Around menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decline which can create a shift in hormone balance. Over 50% of women experience symptoms ranging from mood swings to hot flashes. Most symptoms are short-lived, lasting on average for a period, but longer in a small number of women. To find relief from the sometimes painful and inconvenient symptoms of menopause many women regularly turned to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Now with changing attitudes about HRT, the question remains: what is HRT? Keep reading to find out about HRT and how it may affect you.
What Is HRT?
An anti-aging therapy to improve hormone imbalance in both men and women HRT is often used to treat symptoms of menopause such as night sweats, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood swings, and loss of libido. In addition, it can help with weight loss, elevate libido, improve muscle tone and decrease andropause, which is more commonly known as male andropause. Available in a variety of forms from pellets to creams, HRT is currently available in many forms such as gels, creams, rings, and patches, but is most commonly taken in pill form. These include two main types:
- Estrogen without progestin (man-made progesterone)
- Combination of estrogen and progestin
Is HRT Right for Me?
Navigating the symptoms of menopause is never easy. For sufferers who have experienced moderate to severe menopausal symptoms, loss of bone density, have lost normal function of their ovaries or stopped having periods before age 40, the benefits of short-term therapy may outweigh the risks.
For women experiencing postmenopausal symptoms, long-term therapy is no longer regularly recommended. Yet for women taking estrogen for short-term relief from symptoms of menopause, there are benefits, which include:
- Cardiovascular disease. If taken early during perimenopause, estrogen can decrease the associated risks of heart disease.
- Osteoporosis. Studies show that HRT can help to decrease the loss of bone density that occurs after menopause. HRT should not be used as the first step in treatment except for women entering perimenopause since it poses increased risks.
- Sleep disturbances. The improvements with vasomotor symptoms can help to elevate mood and decrease sleep disturbances.
Despite the risks, estrogen is still considered one of the best practices for treating menopausal symptoms. Depending on your symptoms, it is recommended to consult with your doctor before deciding if HRT is right for you. Click here to find more information about HRT and menopause.