Hormone Replacement Therapy: Benefits, Risks, and Considerations
Did you know when you should consider hormone replacement therapy? What are the risks, and benefits of hormone therapy? While it is true that HRT is the most well-known treatment option for menopause symptoms, it’s not for everyone. Learn when you should consider hormone therapy and how you can compare the risks with its benefits.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a treatment option for females who go through perimenopause and menopause symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, etc. At this stage, women’s bodies stop producing estrogen and progesterone hormones. This therapy is a medication that contains artificial forms of estrogen and progesterone hormones.
Previously it was commonly used to treat menopause symptoms and help to prevent bone loss and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women. But this therapy is not for everyone. Because it can increase the risk of breast cancer, blood clots, and gallbladder stone problems.
These risks depend on the type of HRT, dose, duration of medication taken, and your existing health conditions. For the best results and to reduce the risks, use the medication and reevaluate often to make you get the benefits and outweigh the risks.
There are mainly two types of HRT which are available in the form of tablets, vaginal rings, skin patches, creams, and gels by different medicine manufacturing companies. It includes:
- Estrogen therapy: In this medication, only estrogen hormone is available. Doctors usually prescribe a low dose. It can relieve menopause symptoms and prevent osteoporosis.
- Estrogen Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy (EPT): This is also known as combination therapy because it combines both estrogen and progesterone hormones.
In case your uterus is not removed, your doctor will recommend you take progestin medication because estrogen alone can stimulate the growth of the lining of the uterus which increases the risk of endometrial cancer. That’s why progesterone is needed to balance estrogen.
In case your uterus is removed, then you don’t need progestin, only estrogen is needed to manage your menopause symptoms and it has a lower risk compared to progestin hormone therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is mainly used to relieve perimenopause and menopause symptoms which include:
- Hot flashes.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Night sweats.
- Dry or itchy skin.
- Low mood or anxiety
- Sleep problems
Besides that, there are some other health benefits of taking HRT as well. It includes:
- Lower the risk of osteoporosis (a condition that makes your bone weak) along with lower risk of bone getting broken.
- Decrease the risk of tooth loss.
- Decrease the risk of certain health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, dementia, colon cancer, diabetes, and mood changes.
- It also improves joint pain.
- It also reduces the death rate in women who are in their 50s.
While HRT is beneficial for many women to get through menopause, it’s not risk-free. The most known health risks are:
- Endometrial cancer (only if you have your uterus and take estrogen without progestin).
- Blood clots and strokes.
- Gallbladder/Gallstone problems.
- Dementia only when you start your HRT treatment after midlife. However, if you start HRT during midlife then it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Breast cancer with long-term use.
Keep in mind that these risks do not happen to everyone. It depends on certain factors such as type of HRT, age, duration, and health history. To prevent these risks, you can look for alternatives or reevaluate the medicine over time to outweigh the risk with the benefits.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is commonly used to treat menopause symptoms in women. However, while there are many benefits of this medication it is not for everyone because it can cause severe health conditions. But with the right way to use this medication and timely reevaluation, you can outweigh the risks with the benefits.
If you need help with your menopausal problem, visit our endocrinology clinic in Brooklyn to get professional help and guidance. Call us on +1-347-384-5690 and get answers to all your queries. Log on to www.doralhw.org or visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212 to book an appointment with our endocrinologist to get the best treatment. We have the best endocrinologists who treat these kinds of diseases and helpful staff to aid you during your treatment.