Hormone replacement therapy

Hormone replacement therapy is the most common treatment for women going through menopause. When menopause occurs, the ovaries lower a woman’s production of estrogen and progesterone which causes a wide variety of symptoms. Menopause causes the menstrual cycle to end and can also cause hot flashes, urinary and vaginal problems and mood swings. Once the side effects of menopause begin, a lot of women find them hard to deal with and may go to their doctor looking for a cure.

For years now, hormonal therapy has been the way to counteract the symptoms of menopause. By providing a woman’s body with the hormones that it is lacking, the symptoms of menopause may be less severe than if the body goes without. At one time, estrogen was thought to be good for lowering the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease later in life. However further studies have shown that using hormonal therapy may not be as beneficial in preventing disease as once thought.

When it comes to menopause, finding the right treatment for each individual is the key. Hormonal replacement therapy may not be for everyone but for many women it may be the only treatment that works to eliminate the menopausal symptoms. Hormonal replacement therapies consist of treating a woman with both estrogen and progesterone or just estrogen replacement medications. If a woman no longer has a uterus due to having a hysterectomy then estrogen is given without the progesterone. Progesterone is used to protect the uterus from endometrial cancer however it is not needed when the uterus is no longer in place.

As with all medications, there are often side effects that are associated with taking hormonal replacement therapies. Not everyone will experience the same side effects but it is important to beware of what side effects could occur before starting a new medication. Some of the most common side effects are breast tenderness, monthly bleeding and occasion spotting. Other side effects that have been reported include stroke, blood clots, swelling, headaches, skin irritation or discoloration, and dizziness. Side effects can be worsened by those who smoke cigarettes. Women who smoke should quit before starting a hormonal therapy program. Smoking cigarettes can increase the risk of blood clotting and stroke.

Women who have or have had breast cancer or endometrial cancer should opt for other menopausal treatments rather than hormonal replacement therapy. Also those who have blood clots, history of stroke, abnormal vaginal bleeding or liver disease should avoid taking hormonal therapies as well.

There are many different forms of hormonal replacement therapies that one may be prescribed. There are pills, patches, capsules, vaginal gels, creams or rings. Depending on the type of treatment you need, will determine the form that is best for you. Women who need estrogen only may receive a different type of treatment method than those needing a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Also lifestyle and preference can play an important role in the form of treatment that is prescribed.

Regardless which form of hormonal replacement therapy that is chosen, it is recommended that treatment be short term in order to avoid any long term side effects. There are many natural menopausal remedies that may also be used to treat symptoms of menopause for those that want to avoid medications. Often combining natural remedies with hormonal therapy can offer even greater benefits for those who suffer from severe menopausal symptoms. Since every woman is different, you may need to try a several methods before finding the one that works perfectly for you. However with time and patience you can find the right treatment and stop suffering through the frustrating side effects of menopause.

Last updated on Aug 20th, 2009 and filed under Medical Treatment. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Hormone replacement therapy”

  1. Elin Stuber says:

    Dear iHealth, it is difficult to believe that anyone would so blatantly endorse HRT as a viable treatment plan for menopause symptoms, especially following the huge 2002 study (concluded early) which provided incontrovertible proof that HRT is unsafe for any duration at any time in a woman’s life. Thanks but no thanks for trying to blow new life into a dead horse. By your own admission you mentioned the possible HRT risks as: stroke, blood clots, swelling, skin irritation/discoloration, and dizziness. You failed to mention that that there is now conclusive proof that not only does HRT not prevent breast cancer, but causes it. Other risks just as concerning are other endometrial cancers, and elevated cardiovascular disease risks that are directly associated with HRT. Rather than writing articles attempting to extend the myths surrounding HRT, why don’t you spend more time reporting on advancements in all-natural plant based solutions to menopause symptom relief, like the benefits of the phytoestrogenic effects of flax hull lignans? This throwback to a belief system that has already been debunked is repulsive. Next you’ll be telling us that the earth is actually kind of flat and that only from a great distance does it appear somewhat curvy.

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