?
If you are bothered by the symptoms that come with perimenopause and menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, headaches and other issues, and want to prevent chronic conditions like osteoporosis from developing or getting worse, you may want to consider ERT. You can talk with your doctor about this regimen to determine if it right for you.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy Consultation
Determining if ERT is an option for you requires a consultation with Dr. Lebowitz. During this appointment, he performs an overall health checkup, along with getting a full medical history and complete blood count. At that point, he can discuss whether ERT is an option and which form of ERT is the best one to help you return your hormone levels to normal.
*Disclaimer: Results cannot be guaranteed and may vary from person to person.
The effects of perimenopause and menopause result in negative and bothersome symptoms that are often physically and emotionally debilitating. If you live in Bala Cynwyd and Philadelphia, PA or the surrounding areas, and are considering estrogen replacement therapy, World Wellness Health Institute offers treatment for the symptoms associated with estrogen deficiency, contact us today to schedule a consultation with board-certified physician Dr. Daniel Lebowitz so you can feel normal again.