Hormone therapy is a special type of treatment that is essential in treating diseases through synthetic forms of hormones. The most common type of hormonal therapy involves hormones administered to a patient to stop the short-term adverse changes that come with menopause in women. A recent study also shows that hormonal therapy can help with the treatment of some forms of cancer. Generally, this is because cancer cells depend on hormones to grow and metastasize to other parts of the body. Hormonal therapy has also shown positive results in treating patients with thyroid disorders and other forms of illnesses that interfere with hormone production. Primarily, hormonal treatment can be of two types. The first type of hormonal therapy involves giving patients extra hormones, and the other type of hormonal therapy consists of giving patients drugs that suppress hormone production.
Who Needs Hormone Therapy?
- People With Cancer - Hormonal therapy is essential in controlling certain types of cancers. For starters, it helps in stopping the spread of breast cancer to the other breast. Ideally, it helps in blocking specific hormones from getting to the cancer cells in the breast tissue. Hormonal treatment also helps in slowing down the spread of prostate cancer. This therapy is done by giving the patient deprivation therapy, which ensures that less hormone is produced because it is the hormone that facilitates the growth of prostate cancer.
- Women With Menopause Symptoms - Women who are undergoing menopause may experience many very uncomfortable symptoms. For instance, they may experience low sex drive, sudden mood swings, and hot flashes. Primarily, these changes happen because the body is no longer producing hormones like it used to. Thus, hormonal therapy to increase the production of those missing hormones becomes necessary.
- Infertile People - The leading cause of infertility in many people is hormonal imbalances. Ideally, the body becomes unable to produce hormones that stimulate the production of sperm in males and the ovulation process in females. Hormonal therapy dramatically helps in correcting these situations.
How Does it Work?
In general, hormonal therapy works in various ways, depending on the type of condition. For starters, if hormonal treatment is given to someone with prostate cancer, it works by inhibiting the production of a specific hormone since this is the hormone responsible for the growth of the cancer cells in the prostate. When hormonal treatment is administered to a child to help with growth disorders, it stimulates the pituitary glands so that it produces sufficient hormone to help with growth and enable a child to grow. Moreover, when this form of treatment is given to a person with hypertension, it also works uniquely. For people with hypertension, the problem is often the adrenal glands because they are over-producing. When these hormone levels in the body become too much, it causes an imbalance between sodium and potassium. Hormonal therapy during this treatment helps in regulating this imbalance.
Expected Side Effects
There are several side effects that can be found when undertaking hormonal therapy. Some of the most common ones include:
- Hot Flash - A hot flash is a common side effect of hormonal therapy. This hot flash is similar to the one that women experience during menopause. For some people, these hot flashes may stop at some point during the hormonal therapy, but for others, hot flashes may continue for as long as the treatment lasts. These hot flashes can also happen suddenly, or they may sometimes occur due to a certain trigger.
- Fatigue - Some hormone treatments like that of prostate cancer, for instance, may cause symptoms of extreme tiredness. The bad thing about this type of fatigue is that it comes suddenly, meaning that it can interfere with someone’s daily activities, and it may sometimes put them in danger when they are driving, for starters.
- Reduced Sex Drive - Low sex drive is also a common side effect that many people experience when on hormonal therapy. This might disappear with time in some individuals, while some will continue to have issues for as long as the treatment lasts.
Frankly, hormonal treatment can benefit many people who are suffering from different conditions. It is an effective form of therapy that helps many people feel better. Moreover, during the treatment, someone can still move on with their daily activities because the treatment does not cause severe side effects.