Hormone replacement therapy HRT has been used to treat female hormonal issues like menopausal symptoms etc. to ensure wellbeing. Estrogen and progesterone are important female hormones that play significant roles in the body of a woman. The levels of these hormones fall due to menopausal and other hormonal issues resulting in physical and mental symptoms like vaginal dryness, hot flushes, and mood swings.
The HRT includes medication that has female hormones that replace the estrogen or progesterone that the body stops producing naturally due to any issue. We have brought everything you need to know about hormone replacement therapy: from the types of hormone replacement therapy to its benefits and the signs that you need hormone replacement therapy.
Estrogen is a major female hormone that helps in the releasing of eggs from the ovaries as well as regulating periods and assisting a woman to conceive. This hormone also plays a major role in regulating other functions like vaginal dryness, skin temperature, and bone density. When the levels of estrogen fall, the following symptoms may appear:
- Low libido
- Hot flushes
- Vaginal dryness
- Bone thinning leading to fractures and osteoporosis
Progesterone helps in preparing the womb for pregnancy while protecting the endometrium (womb lining). The falling levels of progesterone don’t show symptoms like the low levels of estrogen do. Estrogen administration, on its own increases the risk of uterus cancer. For that matter, a combination of synthetic progesterone and estrogen is used to treat women who haven’t had their uterus removed.
Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy predominantly concentrates on replacing the estrogen that the woman’s body doesn’t make after menopause. There are two types of hormone replacement therapy:
1. Low-dose HRT
A low dose HRT is recommended to begin with to minimize the side effects. You can get it in the form of cream, ring, or tablet to keep the body absorption of estrogen minimum. These treat the minor vaginal as well as urinary symptoms related to menopause and other hormonal problems.
2. Systemic Hormone Therapy
In Systemic hormone therapy, systemic estrogen is administered. It comes in various forms: skin patch, pill, gel, ring, cream, and spray. It contains a high dose of estrogen that is absorbed by the whole body. It is used for treating the symptoms of menopause.
Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Estrogen and progesterone affect the health of the vagina, bones, and heart. Replacing the falling levels of these hormones with their lab versions comes with its potential benefits and risks that you must discuss with your doctor before choosing the right HRT for you.
- Relieves night sweats
- Reduces hot flashes
- Promote better sleep
- Relieves vaginal itching and dryness and
- Reduces the pain during sex
- Helps to prevent osteoporosis and fractures that can be caused by bone thinning
- Reduces the risk of dementia
Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy
HRT is known to increase the risk of following conditions when continued for longer periods:
- Womb cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Heart disease and Stroke
- Blood clots
- Breast cancer
What are the Signs That You Need Hormone Replacement Therapy
The benefits of HRT can outweigh its risks if you seek regular follow-up care and follow a healthy lifestyle. Hormone replacement therapy can be used for:
- Relieving your menopausal hot flashes and night sweats.
- Treating other menopausal symptoms like vaginal itching and dryness as well as discomfort during intercourse.
- Helping to prevent fractures and bone loss if no other medication is working for your osteoporosis.
- Treating early menopause and estrogen deficiency.
Consult your doctor to determine whether HRT is the right treatment for you or not. Discuss all the symptoms, benefits, and risks individually. Don’t forget to keep following-up regularly so that the doctor can make the right changes to your schedule at the right time.