Understanding The Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment containing female hormones used to replace the estrogen (also called oestrogen in the UK) or estrogen and progesterone that the body stops producing during menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is mostly used to treat commonly experienced menopause symptoms such as night sweats, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood shifts, weight gain, and sleep problems.

Hormone replacement therapy is also a good way to prevent bone loss and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women. However, there are some risks associated with the use of HRT. These risks depend on the hormone therapy that one uses, the dose, the period the medication has been taken, the age a woman starts it and the individual health risks.

It is generally thought that the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks, however, to have the best results on HRT, you should ensure that you evaluate your hormone replacement therapy often in collaboration with a doctor.

The basic hormone replacement therapy types


Hormone replacement therapy mainly focuses on replacing the estrogen and progesterone that the body no longer produces after menopause. The two main types include:

• Systemic hormone therapy

The systemic hormone therapy comes in a skin patch, pills, ring, cream, gel, or spray form typically containing a higher level of estrogen that is absorbed all through the body. It can assist in treating the common symptoms of menopause.

• Low-dose vaginal products

Low-dose vaginal products come in tablets, ring or cream forms. It helps to minimize the absorbed amount of estrogen in the body. Due to these facts, low-dose vaginal preparations and normally used to treat urinary and vaginal symptoms of menopause.

Benefits of hormone replacement therapy

HRT may:

  • Relieve night sweats and hot flashes
  • Help with better sleep
  • Ease itching and vaginal dryness
  • Relieve pain when having sex
  • Prevent fractures that are caused by osteoporosis
  • Reduce the chances of heart disease in some women
  • Lower the chance of dementia
  • Lowers the chances of depression

The risks of hormone replacement therapy

Research has proven that in most cases the benefits of hormone replacement therapy typically outweigh the risks; however, HRT may raise the chances of:

• Endometrial cancer brought about by taking estrogen without progesterone while still having the uterus.

Blood clots

• Stoke

• A slight increase in breast cancer with combined HRT 

The risks vary depending on:

• Age

Women who start hormone therapy at 60 years or older or more than ten years from the start of menopause have a more significant risk of getting the above conditions. However, if the hormone therapy starts before 60 years or before 10 years of menopause, the advantages should outweigh the risks.

• Type of hormone therapy

The risk of hormone therapy depends on whether the estrogen was used alone or with progesterone—the dose and also the kind of estrogen matter.

• Health History

Your personal and family medical history and risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, blood clots, osteoporosis, and liver disease are essential factors in determining if HRT is suitable for you.

Tests like geneType multi-risk assessment can identify the risks by checking your genetic construct for a range of serious conditions.

Who can benefit from hormone replacement therapy?

The advantages of HRT may be more than the risks if a person is healthy and:

• Has average to severe hot flashes

Systemic estrogen therapy is still the most suitable treatment for the relief of hot flashes and night sweats.

• Has many different symptoms of menopause

HRT can relieve vaginal menopause symptoms like itching, dryness, discomfort with intercourse, and burning as well as low mood, aches and pains, dry skin, and low sex drive.

• Needs to prevent fractures and bone loss

Systemic estrogen assists in protection against the bone-thinning illness called osteoporosis.

• Has estrogen deficiency due to a hysterectomy or experienced early menopause

If your ovaries were surgically removed before 45 years old, or you stopped receiving your monthly periods before this age, then your body is exposed to a lower amount of estrogen than women who experience normal menopause. HRT is indicated to help prevent symptoms such as heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, mood changes, and dementia.

This post is for information purposes only and does not offer medical advice. As always research is ongoing into the effects of menopause and treatments. Always see a menopause specialist for further information and a treatment plan.

*Collaborative post

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