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Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Menopause

HRT is also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy and/or Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT).

HRT contains the hormones that have been stopped producing by a woman’s body after menopause. Menopause occurs due to the decline in the function of the ovaries and decrease in the production of female hormones estrogen & progesterone. 

Menopause gives rise to several distressing symptoms namely, hot flashes; night sweat; vaginal dryness; weight gain; mood swings; decreased libido; urinary tract infections; frequent urination; fatigue & insomnia. Balancing these hormones is considered as the best way to relieve the menopausal symptoms hence, hormone replacement therapy is the most commonly sorted mode for relief in menopausal symptoms.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) contains the hormones that have been stopped producing by a woman’s body after menopause. HRT shall only help in alleviating the symptoms but not in making the menopausal women fertile again. 

The dose of HRT varies on the intensity & frequency of menopausal symptoms. Some women may require long-term use of HRT for symptom relief.

Types of HRT…

There are approximately more than 50 different types of HRT available. Some of them are as follows:

  • Tibolone.
  • Long-cycle HR.
  • Local estrogen.
  • Continuous HRT.
  • Estrogen-only HRT.
  • Cyclical or sequential HRT.

Your physician shall help you decide which is the better type of HRT indicated for you.

Modes of administration of HRT

HRT can be administered orally, transdermally, subcutaneously or vaginally in any of the below-mentioned forms:

  • Skin gel.
  • Implants.
  • Nasal Spray.
  • Skin patches.
  • Vaginal rings.
  • Pills or tablets.

Who can use HRT?

HRT is not recommended for use in women who have:

  • Liver diseases.
  • Gall bladder disease.
  • History of blood clots.
  • Fibrocystic breast disease.
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding.
  • History of heart attack or stroke.

Advantages of HRT

Benefits of HRT include:

  • HRT decreases the risk of certain chronic conditions which can affect a postmenopausal woman. Some of these conditions are:
  • Diabetes.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Colorectal cancer.
  • Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Improves glucose levels.
  • Offers relief in menopausal symptoms. 
  • Increases elasticity of the blood vessels.

Side Effects & Risks of HRT

Depending on the type and dose of HRT, there are certain side effects experienced by some women. Some of the side effects experienced are as follows:-

  • Stroke.
  • Nausea.
  • Bloating.
  • Mood swings.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Irregular bleeding.
  • Endometrial cancer.
  • Tenderness of the breast.
  • Increased risk of developing a blood clot.

The benefits of HRT are considered to outweigh the risks when HRT is used for a short-term treatment of menopausal symptoms.

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