Hormone Replacement Therapy and Menopause (By Deon Hall Garriques)
A menopausal woman’s decision whether she should take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or not can be quite overwhelming and confusing because each woman’s journey is different and HRT is not a one-size-fits-all. There are different types of HRT that are available and they have benefits and risks.
What is HRT?
HRT is also known as menopausal hormone therapy, hormone therapy, and estrogen replacement therapy. It is a form of hormone therapy used to treat symptoms associated with female menopause. HRT is a way to replace your own hormones which may have declined during the menopausal journey. The decline of estrogen is usually the primary driver for most menopausal symptoms, followed by progesterone, testosterone, and others. According to studies, HRT is the most effective treatment available today for menopause symptoms according to the experts.
Common Types of HRT
There are different types of HRT and therefore you should talk to your doctor about which option is right for you depending on your symptoms, medical history, and risk factors. HRT can be taken orally as tablets, skin patches, gels, or vaginal creams.
Common types include:
Estrogen therapy is available in pills, patches vaginal rings, gel, or spray.
Combination therapy (estrogen, progestin/progesterone) is a combination of estrogen and progestin, the synthetic form of progesterone.
Benefits of HRT
According to various studies, the benefits of HRT surpass the risks in many women and could help to reduce the risk of a woman developing certain conditions as well as help to improve symptoms associated with menopause.
HRT could improve the following conditions/symptoms:
Hot flashes and night sweats
Vaginal dryness and itching
Sex by making sex less painful
HRT could reduce the risk of developing the following conditions:
Risks of HRT
HRT is not medically recommended for women with the following conditions:
Breast, ovarian, and womb cancers
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Pregnant and breastfeeding
What is Bioidentical and Body Identical HRT
Bioidentical hormones are artificial hormones that come from plants. that mimic the hormones produced by the human body. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the most commonly used bioidentical hormones.
They are used as a treatment for people whose own hormones are low or unbalanced. Certain types of bioidentical hormones are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other forms are mixed (combined) by a pharmacist based on a prescription from a medical practitioner for a specific individual.
Body Identical HRT
The term body identical hormone therapy is not widely used in the US and is widely used in the UK. Body identical is usually derived naturally from the yam plant and has the same molecular structure as the hormones in your ovaries. It is regulated by the National Health Services (NHS) in the United Kingdom and is considered the safest type of HRT.
Be sure to work with a trusted medical provider if you are considering HRT and most importantly, do your own research from trusted and reputable organizations. I have listed a few of the sources that I have used for this article.
In Good Health,
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide medical advice. The purpose is to provide education and a broader understanding to my readers. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. I do not recommend or prescribe, or recommend changing dosage or discontinuing, any prescription medications or pharmaceutical drugs.
Sources: Nih.org, Mayoclinic.com, NHS.UK, Balance by Newson Health, National Library of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic.
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