Hormone Replacement Therapy: Is It the Right Treatment For You?
When menopause wreaks havoc on a woman’s body, one of the treatments that may be recommended is HRT, or hormone replacement therapy. This treatment is often started during the onset of menopause, although sometimes women get this therapy after menopause. This remedy helps alleviate the many symptoms of menopause through treatments that replace the hormones that decrease in level during this stage in women’s lives.
HRT helps a woman cope with the many symptoms that come with menopause, and these include vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep problems, to mention but a few. The hormones that are involved in HRT are progesterone and estrogen, which are both produced when a woman ovulates – with estrogen usually helping in releasing eggs from the ovaries and progesterone is the hormone that helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy. When menopause happens, and a woman’s period stops, these two hormones see a marked decrease in production, hence the need for replacements.
Different Hormone Replacement Treatment Methods
How you get the hormones to replace the ones that you lost is dependent on what suits you and your lifestyle. The kind of therapy you choose is also dependent on your health, what symptoms you are experiencing, and what exactly you want to get out of such a treatment. The options that you have will include suppositories, pills, patches, implants, and topical choices.
Apart from the mode of delivery, your hormone treatments also come in two main choices – estrogen only and estrogen with progesterone. Not all women are ideal for the former, although majority who are found to be ideal candidates for HRT are prescribed the latter by their doctors. The reason why the estrogen only treatment is not perfect for all women undergoing HRT therapy is because this is reserved for those who are experiencing surgical menopause, or those who have undergone a hysterectomy.
The reason why progesterone is almost always part of hormone replacement therapy is that women who still have a uterus stand a chance of getting endometrial cancer if they take only estrogen. Since estrogen can make uterine cells grow, and with no progesterone to help the uterus shed this growth every month, an overgrowth which can lead to cancer is the result. Adding progesterone to the treatment ensures that whatever cell growth occurs within the uterus is discharged every month.
Are You a Candidate for HRT?
How do you determine if you can safely use hormone replacement therapy as a treatment to help alleviate menopausal symptoms? There is a list of the types of women that are deemed unfit for such a treatment. These include those who have heart disease, breast cancer, and liver disease. Those who are also prone to blood clots and women who are going through menopause but are not experiencing any of the symptoms, are also excluded from the list of people qualified for HRT.
Who are qualified? Women who are experiencing the myriad of woes that comes with menopause, and those who have a possibility of getting osteoporosis due to their family history, are ideal for HRT. A visit to your doctor will also determine for sure if you are indeed ideal for such a treatment or not, and they will tell you when your treatments should begin, and how long these should last. They will also inform you of the risks that come with this treatment as well as the benefits that you can get from it.