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Many women wonder how Medicare covers hormone replacement therapy, especially for menopause. Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover hormone replacement therapies, however, a Medicare Advantage and Part D plan might.
At a certain point, a woman will experience the “change of life.” This term has been used for years as a polite way of calling a woman going through menopause. Menopause is when a woman experiences a natural deterioration in the reproductive hormones.
There are three stages of natural menopause:
- Perimenopause: the period of time, usually several years prior to menopause, when the ovaries start to decrease their estrogen output gradually. This time period lasts up until menopause.
- Menopause: During this time, the egg production completely stops. A woman is menopausal once their menstrual cycle leaves for one year.
- Postmenopause: This is the period after which a woman has reached menopause.
During all phases of menopause, women can experience a multitude of symptoms. Menopause itself causes the body to go through a variety of bodily changes due to the lack of natural hormone production.
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Types of Hormone Therapies for Menopause
With menopause comes the hormonal imbalances and overall bodily discomfort that most women have heard horror stories about and have come to dread. The severity of your symptoms will determine what course of action your healthcare provider will recommend.
For example, treatment for vaginal dryness is with topical creams that may include estrogen. For hot flash symptoms, oral medications can change specific amounts of brain chemicals that regulate the body’s temperature.
More commonly, physicians will prescribe hormone therapy for the multiple symptoms associated with menopause.
There are two types of standardized hormone therapy:
- Estrogen-Therapy only therapy (ET)– The estrogen hormone provides the most menopausal symptom relief. Most commonly, estrogen is for women without a uterus due to a hysterectomy.
- Estrogen Plus Progesterone therapy (EPT)– with EPT, progesterone hormones add to ET for women with a uterus. The reason, progesterone is to protect women from endometrial cancer, which is by straight estrogen alone.
Your prescription will come from your provider in one of two ways as there are two forms of hormone therapy:
- Localized (non-systemic)– With this treatment, the medication comes in a cream, tablet, or ring. The drug only affects the area it touches.
- Systemic– With systemic treatments, the medications come as an oral tablet, injection, emulsion sprays, patch, or gel. With systemic medications, the medicine enters the bloodstream and then affects all areas of the body.
Whether your physician gives your medication as localized or systemic, both ways are known to treat all the common symptoms associated with menopause. Talk to your healthcare provider to see which medication is most recommended so you can start feeling better fast!