For many women, dealing with menopausal symptoms can be a challenge. The physical and emotional changes can have an impact on how you live your life. From hot flashes and night sweats to vaginal dryness and a decreased libido – it can take a toll on your health and wellbeing.
If you have started looking at hormone replacement therapy (HRT), you probably have a few questions that you want answers to. Questions including; What are the benefits of hormone therapy? Or, how long after starting HRT do you feel a difference?
At MySkyn Clinic in Bradford, we understand that experiencing hormone imbalances can be difficult. We also know that finding the right treatment can be confusing. That is why we are here to break down everything you need to know about starting HRT treatment.
What is hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a medical treatment that can help to treat the symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes and mood swings. It works by replacing hormone levels, namely oestrogen and progesterone that start to drop as you approach menopause.
There are different types of HRT treatment, which can come in the form of oral HRT medications, patches, gel or implants. They include:
· Oestrogen-only treatment for women who have had a hysterectomy
· Combination HRT – for women with an intact uterus
· Testosterone implants to help with a loss in sex drive or low libido
You will need to book an appointment with our menopause expert to discuss HRT treatment. This is so they can look at your medical history and menopausal symptoms. From this, we can develop a tailored treatment plan that will work for you and your body.
Can men have hormone replacement therapy?
Men can also see their testosterone levels drop as they get older, which can result in a loss of sex drive or erectile dysfunction. If a blood test reveals that they are deficient, a doctor can prescribe testosterone replacement in the form of an injection or gel.
Benefits of HRT for menopause symptoms
One of the main reasons we recommend HRT to patients is for symptom relief from hormone imbalance or menopause. By helping to restore your hormone levels to their optimal level, HRT can improve your health and wellbeing.
Hormone replacement therapy is an effective treatment for relieving most symptoms of menopause, including:
· hot flashes
· night sweats
· sleep disturbances to improve your sleep cycle
· mood swings or anxiety
· vaginal dryness
· brain fog
· joint pains
HRT can also have a positive effect on your bone health. This is because low levels of oestrogen can lead to thinning bones, making them more likely to have a fracture or break. HRT helps to maintain bone density and reduce the chance of fractures or other bone-related issues.
What changes can you expect after starting HRT?
When you start HRT, you may begin to notice a small difference in the first few days, but you are most likely to see improvements in the first few weeks or months. This differs between women as it will depend on how your body responds to the treatment.
You may start to notice improvements in your hot flushes or night sweats in the first few weeks. It will take a little longer to alleviate other symptoms such as mood swings or vaginal dryness. This usually takes a few weeks or months.
In three to six months, you are also likely to see improved muscle mass and fat loss. You will need to stick to your recommended treatment plan to see the maximum benefits.
After starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT), you may also see:
· Improvements in your sleep cycle after a few weeks
· As your hormonal imbalance corrects itself you will feel in a better mood
· You may become more effective in exercise (last longer at the gym or in exercise)
· After several months you may notice you have a better sex drive if it was low before treatment.
Are there any side effects or risks with hormone replacement therapy?
While HRT is a great treatment for helping manage your symptoms of menopause, it does carry some small risks. During consultation at our Bradford clinic, our menopause expert, Ms Bushra Effendi, will assess health and individual needs. This is so she can see whether you are suitable for HRT and tailor your treatment to support your overall health.
HRT side effects can include:
· Breast tenderness
· Abdominal bloating
· Vaginal bleeding
· Feeling low
These side effects are not usually a cause for concern. However, if bleeding persists or increases, you should consult with our menopause expert who will be able to offer further advice.
If you have had breast cancer, we do not recommend having HRT. HRT can also slightly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Although this risk is extremely low. In some cases, it can also increase the risk of blood clots.
It is important you seek advice from a healthcare professional who is an expert in menopause and HRT. This is because they can provide detailed advice and personalised care so that you can work with them to decide if treatment is right for you.
Find out more about how we can support you with hormone replacement therapy. Contact us online or by calling us on 01274 921121. We are a CQC-registered all-female-run clinic and speak both Urdu and Punjabi if you require.