Treatment Options for Hormone Deficiency

Most women may begin to experience symptoms of hormone deficiency in their late 30s or early 40s. Surgical removal of the ovaries at any age will also cause signs and symptoms of hormone deficiency. Other possible causes of hormonal deficiency may include high stress, unhealthy diet, inadequate sleep, diabetes, and thyroid problems.

There are many options for treating hormonal deficiency in women. These include lifestyle changes and medication. The most successful method of treatment for hormonal deficiency in women is the use of hormone replacement therapy. Symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, headaches, memory loss, depression, vaginal dryness, and urinary incontinence can be alleviated to a large extent using this treatment. Hormone replacement therapy also protects against cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and increased cholesterol levels.

The female hormones progesterone and estrogen help with treatment of menopausal symptoms. Low doses of testosterone, pregnenolone, DHEA and melatonin also help to improve the quality of life of women suffering with hormonal deficiency.

Hormone replacement therapy can be given orally, through the skin, subcutaneously through a long-lasting implant (pellets), or vaginally. The different therapy options include:

  • Cyclical HRT: Estrogen is taken every day and progestogen (a synthetic form of progesterone) for 12 to 14-day cycles. At the end of each cycle, there is bleeding similar to a normal menstrual cycle. This helps to protect the endometrium from harmful precancerous changes.
  • Long-cycle HRT: This formulation causes withdrawal bleeds every 3 months and is beneficial for women who suffer side effects when taking progestogen.
  • Estrogen only HRT: Estrogen alone may be prescribed for women that have had a hysterectomy, as progesterone which is required to protect the lining of the womb is not required in these instances.
  • Continuous combined HRT: A combination of estrogen and progestogen is taken every day. It is usually only recommended for postmenopausal women.
  • Local Estrogen: Vaginal tablets or creams are used to treat local conditions such as vaginal dryness, irritation or infection.

Women wishing to use hormone replacement therapy must discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor. For most women, the benefits of hormone replacement treatment usually outweigh the risks.