For a number of years, doctors routinely recommended HRT or hormone replacement therapy for the treatment of menopause and the various uncomfortable symptoms associated with it. They also prescribed HRT for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and other coronary heart diseases. Then later in the year 2002, after the results were published of a federal study called the Women’s Health Initiative, there were many questions that rose about the actual benefits and risks of HRT, causing around two-thirds women to stop using it. So, what actually is HRT and for whom is this a perfect kind of treatment? Read on to know more on it.
Hormone replacement therapy – What is it actually?
HRT is a treatment which is used to normalize the natural hormone levels of our body, either in the form of estrogen therapy (ET) or as estrogen with progesterone therapy. While the former is done for women who have had surgical menopause, the latter is done for women who have gone through natural menopause in their midlife.
Some important things you should know about HRT
Here are some points to check out about HRT before you take a plunge and invest your dollars.
- When you might require HRT: Do you sweat during midnight? Do you experience pain during sexual intercourse? Do you suffer from anxiety and mood swings? Well, these are some common symptoms of menopause which you might experience once your body stops producing the essential female hormones. During such a time, taking replacement hormones is a way of managing them. However, ensure weighing the benefits and risks of this with your doctor.
- HRT within your limits: There was a time when doctors were of the opinion that all women who faced menopause would require hormones to manage their post-menopause symptoms and prevent bone loss and heart diseases. But later, a study by the NIH or the National Institutes of Health found out that taking artificial doses of hormone could aggravate the chances of stroke, blood clots and breast cancer.
- HRT off limits: You should inform your doctor about your entire medical history in case you’re opting for HRT. Remember that this therapy is not for you if you’re already suffered from cervical, endometrial, ovarian or any other hormone-sensitive cancer form. If you’ve had a history of liver problems, heart diseases, blood clots, stroke or other cardiovascular illnesses, you shouldn’t opt for HRT.
- Hormones in HRT: As mentioned above, there are 2 types of HRT, estrogen alone and with progesterone. Estrogen causes the uterus lining to thicken and can increase risk of endometrial cancer. Adding progesterone can reduce this risk. However, if you’re experiencing menopause due to surgery (hysterectomy), you won’t require the combination treatment.
- Whom to seek help: After knowing so much about HRT, you must be wondering about whom to seek help of if you consider undergoing this treatment. If your doctor thinks that HRT is suitable for you, he will give you a prescription of the drugs. You can also allow National HRT to help you find the best doctor for HRT.
- HRT routine may differ according to your needs: If you have the goal of relieving yourself of the menopausal symptoms, a few months of treatment would be enough. Nevertheless, symptoms could again arise once you stop. Ensure re-evaluating your regimen with your gynaecologist.
Hence if you’re intrigued by the benefits of HRT, you might opt for it. But take into account the word of caution mentioned above so that you don’t end up with some other fatal disease in your pursuit to stay young and happy.