So what is hormone replacement therapy, and how does it work? Keep reading, What’s Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – You Need To Know to learn more about the different types of HRT and how they affect the body. We’ll also discuss the possible side effects of hormone replacement therapy and how to minimize them. Finally, we’ll give you a glimpse into hormone replacement therapy’s potential benefits on women’s health and how it can help with menopausal symptoms.
This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of medical advice. Before starting any treatment, it’s essential to go over the benefits as well as the risks of HRT with a medical professional.
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment that uses hormones to replace those lost as a result, not only of menopause but other causes as well.
HRT is a long-term treatment that helps balance the hormones in your body and can help treat menopausal symptoms, perimenopause, and postmenopausal syndrome such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. It can also help reduce the symptoms of osteoporosis
HRT can be used for extended periods of time or only when necessary. There are different types of HRT available to suit the needs of the individual.
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Estrogen Only Hormone Therapy
Breast development in males, less hair growth, and a change in sexual function are some side effects of estrogen-only therapy.
Progestin-only Hormone Therapy
Menstrual disruption, weight gain, and changes in blood pressure are examples of side effects that may occur with progestin-only therapies.
Combination Hormone Therapy
Combination hormone treatment has similar side effects as estrogen-only or progestin-only treatments, but it depends on the hormones used. Some common side effects are hot flashes, mood or energy levels may change, and an elevated risk of stroke and blood clots.
Ways To Administer HRT
There are three main ways to administer HRT : transdermal, injection, and oral.
Transdermal HRT is applied directly to the skin and releases hormones gradually over time.
With HRT by injection, the doctor injects HRT as a single shot into a muscle or vein, typically every two weeks for women beginning menopause or after breast surgery.
Oral HRT is the most popular type of HRT because it’s easy to take and doesn’t require a prescription. Oral HRT is the least invasive of the three and has the lowest risk of side effects.
However, all three types of HRT are effective in relieving menopausal symptoms and are generally safe. However, if you’re considering hormone therapy, it’s important to speak to your doctor about your specific needs and goals.
What Are The Benefits Of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
HRT is a therapy that uses estrogen and progesterone to treat menopausal symptoms and other hormone-related conditions. According to the US National Library of Medicine, the benefits of HRT include improving mood swings, memory, bone health, heart health, and cancer risk reduction.
Who Can Benefit From HRT?
Hormone treatment has been effective in treating many women at least ten years post-menopausal women.
Younger women (ages 50 to 64) who have had hysterectomies and those who experience unpleasant side effects when they use estrogen may also benefit from it.
The decision of when to begin hormone therapy involves balancing the potential benefits and risks. A physician will consider factors such as age, health history, and personal preferences.
Who Should Not Use Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Though many people have found HRT life-changing, there is a segment of the population that should not take part in this treatment. This includes those individuals who:
- Have a family history of osteoporosis or another condition that increases your risk of fractures; they may be at a higher risk. history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
- Have Allergies to Progesterone or Estrogen or Other Medication Used in Therapy
- Have Lung Disease
- Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Possible Side Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy
There are many things to consider when it comes to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and it’s essential to be aware of them.
Side effects of hormone therapy, including estrogen and progestin therapy, can include breast cancer, blood clots, high blood pressure, stroke, gallbladder disease, heart health risks, liver problems, mood changes, osteoporosis, weight gain, and vaginal dryness. The American Cancer Society provides more information on breast cancer risks associated with hormone therapy.
Side effects can vary depending on the type of hormone therapy and the individual’s health history. Make sure you speak with your doctor about hormone replacement therapy’s risks and benefits before making any decisions. They will help you understand all the information and help you make an informed decision.
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Possible Risks of HRT
Increase Risk of Breast Cancer
The amount of estrogen in your body rises when you take estrogen by itself. The reason being is after menopause, a woman’s ovaries no longer make estrogen. In places where tissue growth occurs, such as the breasts and the uterus, estrogen promotes cells to expand and divide. If you have never experienced breast cancer, this cell growth can increase the occurrence of breast cancer.
Taking estrogen and progestin may prevent the uterus from reducing during menopause, resulting in endometrial hyperplasia. Endometrial hyperplasia is the growth of the uterine lining. If this happens, there is a possibility that it may lead to cancer.
Increased Risk of Stroke
A 50% increase in the risk of a stroke occurs when estrogen and progestin are taken together. This is primarily due to the hormones causing an increase in blood pressure. The rise in blood pressure may cause vascular problems that, in turn, affect blood flow to the brain.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
When estrogen and progestin are taken together, it poses an approximate 25% increase in risk of heart disease. This phenomenon is primarily due to the hormones lowering HDL (good) cholesterol while elevating LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Increased Risk of Other Cancers
The possibility of getting other types of cancer, such as uterine, ovarian, cervical, and breast cancer, may be increased by taking estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin.
However, hormone replacement therapy and the use of estrogen alone or combined with progestin have sparked much debate.
With hormone replacement therapy, according to research, certain kinds of cancer are more likely than others. Other research finds no link between HRT and cancer. Whether hormone replacement therapy actually causes these tumors or if they are merely linked to it is currently unknown. The available scientific evidence does not clearly support either position.
Hormone replacement therapy is a therapy that can be life-changing for some as it helps replace hormones that are lost as a result of menopause or other hormone-related conditions. While there are benefits to HT, the possible risks and the patient must be carefully balanced.
We hope that in reading What’s Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – You Need To Know, you have a better understanding of the basics of HRT and if it may be beneficial for you.
Keep in mind that HRT is a type of therapy with potential risks, so be aware of them and follow all the instructions your doctor prescribes.
Thanks for reading!
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