Hormone replacement therapy is used to treat women’s menopause symptoms. It has pros and
cons depending on the hormone dose, duration, method, and women’s age. We’ll discuss it in detail. Keep reading!
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a method in which hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, are injected into a woman’s body. It is commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms such as sweating, lack of sleep, instant mood swings, irregular periods, joint pain, etc. Additionally, it can provide relief from vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse, which are also common issues during menopause.
Menopause is a normal process in a woman’s body, but at times it comes with some symptoms that can be irritating and even painful, too. To help with this, hormone replacement therapy is introduced. By replenishing the declining hormone levels, HRT aims to reduce the severity of these symptoms and improve overall quality of life.
The most commonly used hormone is estrogen, whose production decreases after menopause. This decrease in estrogen can lead to bone density loss, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy not only addresses menopausal symptoms but also helps in maintaining bone health.
Menopause is a natural process in which estrogen levels drop and a female doesn’t get pregnant anymore. Some females experience a smooth transition into menopause without any noticeable symptoms, but others face various issues that disturb their daily routine. Hormone replacement therapy has provided a valuable option for managing these challenges.
It’s important to note that while hormone replacement therapy is generally considered safe and effective, it can cause some side effects. These can include bloating, breast tenderness, and a slightly increased risk of certain conditions like blood clots. However, the decision to undergo HRT involves a careful consideration of individual health factors and consultation with a healthcare provider. We will delve into a more detailed discussion of these potential side effects in the following sections.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Administration
There are several ways to take hormones into the body, depending on the hormone dosage, type, duration, individual medical condition, and purpose of taking the hormone.
Two common methods of administration are as follows:
Oral administration of hormones is the most common method by which hormones, such as estrogen, are delivered. These hormones are typically provided in the form of tablets or capsules, which become integrated into the body’s functioning. Estrogen, a vital hormone, holds responsibilities including the regulation of the female menstrual cycle, the development of secondary sexual characteristics, and the upkeep of the uterus. This method’s popularity is due to its convenience and is extensively employed in hormone replacement therapy due to its user-friendly nature and proven efficacy.
It’s important to note that while oral administration is widely favored, responses to this method can differ from person to person. Therefore, healthcare professionals closely monitor individuals undergoing this therapy to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved. This personalized attention guarantees that the therapy’s benefits are maximized for each individual.
Transdermal administration of hormones, also called local hormone therapy, is also a common method of HRT. In this method, hormones in the form of creams, lotions, oils, or patches are applied to the skin, where they are absorbed and become part of the body. Through this method, estrogen and testosterone are delivered to females’ and males’ bodies, respectively. Additionally, transdermal HRT offers the advantage of a consistent and controlled release of hormones, mimicking the body’s natural patterns. It’s important to note that proper application techniques and rotation of application sites are recommended to ensure optimal results and minimize skin irritation.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Pros
Prevention of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a major clinical condition that affects almost half of women after menopause. According to a study (O Johnell, 2006), 30-50% of women suffer from clinical fractures, and 70% suffer
from hip fractures. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) becomes helpful in preventing osteoporosis. It increases bone mineral density and bone quality. The most commonly used hormone is estrogen, which directly affects bone health. It is one of the natural hormones that are produced in the body.
Estrogen is responsible for bone metabolism, in which bone-making cells-osteoblasts substances that increase bone density and make them strong. After menopause, the levels of estrogen drop, which makes the spine, hips, and other joints weak.
Menopausal symptoms improvement
Menopause occurs when women don’t get periods after 12 months of their last period,
consecutively. it occurs mostly in women between 45 and 50 years of age, but some women
experience it early and develop many symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes and sweating
- Lack of sleep-insomnia
- Extreme Mood swings
- Lack of hunger (loss of appetite)
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Vaginal dryness
Thera P helps to minimize these symptoms and improve the quality of life. Estrogen and progesterone combination, or estrogen alone, increases the hormone level and decreases the symptoms that occur due to the low level of hormones.
After menopause, due to hormonal irregularities, women commonly experience weight gain. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often suggested to aid in effectively managing their weight during this period. While it’s important to note that HRT is not primarily recommended as a method for weight loss, it can offer benefits in preventing weight gain.
One of the ways HRT contributes to weight management is by increasing the resting metabolism of women. This boost in metabolic rate encourages greater energy expenditure and can make women feel more active overall. As women become more active, they tend to engage in regular exercise, opt for healthier dietary choices, ensure proper sleep, and effectively burn fat. These positive lifestyle changes collectively help in preventing unwanted weight gain.
Therefore, by enhancing overall activity levels and promoting healthier habits, hormone replacement therapy can play a valuable role in supporting women’s efforts to maintain a healthy weight post-menopause.
Hormone replacement therapy – Cons
According to a recent study (Howard N. Hodis, 2022), hormone replacement therapy can increase or decrease the risk of heart disease. If a woman is below 60, the risk of a heart attack is lower as compared to a woman who is above 60. If an individual, either male or female, has a history of various heart problems like thromboembolism (blood clotting), and stroke, they should avoid taking HRT. It’s essential for individuals to have a thorough discussion with their healthcare provider before considering hormone replacement therapy. This conversation should include a detailed assessment of their medical history, family history of heart disease, and other relevant factors. Such personalized consultations can help determine whether the potential benefits of HRT outweigh the associated risks in terms of heart health.
Hormone replacement therapy is associated with a higher risk of cancer, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer. It can be high or low, depending on the dosage and duration of the hormone, and individual cancer history. Research (Carlo La Vecchia, 2001) shows that the risk of breast cancer increases by 2.3% in women who take HRT for a longer duration. However, it’s important to emphasize that the relationship between HRT and cancer risk is complex and varies among individuals. Some studies suggest that the increased risk may decrease after discontinuing HRT, highlighting the need for personalized medical advice and regular cancer screenings for those undergoing hormone therapy.
If You Are Considering Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you are considering getting hormone replacement therapy, you should contemplate the benefits as well as the potential harms as well. A thorough discussion with your doctor is also a very important aspect of getting hormone replacement therapy.
After considering all of your medical history carefully, your doctor will decide whether or not hormone replacement therapy will be good for you.
If you decide to begin hormone replacement theory, you must do all the things recommended by your doctor. This may include:
- maintaining a healthy balanced diet
- daily exercise, keeping a healthy body weight
- avoiding certain foods that may be harmful
- and proper stress management.
Hormone replacement therapy is not an alternative to any treatment. Cautions must be taken
while taking it. You should evaluate both the benefits and side effects thoughtfully. If you’re facing severe menopausal symptoms, consult your doctor before making any decision. Your doctor will analyze your symptoms and review your medical history. After evaluating all the data, he will recommend a safe method to take HRT.
As a famous proverb wisely states, “Health is Wealth”. We can not enjoy all the beautiful colors of this life when we are not in our best health. We can have everything, but if we don’t have good health, this world will seem colorless. That is why it is essential to make good decisions regarding our health. Whether it be hormone replacement therapy or any other treatment, we should make sure that we do the best we can to give our bodies the care they deserve.