Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for Menopause

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for Menopause

Written and Reviewed by Dr. Uzma Qureshi
Published on: 24/05/2024
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Image by Freepic

If the symptoms of hormonal imbalance during menopause are bothering you and your daily routine, you must be looking for treatment options. Hormone Replacement Therapy may help calm down your hormonal fluctuations. Now question arise, What is HRT and What does it do? 

During menopause, the decline in oestrogen and progesterone hormones causes a lot of symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, bone weakening, hair loss, and so on. Getting hormones from outside your body to maintain the balance might help you. This is done via HRT. But what does HRT do to your body? You will explore its effects on your body in this blog; moreover, get information about its benefits, side effects, delivery methods and more. 

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)?

The National Library of Medicine’s updated information states that HRT is the process of giving women hormones that their bodies aren’t producing in enough amounts.

To ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, traditional HRT uses oestrogen and progesterone. It includes different types of oestrogen, like estriol and estradiol, which are similar to those produced naturally. 

Women also receive CEE—conjugated equine oestrogen—during HRT; while it differs from the hormones produced naturally in the body, it has the same uses and is approved by FDA.

What Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Do?

Hormones are just like keys to regulating your normal body functions, such as metabolism, temperature, and sexual function. Any medical condition, such as menopause in females, disrupts normal body regulation by reducing oestrogen, compromising your sexual, joint, and mental health. In males, testosterone deficiency causes sexual dysfunction.  

Hormone Replacement Therapy works by providing your body with the hormones to cover up the deficiency and maintain hormonal balance for overall well-being. 

HRT Delivery Methods

To ease the symptoms of menopause, you may look out for Hormone Replacement Therapy. The next query may be: How do you receive hormone replacement therapy? We got it covered. 

There are three routes to administer HRT safely. These include the following routes:

  1. Oral: Tablets or pills are the most common form of HRT. Your doctor may prescribe medications like Estace, Estratab, and Ogen, which deliver oestrogen directly into your bloodstream. However, there’s a risk of blood clot formation, so always follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
  1. Skin: Your skin can also absorb medications, usually at a lower dose to reduce risks. Gels, creams, and sprays provide a controlled dose of oestrogen to ease symptoms. Abdominal patches also deliver oestrogen over several days or weeks to help strengthen bones. 
  1. Vaginal: It helps with vaginal symptoms like dryness, itching, and discomfort during sex. Vaginal tablets, gels, creams, and rings are available. Your doctor can advise you to use vaginal tablets like Vagifem or insert vaginal rings 

Reasons to Consider Hormone Therapy for Women

It is important to understand who might benefit from this therapy. Women Individuals who are experiencing any of the following symptoms can consider taking hormone replacement therapy.

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood changes 
  • Vaginal dryness and itching
  • Hair loss
  • Menopause Joint pain
  • Weak bones
  • Other symptoms of hormonal imbalance

Remember to talk to your doctor about the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. They will guide you better if you are a good candidate for HRT.

When & Whom to Avoid HRT

Just as you’ve learned about what HRT is and reasons to consider it, it’s also important to understand who might not benefit from it. The National Cancer Institute and NHS UK suggest avoiding HRT in certain situations:

  • Breast cancer— as HRT increases the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
  • Advanced cancer of the uterus lining
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Unexplained bleeding from the vagina
  • Presence of blood clots in deep veins
  • Liver disease
  • A recent heart attack or stroke
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Dementia
  • Epilepsy
  • Migraine with aura

Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

By replacing the deficient hormones and maintaining the hormonal balance in your body, HRT promotes your overall health. According to the NHS UK, here are some of the benefits of HRT:

Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Relieve hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Promotes a better mood
  • Reduce sleep disturbances caused during menopause.
  • Ease vaginal symptoms like dryness and itching.
  • Enhances sexual drive
  • Prevents osteoporosis—bone weakness
  • Promotes muscle health
  • Improved quality of life

Risks of HRT

Long-term and high doses of hormone replacement therapy have some risks. These include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease—due to cholesterol buildup in the vessels
  • Clot formation in deep veins
  • Breast cancer

Let’s Sum up Hormone Replacement Therapy(HRT) for Menopause

HRT is a menopause treatment that involves supplementing your body with hormones like oestrogen and progesterone. This treatment addresses menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and vaginal dryness/itching.  It also improves bone and skin health. However, Its crucial to weigh the benefits and risk factors before choosing it.

Consult with your healthcare provider; they can help determine if hormone therapy is right for you and guide you on the safest approach. The goal is to improve your quality of life while reducing any possible risks.

FAQ’s about HRT

What is HRT for women?

HRT for women is the process of taking hormonal supplements like oestrogen and progesterone to ease menopausal symptoms like hot lashes, night sweats and bone weakness.

Why do men do HRT?

Men need HRT due to hormonal imbalance. Testosterone deficiency due to testicle removal or improper testicular function makes them take hormone replacement therapy. 

What are the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy?

Pros include:

Reduced menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats
Better sleep
Calm mood
Healthy bones

Cons are:
Long Term use can cause breast cancer
Risk of heart disease

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