Dr. Joann Manson, author of Hot Flashes, Hormones, and Your Health, suggests asking yourself three questions before going to the doctor.
Amid all the recent confusion about hormone therapy (HT), it is still an appropriate option for some women. Although it’s been proven as a treatment only for hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness, it may also improve sleep, mood, and concentration.
But like most medications, HT carries risks, including higher rates of stroke, blood clots in the legs and lungs (perhaps less of a problem with patches or gels than pills), breast cancer (especially with combination estrogen and progestin), and for older women, heart disease.
So it’s worth trying other options first — layered clothing, portable fans, exercise, relaxation techniques, and avoiding dietary triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. And although research findings are decidedly mixed, some women report hot flash relief from soy, black cohosh, and certain antidepressants.
If, however, none of these strategies work, and you want to consider HT in consultation with your doctor, ask yourself…
To read the rest of this article, and find out what might qualify you for considering hormone therapy, click here.