Hormone replacement therapy also is known as hormone therapy (HT) or menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) or estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), is the treatment for relieving the symptoms of menopause that include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms. HRT can also decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Here are some key facts about HRT: Hormone replacement therapy for women is an actual way to relieve symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
- It can decrease the occurrence and sternness of hot flashes, and also the risk of osteoporosis.
- Past research has advised a link with cancer, but this is still being probed.
- It may help keep skin fresh, but it cannot converse or delay the complete effects of aging.
- Any woman who is seeing HRT should talk to a doctor who knows her health history.
Here’s what you should know about hormone replacement therapy:
For what purposes, hormone replacement therapy is used?
Estrogen along with progesterone aids many functions apart from thickening the lining of the uterus in order to prepare it for the egg implantation.
Estrogen assists the body to use calcium (significant for making the bones stronger), helps in maintaining good levels of cholesterol and retains the vagina healthy.
When menopause starts, the natural estrogen and progesterone amount – that the ovaries produce – drops abruptly. As a result, it leads to the symptoms that include night sweats, hot flashes, painful contact, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and mood changes.
It also increases the risk of developing the condition of osteoporosis. By making the estrogen level to its normal range, HRT helps in treating the symptoms of menopause and protecting the body against osteoporosis.
What are the different types of hormone replacement therapy?
The common types of hormone replacement therapy include:
- Estrogen Therapy
- Estrogen/Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy
Generally, doctors suggest that those women who have had the hysterectomy (a surgery to remove the uterus) should take a low dose of estrogen. Estrogen is available in various forms and the most common are daily pill and patch. The other forms include gel, spray or vaginal ring.
Estrogen pill: The most commonly used treatment for menopausal symptoms is estrogen pill. There are different forms of pills that are available such as conjugated estrogens. It is recommended to follow the instructions of the doctor while taking the estrogen pills while most of them are usually taken once a day without the food. Some pills have complicated schedules of dosing. There are combination pills available that contain both estrogen and progestin.
Estrogen patch: The estrogen patch is worn on the skin of the abdomen. It depends on the dose that some patches can be replaced after a few days while some need to be worn for one week. Estrogen patches are also available in a combination of estrogen and progestin.
Topical estrogen: This type of estrogen therapy includes gels, creams, and sprays. Likewise, patches, the estrogen in these gels, creams, and sprays are directly absorbed into the blood through the skin. It is varied as how often these creams should be applied and mostly they can be used once a day. Some of them can be applied on arms (from wrist to shoulder) while some on the legs.
Vaginal estrogen: It comes in different forms such as a vaginal ring, cream or vaginal estrogen tablets. This type of therapy is recommended for those women who experience the symptoms of vaginal dryness, itchiness, and pain or burning during intercourse. The dosing schedule varies depending on the product. Usually, vaginal rings are replaced every three months; vaginal tablets are taken once a day for one week then it can be used twice per day and creams can be used daily or more frequently per week or as per the recommended schedule of the individual woman.
Estrogen/Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy:
This type of HRT therapy is usually called “combination therapy” because it combines the doses of estrogen and progestin (it is a synthetic form of progesterone). Combination therapy is recommended for those women who have their uterus. When estrogen is taken in with progesterone, it lowers the risk for endometrial cancer (the cancer of the lining of the uterus).
Progesterone helps in treating the symptoms of menopause, for example, hot flashes.
Estrogen/progesterone/progestin can be taken in the form of oral pills or through intrauterine devices (IUDs).
Oral progestins: When it is taken in the form of a pill, progestin medicines include medroxyprogetserone acetate (Provera) and synthetic progestin pills. Most of the medical professionals are now treating the patients experiencing menopausal symptoms with the natural progesterone instead of synthetic progestins. It is due to the reason that natural progesterone has no side effect on lipids or fats and so it is the best choice for those women who have high cholesterol levels. Also, natural progesterone has many advantages as compared to medroxyprogetserone acetate.
Intrauterine progestin: The low-dose intrauterine devices (IUDs) that are sold under the brand tags of Kyleena, Liletta, Skyla, and Mirena is not approved to be used in the United States. If a woman had one of these IUDs while entering the perimenopause, the doctor recommends keeping it unless after the menopause is complete.
Who should not use HRT?
Hormone replacement therapy may not be appropriate for women who have a history of:
- Uncontrolled hypertension or high blood pressure
- Severe migraines
- Thrombosis or blood clots
- Heart disease or cardiovascular conditions
- Endometrial, ovarian or breast cancer
The risk of breast cancer is now believed to rise if HRT is used for more than 5 years. The danger of stroke or blood-clotting conditions is not believed to be high for females aged between 50 to 59 years.
It must not be used by women who are or who may become pregnant.
Are there any hormone replacement therapy side effects or risks?
There are side effects of HRT. The patient should consult the OBGYN specialist if she has any of the following symptoms:
- Breast tenderness or swelling
- Vaginal bleeding
- Mood changes
Are you interested in getting hormone replacement therapy?
Women Caring For Women offers different methods of hormone replacement therapy for women that provides effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. The American board-certified OBGYN specialists provide a customized treatment plan keeping in view the health conditions, medical history, and severity of the symptoms of the individual woman. For more information or to book an initial consultation, visit our website or call (718) 630-1300
***The material presented in this article is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult physician or healthcare professional if you have any specific questions regarding Hormone Replacement Therapy***