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Perspectives on Sexuality and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Updated on December 6, 2014

Many women use hormone replacement therapy in the time preceding and during menopause to alleviate hot flashes and vaginal dryness. This treatment is not without risks.

In a journal entry, outline the risks of hormone replacement therapy, and then discuss the benefits this therapy provides to menopausal women. Conclude with your thoughts about hormone replacement therapy. Should it be an available option? When do you think it should be considered and when should it be avoided?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment for women in the time preceding and during menopause whose estrogen and progesterone levels have dropped significantly because of the menopause (Medical News Today, 2014). Estrogen and progesterone are both female hormones that contribute to a woman’s menstrual cycle and ability to bear children; when the female body stops producing estrogen the physiological changes of menopause begin (Craparo, 2014). Hormone replacement therapy is a prescription medication designed to reduce and/or eliminate many of the symptoms women experience in the time preceding and during menopause. Hormone replacement therapy can be used to manage hot flashes, night sweats, sleep difficulties, vaginal dryness, and anxiety caused by menopause (MedlinePlus, 2014).
Hormone replacement therapy can be prescribed in the form of a pill, skin patch, gel, nasal spray, cream, or spray (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). Only healthy women should decide to use hormone replacement therapy and only if they: are experience moderate to severe hot flashes, have lost bone mass, cannot tolerate other treatments, stopped having periods before age 40, or have lost normal function of ovaries before age 40 (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). Women who experienced early menopause are at risk for osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, early death, Parkinsonism, dementia, and/or depression if they do not take hormone replacement therapy until at least age 45 (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014).
For women who have not experienced early menopause they are at more risk in deciding to take hormone replacement therapy. Women who use hormone replacement therapy have a higher risk of: heart disease, stroke, blood clots, breast cancer, and other types of cancer (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). These risks can be somewhat minimized by avoiding long term hormone replacement therapy use by limiting the use to five years or less. Women can also face headaches, nausea, bloating, moodiness, water retention, and breast pain as a side effect of hormone replacement therapy (MedicineNet, 2014).
I believe that hormone replacement therapy should remain an option for managing menopause symptoms, but it should not be the first treatment option tried in the cases of early menopause. I feel that the decision to use hormone replacement therapy is a personal decision that will differ between women depending on their own feelings, medical history, and the level of severity of the symptoms. Doctors should only allow healthy women who have tried other treatment options without positive results to use hormone replacement therapy and only after informing them of the risks involved. Hormone replacement therapy should always be avoided if the patient has a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, blood clots to the legs or lungs, stroke, or liver disease should avoid hormone replacement therapy due to above average health risks (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014).


References

Craparo, J. (2014). Estrogen, Progesterone, and Menopause. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.mainlinehealth.org/oth/Page.asp?pageID=OTH003601

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Menopause. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/in-depth/hormone-therapy/art-20046372

Medical News Today. (2014). What is hormone replacement therapy? What is HRT? Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181726.php

MedicineNet. (2014). What are the side effects and risks of hormone therapy)? Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.medicinenet.com/hormone_therapy/page2.htm

MedlinePlus. (2014). Hormone therapy: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007111.htm

QUESTION

A ANSWER

THE CORRECT ANSWER

Adolescents

How do adolescents describe sexuality?

Adolescents describe sexuality as something that comes after puberty. Adolescents mainly think of sexuality in reference to girlfriend/boyfriend; most believe that sex is something fun to do, but should be done with someone they either like, love, and/or care about.


Adolescents mention hormones, puberty, and infatuation with potential partners. They describe sex as fun and important in the context of a relationship (when you care about or like someone).

How might adolescents’ views about sexuality differ across individuals? What factors might shape these differences?

The views on sexuality differ between individual adolescents based on person beliefs, gender, and environment. For instance Max talks about his sexuality as being "flooded with hormones", coming after puberty, and as "being present in his thought process". Angela view sexuality in terms of relationships in her case not having a boyfriend, but wanting one though it is not her "top priority". Angela also states that everyone says that it, meaning sex, is fun; this shows her views are in part influence by her peers. Genevieve views sexuality as an improtant aspect when a person is with someone they truly care about. Both girls view sexuality in as a part of being in a relationship whereas Max does not talk about his sexuality in reference to a relationship, but rather as being in his thoughts.

Answers will vary, but might highlight different attitudes about sex (when and why it is appropriate or not; how important it is). These differences might be due to differences in the timing of puberty, moral and religious beliefs, gender, family, and so on.

Middle-Aged Adults

How do middle-aged adults describe their sexuality as having changed over time?

Most of the middle-aged adults describe their sexuality as becoming less important over time.


Middle-aged adults note that sex is not as important as it used to be. They also describe sex before, during, and
after marriage.

Do you find any evidence of reevaluation or reprioritization in this video? Explain. How does this evidence relate to the idea of midlife crisis?

There is evidence of reevaluation and reprioitization in the video. Patra is content with sex not being as important in her life as it was, however she feel that it should be more important in her life and that if she does not fix this problem then she may end up just not having sex at all as she gets older. Fred's sex life started high then he got married and it when down and then when he divorced it went up and he is now happy with his sex life. Patra is experiencing a midlife crisis where she is reevaluating the importance of sex in her life. Fred reprioitized his life when he separated from his wife in part due to him feeling restricted sexually.

Middle-aged adults note changing priorities regarding sex because it is less important now than it used to be. One woman also notes ongoing efforts to evaluate how important sex is in her life. These evaluations do not constitute crises, which is consistent with research.



Older Adults

How do older adults note that their sexuality has changed as they have gotten older? Why?

The older adults all agree that sex has become less and less important as they got older and it is now something to look back on. The level of interest in sex diminished due to age, medical reasons, and/or lack of partner.

Sex used to be very important, but is less important now. They site medical issues, changing priorities, and lack of partners as reasons for the change.

How do older adults describe sex and marriage? How are their views similar or different?

Older adults view sex and marriage differently due to their person views. For instance Barry stated that his wife's level of attractiveness was and is important to him and it bothers him how important that was for him. Dorothy did not have sex until she was married and she eventually came to enjoy it; she now enjoys looking back on the times she had fun.

They note strong relationships with marriage partners and no sex before marriage. On the other hand, they also note searching for partners, presumably outside of marriage.

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