A Prempro Primer
One of the most widely prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) options is Prempro. This pill has helped thousands of women cope with the discomfort of menopause. Yet any medication has the potential for side effects, some serious, and may not be suitable for all women. How can you decide if taking Prempro might be good for you? As always, talking to your healthcare professional is a must. But this quick primer can provide you with the basic facts to help you in your research.
Note to Canadian readers: Prempro is called Premplus in Canada. Premplus comes in the form of two pills, one containing estrogen and one containing progesterone, that are taken daily.
For readers in the United Kingdom: Prempro is marketed under the name Premia Continuous. One pill is taken every day.
In the United States, both hormonal elements are combined into one pill that is taken daily. The rest of this article will continue to use the Prempro name, but the information refers to Prempo, Premia Continuous and Premplus.
What is Prempro?
Prempro is used in HRT for menopausal women, and is a combination of estrogen and progesterone. It is used when women undergo menopause naturally; women still having their uterus. Therefore this mediation is not for women who have undergone a hysterectomy. This HRT option is to help lessen menopausal symptoms including vulvar dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Ideally it should only be taken in very low doses (0.3 mg to 1/5 mg) for short periods of time.
Consider your menopausal symptoms
For some women, menopausal symptoms are mild and have little if any impact on performing daily tasks. Other women may experience more moderate symptoms that tend to affect quality of life. Prempro is an option for women with moderate to severe symptoms; this is to help women cope with the changes due to fluctuating hormones. This HRT option claims that most women will notice improvements in their symptoms in as little as a few weeks into treatment.
Risks to note
Some studies point that estrogen increases a woman’s chances of developing uterine cancer. Additionally, women may also be at risk for heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. Women must discuss their personal health histories with their doctor before deciding whether HRT is right for them.
Possible side effects
As with any mediation, there are possible side effects that every woman should be aware of. Unusual vulvar spotting can occur during menopause; women taking HRT should check with their doctor to confirm the cause for any types of spotting or bleeding.
Some women will have painful menstrual periods while taking HRT.
Some women will find they are more prone to leg cramps.
Others may notice that their breasts are more enlarged than usual, and this may be accompanied with increased painfulness and sensitivity.
Another side effect is an increased risk for vaginitis.
Unlike the past few decades, more doctors are no longer simply prescribing HRT and sending women on their way. Women are becoming more informed about their bodies and want to be proactive in their healthcare, including managing menopause. By arming ourselves with the information we need we can work with our physicians to decide if Prempro HRT is right for us.
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You
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