You say you’re two years past your last menstrual period. You’re healthy and active, and you run, cycle, and swim. You haven’t had hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms of note, other than occasional insomnia and muscle and joint pain after exercise.
You read Estrogen Matters (which I highly recommend; listen to my conversation with the authors here), and you’ve been interested in some of the content here about hormone therapy (HT). You’re considering HT for the protective benefits it offers; in fact, you’ve obtained a prescription but haven’t started the therapy yet.
I really support your initiative to determine whether HT will benefit you. You describe yourself as small in stature, which makes me think HT may especially benefit bone health (bone health is the primary reason for using HT myself). I look forward to more research and data around cognitive health and HT, but what we know now seems to support some benefit. We see benefit for cardiovascular health, reduction of Type II diabetes (for which you are likely at extremely low risk), and benefit for sexual health; you may have improvements in joint pain.
You ask whether the estrogen patch will stay on when you sauna, do hot yoga, and run in hot weather. The patch should adhere with swimming and sweating. If the patch doesn’t stay on, there are other transdermal options you can explore. Use of the patch should not be a limitation in continuing your admirable fitness habits.
I’m encouraged that you’ve taken the time and devoted the energy to educating yourself—and that your provider was in agreement. It feels like we are making progress in dispelling some of the unfounded fears and worries about the safety of HT.
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.