For years, hormone therapy was routinely described for treating menopause and its symptoms. Several years ago, a huge clinical trial revealed health risks, which caused majority of women stop using it.
Due to the popularity of this therapy — controversial questions arise like is hormonal replacement therapy appropriate? If it is then when and who can have it?
What is hormone therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy or HRT is used to enhance the natural hormone levels in human body. It is treated using –
- ET or Estrogen – alone therapy [especially for women who had hysterectomy]
- EPT or estrogen & progesterone therapy [especially for women experiencing natural menopause in their midlife]
Reasons for HRT
Estrogen along with progesterone are responsible for many functions including –
- Thickens uterus lining
- Enhances calcium level
- Helps to maintain healthy cholesterol level
- Keeps vagina healthy
The onset of menopause decreases the natural estrogen & progesterone levels sharply. This leads to night sweats, hot flashes, painful intercourse, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and sleep issues. Due to plummet in calcium level osteoporosis risk also increases. HRT helps to replenish estrogen supply and relieve menopause symptoms as well as protect against osteoporosis.
Why progesterone is added with estrogen?
Estrogen-alone therapy is prescribed to women experiencing surgical menopause. Women who have uterus are prescribed EPT because taking estrogen-alone can escalate risk of endometrium cancer. It is because, during menopause endometrial cells get discharged but due to cease of menstruation endometrium is not shed.
Adding of estrogen triggers uterine cell overgrowth, which leads to cancer. Therefore progesterone is combined, which reduces the endometrial cancer risk by making endometrium shed every month.
Who can and cannot consider HRT?
Eligible candidates for HRT are women struggling with moderate to severe menopause symptoms. In addition, also those who have a family history of osteoporosis history.
Women suffering from blood clot, heart disease, or breast cancer and even women without menopause symptoms cannot be considered as eligible candidates for HRT.
When to start HRT treatment?
Menopause onset age is approximately 51 years [average] but in several women severe symptoms can last for more than two years. However, there is no golden rule wherein women start experiencing menopause or the duration or severity of the symptoms.
Doctors recommend that with moderate to severe symptoms, which actually impede in your life then take HRT but for maximum five years. Doctors even recommend that low-dose transdermal patch can be best delivery method. It sends hormones straight into your bloodstream bypassing liver, thus decreasing the potential metabolic risks.
Remember, to start with the lowest dosage for shortest possible time period.