If you are reading this later in life, and particularly over the age of 65, you may assume that it is too late to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT). You may fear that you have missed your window not only to derive the greatest benefits of HRT, but to receive treatment at all. But being older doesn’t mean the possibility of HRT is closed.
Many women continue to experience a plethora of disruptive symptoms in their postmenopausal years, compromising overall health, functionality, and quality of life. Meanwhile, you are facing an ever-increasing risk of bone density loss and osteoporosis. Until relatively recently, however, HRT was not recommended to address these concerns after a certain age; doctors have long been reluctant to prescribe HRT to women over the age of 65—or even 60—due to both a lack of appreciation for the impact of women’s symptoms and, sometimes, a belief that it carried too many risks for too few benefits. But now, that is changing.
It is true that many of the protective benefits of HRT appear to diminish or disappear with age. It is also true that older women may be more likely to have risk factors that make them less than ideal candidates for HRT. However, for many women, HRT can be a truly transformative, positive intervention even after the age of 65.
With this new understanding, more women can realize the benefits of HRT and preserve their quality of life as they age. However, research suggests that older women should try to stick to particular types of hormones and administration methods to reduce health risks.
HRT After Premature, Early, and Surgical Menopause
While most women experience natural menopause around the age of 50, some women reach menopause much earlier or after surgery. In these cases, HRT should typically be started immediately.
Menopause that happens before the age of 40 is known as premature menopause, while between 40 and 45 it is known as early menopause. Women who experience premature or early menopause can have the same symptoms as women who experience typical menopause but may also be at greater risk for psychological distress and a number of serious physiological health conditions. Meanwhile, women who undergo oophorectomy — the surgical removal of one or both ovaries — prior to natural menopause can experience even more severe symptoms due to the extreme and sudden drop in hormones as well as significant long-term health risks. For all women who experience premature, early, or surgical menopause these risks include cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, neurological disease, mood disorders, and other complications.
Due to these risks, it is typically recommended that women who experience premature, early, and surgical menopause start hormone replacement therapy as soon as possible. In these cases, there is little doubt that HRT is the right choice and should be initiated immediately.
But First, Always Seek Expert Guidance
No matter what your stage of life, deciding whether and when to start HRT is a serious decision and it’s not one you have to make alone. Speak with your doctor and together you can seek out a practitioner, like ReVital, who specializes in hormone replacement therapy. If you do decide to initiate treatment, your care team can develop a treatment plan customized to your needs, taking into account your symptoms, preferences, and overall health to optimize efficacy and minimize risk.
How ReVital Can Help
ReVital offers free consultations where you can speak to one of our clinicians about ReVital’s Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. At ReVital, we can conduct simple blood tests to evaluate the levels of these hormones in your system and prescribe supplements or therapies to treat and control the majority of hormonal imbalances. We also encourage that you connect with your regular doctor about any changes in your health and moods. At ReVital, we are ready to be a part of your care team!