For many, the decision to start hormone replacement therapy for women is a significant step in their lives. Some wonder about the benefits of this therapy while others want to know the risks associated with it.
Approximately 4 in 5 women experience menopause symptoms, and 20% of them have severe symptoms, which may last longer than the expected time. In more than half women, hot flashes and night sweats can last for over 7 years.
Most women start experiencing menopausal periods between the ages of 45 to 55. However, menopause may occur in the age 30s or 40s. In the United States, the average age is 51.
Estrogen-only therapy refers to taking only the estrogen. It’s usually prescribed for the patients who are undergoing surgical menopause. Usually, doctors suggest a low dose of estrogen in the form of pills, patches, ring, or spray.
The combination of estrogen and progesterone therapy is for women who haven’t had a hysterectomy, a procedure to remove the uterus. This therapy reduces the risks for cancer of the endometrium.
HRT isn’t 100% safe for all, and it’s important to talk to a certified doctor before starting it. Read along to learn about the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy for women.
Pros of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women
Hormone replacement therapy provides a lot of benefits. It is helpful for patients with menopausal symptoms. The therapy helps make women feel better and reduces the chances of bone loss and other medical conditions.
During pre-menopause, hormonal fluctuations lead to uncomfortable symptoms, and HRT can help in managing those symptoms. Hormone replacement treatment is useful in relieving hot flashes.
Hormone replacement therapy for women is good for vaginal health. Vaginal dryness, loss of elasticity, etc. may result in pain and even bleeding during sex. This can affect libido. HRT is helpful in increasing sensation and moisture thus helping the patients to get their pleasurable nights back.
Loss of elasticity can have negative effects on the urethra and even result in Urinary Incontinence. This is the reason most of the women with menopause have Urinary Tract Infections. The female HRT helps improving electricity and toning the bladder and urethral muscles.
Estrogen production starts to decline as women age, which may result in osteoporosis, thus increasing the risks of fractures in the bones of the hip. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 50% of women over the age 50 experience bone fracture due to osteoporosis. HRT helps in maintaining the optimal estrogen levels and protects bone loss.
Estrogen is good for heart health. It’s believed that estrogen helps in making the blood vessels flexible, maintaining proper blood flow, thus reducing the risks of heart disease.
Other health benefits associated with hormone replacement therapy for women are decreased wrinkles, increased collagen production and skin thickness. It’s also helpful in reducing the body fat, thus bringing the body in shape.
Cons of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Although hormone replacement therapy has many benefits, there’re various side-effects related to it. It’s not safe to start this therapy with certain medications. Increased cancer risk is one of the major concerns. Synthetic progesterone increases the chances of breast cancer. However, this risk is small, and approximately 1 case per 1,000 women annually. This condition is more often seen in women with BMI>25 and late menopause.
Oestrogen-only therapy is linked to endometrial cancer and cyclical progestogen for 10 days can lower this risk.
Because of some risks associated with HRT, the therapy should be started with a well-trained doctor. Visit one of the reputed women hormone replacement therapy clinics and get personalized HRT for your condition.
Who Should Take HRT
Despite the side effects, systemic estrogen is effective in managing menopausal symptoms. The chances of the HRT risks are reduced if you’re fit. You should consider taking HRT if you-
- Start experiencing menopausal periods before the 40s or suffer from premature ovarian insufficiency
- Reduced bone mass
- Have hot flashes or other symptoms of menopause
Patients with early menopause, especially those who are without the uterus, crossed the age 40 and haven’t taken estrogen therapy may experience various health conditions such as heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, osteoporosis, etc.
There’s no fixed age to start the HRT as everyone’s condition is different. Experts say that taking a low-dose can be helpful in getting the full benefits limiting the side-effects such as heart disease, cancer, etc.
Who Should Avoid Taking Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women?
As mentioned above, there are many risks related to hormone replacement therapy for women. The effects may even worsen if you had suffered from various conditions. These include liver disease, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, vaginal bleeding, etc.
Consult an experienced doctor and talk about the strategies to reduce risks associated with HRT. These include lifestyle changes and medications. Thus, you can reduce the menopausal symptoms without taking the hormone replacement therapy.
The bottom line is—HRT isn’t all good or all bad. It’s effects may vary from one person to another. Visit one of the best hormone replacement therapy clinics, and your doctor will suggest you treatment options based on your condition and medical history.