Overview & Description
Hormone replacement therapy, called HRT, is the use of man-made or natural hormones to treat a person whose body isno longer making enough of certain hormones. It is often prescribed for women inmenopause.It is also given to women who have had their ovaries removed. HRT formenopauseusually consists of the hormones estrogen and progesterone taken together.Estrogen may also be taken alone. This is called estrogen replacementtherapy, and is also known as ERT.
What is the information for this topic?
HRT has both benefits and risks.
Estrogen levels drop when women entermenopauseor have their ovaries removed. Low levels of estrogen produce the commonsymptoms of menopause:
HRT is often given to reducethese symptoms. Women who have had their uterus and ovariesremoved generally take estrogen alone. Women who still have theiruterus need progesterone along with estrogen. This is because takingestrogen alone can increase the risk of cancer of the uterus.
Recent studies have looked at the link betweenHRT and memory in women. Here are some recent findings.
Perimenopauseis the time when a woman may be having sporadic periods but has notyet reached menopause.Women are sometimes given oral contraceptivesat this time. These medicines control irregular menstrual periods andsymptoms of menopause. They typically contain both estrogen andprogesterone at higher doses than are used in HRT.
Because a woman may continue to ovulate duringperimenopause,it is still possible for her to become pregnant.A woman who wants to avoidpregnancy should use birth control until a blood test shows thatmenopauseis present. Or, she should use birth control until she does not have aperiod for 12 months in a row. After that, she may switch to the lowerdoses of hormones in HRT. The hormone doses in HRT are nothigh enough to prevent pregnancy.
Benefits of HRT
These are the potential benefits of HRT:
HRT improves the levels of lipids in the body. Because of this,this therapy was often prescribed for menopausal women to decreasetheir risk of heart disease. However, experts found that there was alsoan increase in strokeand heart attackin women taking HRT. So, in 2002, the Women’s Health Initiativerecommended that women not be started on HRT just to prevent heart disease.
Risks of HRT
Research has shown several risks associated with takingHRT or ERT.
Deciding about HRT
A woman can choose from several strategies to cope withmenopause andperimenopause,such as:
Overall, the decision to use HRT should be based uponthe proven benefits and risks of HRT. Women should discuss thebenefits and risks with their doctors. Together, they can choose the bestcourse of action.
Article type: xmedgeneral