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Menopause: Should You Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy? Here's Everything You Need To Know

In this article, we dissect the benefits, side effects and health risks of undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Menopause: Should You Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy? Heres Everything You Need To Know

HRT can help manage symptoms of menopause

A woman enters the phase of life known as menopause when her menstrual periods end permanently. This stage, which is also known as the "transition of life," denotes the termination of a woman's reproductive potential. The moment when a woman's hormone levels start to change is actually referred to by many healthcare professionals as the menopause. 

When menstrual cycles have been absent for a full year, the menopause is considered to be finished. The amount of mature eggs in a woman's ovaries decreases and ovulation becomes inconsistent during this transitional period before menopause. Progesterone and oestrogen production both decline concurrently. The majority of menopause symptoms are brought on by the significant decline in oestrogen levels.

What is HRT?

During or close to menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can assist in balancing the levels of oestrogen and progesterone. There are numerous additional reasons why a doctor would advise taking additional sex hormones. 

HRT, also referred to as menopausal hormone therapy, helps lessen hot flashes, sweating, and other menopausal symptoms. Additionally, it helps lower the risk of osteoporosis. While some forms of HRT exclusively contain oestrogen, others contain progesterone as well. They occasionally have testosterone in them.

Hot flashes and vaginal soreness are two common menopausal symptoms that are most frequently treated with hormone therapy. In postmenopausal women, hormone therapy has also been shown to minimise fractures and stop bone loss. 

The use of hormone therapy is not without risk, though. The type of hormone therapy, the dosage, the duration of treatment, and your personal health risks all affect these hazards. For best success, hormone therapy should be customised for each patient and periodically reevaluated to ensure that the advantages still exceed the disadvantages.

What are the benefits of HRT?

Hormone therapy (HT) is used to treat many symptoms of menopause, such as:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness that may cause uncomfortable sexual interactions
  • Other unpleasant menopause symptoms include night sweats and dry, itchy skin
  • Lower chance of breaking a bone as well as reduced likelihood of developing osteoporosis
  • Several women report improved mood and a general sense of mental heath
  • Reduced chance of tooth loss 
  • Reduced likelihood of colon cancer
  • Diabetes risk is decreased
  • Mild reduction in joint pain
  • Women who start hormone therapy in their 50s had a lower mortality rate

What are the health risks?

While hormone therapy (HT) assists many women in getting through menopause, it carries some risks, much like any prescription or even over-the-counter medication. Known health dangers consist of: 

  • Endometrial cancer risk is enhanced, but only if your uterus is still present and you are not taking a progestin along with oestrogen
  • Increased risk of stroke and blood clots
  • Increased likelihood of gallstone/gallbladder issues
  • If hormone therapy is started beyond midlife, there is an elevated risk of dementia
  • HT that is initiated in middle age is linked to a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer's
  • Breast cancer risk is increased with continued use

What are the side effects?

Hot flashes and other menopause symptoms can be managed with HRT, but it also has drawbacks. The following may be included, depending on the type of treatment: 

  • Indigestion
  • Headaches
  • Migraine
  • Nausea
  • Acne
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Tenderness in the breasts 
  • Swelling in the breasts or other parts of the body
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Leg cramps

These side effects usually disappear after a few weeks.

Keep these points in mind if you are considering HRT.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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