Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a medication that was created to replace depleted hormones after menopause. During menopause, the body stops releasing eggs along with the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is the hormone that feminizes the body, giving women higher-pitched voices and breasts. Once the body stops producing this hormone, the body starts going through withdrawal symptoms and patients experience hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. For most women, menopause starts in the 40s or 50s, but some women experience early menopause in the 30s.
Does menopause make women more susceptible to diseases?
Scientists believe that the lack of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body during menopause makes the woman more susceptible to certain diseases. Menopausal women are more likely to suffer from:
Loss of skin elasticity
To combat some of these menopausal side effects, doctors offer HRT to replace hormones and relieve menopausal symptoms. Women can try over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms, but these medications will only provide temporary relief and will not fix the root cause. HRT stabilizes the body by adding the right amount of hormones to the system so the body can function normally. Women taking HRT are less likely to suffer from bone loss and heart disease.
How do you take HRT?
HRT comes in many different forms and concentrations. Some medications only deliver the estrogen hormone while others deliver a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Users can take the treatment in pill, patch, cream, pellet, injection, or gel form.
Patches and gels or creams are placed directly on the skin. The body absorbs the medication through the skin and distributes the hormones through the bloodstream. Patients take the pill orally once daily. Additionally, some providers offer vaginal rings that are placed in the uterus and distribute medicine periodically.
Is HRT right for me?
The decision to take hormone therapy is solely up to the patient and the physician. A doctor can perform tests to see if the patient qualifies for the recommend therapies. Usually, doctors do not prescribe replacement therapy to patients with a history of cancer, heart disease, or blood clots. Talk to a healthcare provider to learn more about HRT benefits and side effects.