If you're going through menopause, you're probably already familiar with the treatment known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This popular menopause treatment is always making the headlines, courtesy of new research findings and celebrity endorsements. But what exactly makes HRT the go-to treatment for most menopausal women? Read on to find out.
The Basics of HRT and Menopause
The menopause life transition is marked by a diminished production of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone that signal the end of menstruation and, in turn, the fertile period of a woman's life. However, because these hormones regulate many functions beyond menstruation and fertility, depleted hormone levels can take a serious toll on the female body, causing a woman to experience symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, mood swings, and fatigue.
HRT works to restore hormone imbalance by introducing synthetic hormones into the body to replace natural hormones. Since the discovery of the first synthetic hormone in the 1930s, HRT has made a clean sweep of the menopause treatment competition. Here's why:
- It's cool in the face of hot flashes. HRT is the undisputed winner when it comes to curing menopause's most notorious symptom: hot flashes. That's because HRT directly treats hormone imbalance with synthetic estrogen, the hormone responsible for regulating body temperature.
- It's a triple threat. This treatment can be used to help restore levels of the three most important female hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The most common treatment is a combination of estrogen plus progestin (synthetic progesterone), though women who've had a hysterectomy opt for estrogen-only treatments.
- It comes in many forms. HRT comes in a variety of forms to suit different preferences and lifestyles. Estrogen-only treatments can come as pills, skin patches, vaginal rings, vaginal creams, or nasal sprays; estrogen plus progestin is available as a pill, skin patch, or vaginal cream.
- It got Oprah talking. Women want to know about the experiences of other women when selecting a menopause treatment. In 2009, Oprah Winfrey made that possible. She dedicated several shows as well as space in her magazine and website to HRT, providing women with both sides of the HRT story.
While women continue to report the benefits of HRT as a treatment for menopause symptoms, the method has created controversy recently, as some studies have linked it to an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Get informed by clicking here to learn more about HRT and menopause.