Hormones have many effects on women’s health. Female hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, influence the reproductive health, bone & emotional health, brain & cardiac function, skin thickness, urinary tract health, etc. When they are in a proper ratio in the body, they help to promote optimal well-being. However, hormone imbalance can result in severe consequences and has significant effects on women’s quality of life. Thus, it is important to identify and correct the condition, reducing the health risks pertaining to it. Hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment for women to balance the hormones, which is discussed later in this article.
Usually, hormonal imbalance occurs when levels of estrogen and progesterone start to decline. Because of their significant role in the body, even a small drop in hormone ratio can result in adverse effects on the health.
Some common causes of hormone imbalance are:
- Eating disorders
- Cushing syndrome
Treating hormonal imbalance – why it is important
Women who have a healthy hormone balance tend to enjoy their lives the most. Hormone fluctuations can result in several problems such as perimenopausal difficulties, premenstrual syndrome, mood swings, fibroids, heart disease, breast cancer, and ovarian cysts.
According to a research article (Hormonal imbalance and its causes in young females) published in the Journal of Innovations in Pharmaceuticals and Biological Sciences, hormones play a vital role in women’s health. The study was performed on 127 females in Karachi, Pakistan, and a specially designed questionnaire was used to collect data. The results were:
- 55% of the women had irregular periods, 39% had excessive hair growth on the face and body, and 6% had both the problems.
- 6.2% of the women were vegetarians, 11% ate junk food, 14.96% ate spicy foods, and 60.62% ate all the three types of food.
- 59% didn’t have any treatment, 26% took antibiotics, 10.25% took women hormone replacement therapy, 4.75% took both HRT and antibiotics, 21.26% had depression, 24.41% had work pressure, and 1.6% had both work pressure and depression.
Usually, women don’t completely meet what their bodies need—food and exercise to reduce stress and feel better. Diet, nutrition, and workout are some of the common lifestyle changes that can help women restore hormone balance. However, women hormone replacement therapy is an effective hormone supplementation method that can help bring the body back into balance.
Restoring hormone balance with HRT
Estrogen and progesterone are important female hormones; the former stimulates the release of eggs while the latter helps to implant the egg.
Estrogen production diminishes over time, so does the supply of eggs. It’s a natural process in women’s life. Most of the women in their late 40s or early 50s start experiencing changes in their hormone levels, which can lead to sleep disorders, hot flashes, and other severe health problems.
Women hormone replacement therapy, also known as menopausal replacement therapy (MHT) or hormone therapy (HT), helps balance levels of estrogen and progesterone. It is proved to be an effective treatment for menopause.
It’s interesting to note that 25% of the women who experience menopausal symptoms, consider it a severe condition and only a few of them take HRT.
Types of hormone replacement therapy for women:
- Cyclical HRT: This is for women who have perimenopausal symptoms but still menstruating. Estrogen plus progestogen dose is given at the end of the menstrual cycle for two weeks or daily dose for two weeks every 13 weeks.
- Estrogen-only HRT: For women who had a hysterectomy, and don’t need progesterone, Estrogen-only HRT is considered as the best option.
- Continuous HRT: This treatment is usually taken during postmenopause. The patient is given a combination of progestogen and estrogen.
- Local estrogen: This treatment includes rings, creams, and vaginal tablets, and can be helpful for urogenital problems such as irritations and vaginal dryness.
Benefits of hormone replacement therapy for women:
Reduces chances of cardiovascular disease:
Cardiovascular disease and HRT have a controversial relation. The preexisting cardiovascular disease can affect the results.
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), HRT doesn’t increase the cardiovascular risk in women.
If started within ten years of the menopause, women hormone replacement therapy can reduce the coronary heart disease by half.
Reduces risks of colorectal cancer:
According to the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), women who take combined conjugated equine oestrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate have reduced risks of colorectal cancer.
Reduces osteoporosis risk:
Oestrogens are helpful for increasing BMD and preventing osteoporotic fractures. Thus, even low doses of oestrogen can help in bone protection.
Hormone replacement therapy is an effective treatment for the prevention of osteoporosis in women who have menopause and are under the age of 50.
HRT is beneficial for women who have a high risk of fracture, and it can help decrease the incidence of fractures.
Women hormone replacement therapy alleviates low mood, which usually causes the menopause. Thus, it helps improve mood and control depression symptoms.
Controls vasomotor symptoms:
HRT is helpful in controlling the vasomotor symptoms. People start getting results within four weeks, and usually, it takes three months to obtain the full benefits.
Relieves urogenital symptoms:
Studies proved that hormone replacement therapy significantly improves sexual function and vaginal atrophy symptoms.
- Reduces long-term risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Decreases osteoclastic restoration
- Increases muscle mass and energy levels
Apart from hormone replacement therapy, there are some other alternatives to relieve symptoms. These include reducing consumption of caffeine, alcohol, quitting smoking, exercising, diet, etc.
If you experience unusual symptoms, visit a doctor. He will examine your condition, and do some specific physical tests. Remember, only a certified doctor can diagnose hormone imbalance correctly, and prescribe you appropriate treatments. Always listen to the doctor carefully and follow his instructions.
It is good if you do online research about hormonal imbalance, its effects on women’s health, and treatments. Also, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask any questions or concerns from your doctor about women hormone replacement therapy.