HRT Allows Marion Mom to Enjoy her Active Life

Kara Caron was approaching age 50 when she began to assess the gynecological care she needed as she neared menopause.

An athletic mother of three from Marion, Kara could tell her body was changing and she wanted the right doctor to guide her through the transition.

“I wanted to breeze through my menopausal age as gracefully as possible,” she said. “And I wanted an expert in that area.”

Kara’s menopausal symptoms took about a year to develop, starting with a tingling sensation throughout her body. Soon, the tingling was preceded by a feeling of heat that eventually developed into hot flashes. As the sudden flushing and sweating worsened, the hot flashes could be triggered by a small glass of wine or movement during sleep.

“My kids would laugh at me,” she said. “I’d have to step outside in the middle of the winter to cool off.”

When the hot flashes started interrupting her sleep, Kara sought help from Dr. Jaimie Reed, her primary care physician. She tried the black cohosh supplements and other natural remedies Dr. Reed suggested, but after about six months decided she needed a more effective treatment. That’s when her research led her to Dr. Barbara Soares, a gynecologist and obstetrician at Southcoast Health.

“From the moment I met her, I knew I made the right decision,” Kara said. “She asks you questions and listens to your answers. Then she gives you options without pushing one or the other.”

Dr. Soares laid out several possible treatments, including holistic approaches, but Kara was already inclined toward hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a medicine that replaces estrogen and other female hormones that the body stops producing in menopause. Her own mother had taken HRT when hot flashes made her sweat uncomfortably during meetings as an office director at Southeastern Massachusetts University, now UMass Dartmouth.

“She found HRT to be a miracle,” said Kara. “And she told me that when my time came, I should consider taking it and not wait and suffer.”

Kara’s health history made her a candidate for HRT, Dr. Soares said, and within a week after starting the treatment the hot flashes vanished. After three months on HRT, she can fully enjoy an active life that includes regular gym workouts with her husband, Michael.

A nutritionist by training, Kara coaches the Bishop Stang High School field hockey team, which includes her two youngest daughters. Kara herself played field hockey, as well as basketball, when she attended Stang and she continued field hockey in college.

Kara recommends that any woman suffering from symptoms of menopause, which also can include mood changes, vaginal dryness and weight gain, should seek care from an experienced medical expert. She’s grateful that she can rely on Dr. Soares, who leads the new Southcoast Health Menopause & Wellness Program. This new collaborative menopause program, the first in the region, offers experts in gynecology and menopause, cardiovascular care, weight loss, osteoporosis, endocrinology, psychiatry and sexual therapy who provide comprehensive, individualized care for women in their midlife and menopausal health transition.

“She gives you the best information she can and lets you make the best decision for yourself,” Kara said. “I’d tell any woman you don’t have to muddle through this age. There are options, and if HRT is a viable option for you, consider it. It’s been a game changer for me.”

For more information on the Southcoast Health Menopause & Wellness Program, visit Southcoast Health Menopause & Wellness Program | Southcoast Health.