Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is one of the most highly recommended treatments for women going through menopause. However, after a shocking study done in 2002 by the Women's Health Initiative that unearthed the many health risks that go hand by hand with HRT, it has become the most controversial menopausal treatment. Although there are many health risks linked to HRT, women who have undergone HRT claim that the increase in their quality of life was worth the risks. So, how do you know if HRT is worth the risk for you?
History of HRT
In 1941, The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of HRT to help women treat their menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. In the following decades, up until 2002, HRT had the reputation of helping women transition to menopause. Estrogen, administered alone or mixed with progestin, was given to menopausal women and was known to help combat the many signs of aging including osteoporosis, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
Although drug companies put an extraordinary amount of time and money into the advertisement of HRT, it did have its share of ups and downs throughout the 60 years on the market; however, none of these risks were ever seriously discussed until the Women's Health Initiative study in 2002.
Risks from HRT
The largest clinical trial to date that studied the risks involved with an estrogen, progesterone replacement therapy found an alarming number of serious health risks. These risks include: higher rates of heart disease, breast cancer, strokes, blood clots, and abnormal mammograms. These risks increase the longer a woman stays on HRT.
Who Should Consider HRT?
Although many studies have shown the serious risks HRT poses to menopausal women, some may still benefit from short-term HRT. Women who are experiencing moderate to severe hot flashes, women who have lost significant bone mass and cannot tolerate other treatments, or women who are under the age of 40 and are going through early menopause may benefit from short-term HRT. For these specific groups of women, the benefits of short-term HRT could outweigh the potential risks.
For young women, who reach menopause early, HRT can provide protective benefits to their health and come with a set of risks different from those for women in their 50s, who are experiencing menopause. If you are considering HRT as a treatment for menopause, be sure to consult your doctor to decide if HRT is the best route for you.
It is important to know about HRT, but you should also learn about the hormones that are causing your body to go through menopause. Click on the following link to learn more about treatments with HRT.