For many women, the symptoms associated with menopause can be debilitating. Choosing to turn to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a safe and effective treatment is common and beneficial.
Also known as hormone therapy (HT) or menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), HRT is a medication containing female hormones oestrogen and progesterone prescribed during or after menopause to assist with the management of physical and mental symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and even insomnia.
The medication works to replace hormones no longer made by a woman’s body during this change of life.
Forms of Hormone Replacement Therapy
There are a few different ways in which HRT can be prescribed, with the most common being a tablet taken daily.
Other options include skin patches that are applied to the skin every 3 or 4 days and work to slowly release the required hormones into the body.
For those women who are not keen on tablets or patches, there is an oestrogen gel that can easily be rubbed onto the skin daily.
To alleviate the symptoms of vaginal dryness, oestrogen creams are said to be the most effective however are required to be are inserted into the vagina.
An alternative treatment proving to be extremely beneficial for vaginal dryness, also known as vaginal atrophy, is the MonaLisa touch.
There are a number of other ways to have HRT including implants and pessaries, and in most instances, it is usually simply a matter of personal preference, unless there is a particular reason why one form of HRT is going to be most beneficial for you.
Associated Risks and Benefits of HRT
The positive impacts HRT offers women with a range of moderate to severe symptoms are impressive, however, it is important to be aware that long-term use has been known to be associated with additional risks including breast cancer and blood clots.
An individual’s family history and lifestyle choices must also be taken into account to determine the level of risk. A low dose HRT that offers effective management of symptoms over a short period of time has proven to provide the greatest benefit with the lowest risk.
HRT also offers benefits including reducing the likelihood of being exposed to other conditions such as osteoporosis and bowel cancer that can affect postmenopausal women.
With much conflicting research and opinions, it’s easy to see why HRT can be confusing.
How do I Know if Hormone Replacement Therapy is Right for Me?
Based on your age, presenting symptoms and medical history, a consultation with a specialist at Northside Gynaecology will help you weigh up the pros and cons of this medication.
Despite the health risks, hormone replacement therapy is still the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms for healthy women.